UPF Hosts Interfaith Prayer for the Nation and the World
The Universal Peace Federation (UPF) USA’s initial Interfaith Prayer for the Nation and the World was convened online on Thursday, April 9th at 1 PM (EST) through a call out to Ambassadors of Peace, UPF members, and friends of UPF.
UPF recognizes that the challenges of the COVID 19 epidemic require a unified response. With the collapse of economic life and the isolation and separation of people forced by the mitigation discipline, many communities, families, and individuals are threatened. The threats are spiritual as well as physical.
UPF initiated the program to promote greater unity among leaders and communities of all faiths as a way to bolster hope, maintain our appreciation of the profound relationships that bind us together, and inspire the understanding and love of others. The brief mid-week program featured representatives from different faith traditions who offered prayers, comments, and scriptural readings to those linked by zoom views.
Dr. Michael Jenkins, Chairman of UPF-North America, spoke from his home in Maryland of the importance and power of prayer in bringing about change in ourselves and the world around us. Prayer brings us closer to God. Prayer gives us the ability to unite with each other.
Rev. Dr. Wintley Phipps, a Seventh Day Adventist from Florida who traveled to many countries with Billy Graham and has performed for six US Presidents, reminded us that God is our refuge and fortress in whom we trust. Reading from Psalm 91 he called us to dwell in the shelter of the Most High, rest in the shadow of the Almighty. He sang “Amazing Grace” in expressing his deep baritone concern for those who lost their loved ones, those struggling for their health.
Imam Mohammad Ali Elahi from the Islamic House of Wisdom from Michigan joined from his library and recited a chapter from the Koran. He prayed for us to overcome darkness, difficulty, and despair by calling on God for peace and contentment, for God to inspire leaders and medical communities. He reminded us of the need for humble trust in God. It is there and not pride in wealth or military power where the solutions to social ills and injustice can be found.
Venerable Katugastota Uparatana Maha Thera from the Sri Lankan Buddhist community, Chair of Buddhism on the Interfaith Council of Metropolitan Washington, recited the Buddha’s words and prayed for unity and peace in mind and spirit and body during this challenging time. He called for goodwill towards all beings, for our minds to be focused on peace and happiness. He prayed for us to take on the heart of a mother protecting her child when approaching others and the world, to avoid malice of any kind.
Participants from across the USA were joined on the prayer call. Based on their response, UPF USA plans to continue and develop this weekly outreach in bringing people of different faiths together in a larger communion to pray for the Nation and the World.
Contributed by: Tomiko Duggan, Senior Vice President of UPF USA