A Hymn for Places Where War Leads to War | Sojourners

A Hymn for Places Where War Leads to War

A Prayer for Afghanistan

CRADLE SONG 11.11.11.11 ("Away in a Manger")

We pray for Afghanistan’s people today:
for those who are fleeing — who know they can’t stay,
for those who face terror by day and by night,
for those who can’t leave and whose dreams can’t take flight.

We pray for the people who fear what’s in store,
for dreamers and poets who grieve a closed door.
For those who are hiding so no one will see
the people they are — or who they hope to be.

We pray for girls facing a world they don’t know,
who still long to read and to learn and to grow.
We pray for young women who live with this fear:
their bodies, their voices, may soon disappear.

We pray for young children whose first lullabies
were bombs and explosions and wounded ones’ cries —
and for those who served there, who see how it ends,
who ponder their service, who grieve for lost friends.

We weep for the places where war leads to war.
We pray for your hand there to heal and restore!
Bless all who seek justice and peace as your way.
We pray for Afghanistan’s people today.

Tune: William James Kirkpatrick, 1895
Text: Copyright © 2021 by Carolyn Winfrey Gillette. All rights reserved
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This hymn is written to a gentle, peaceful tune for a people who need gentleness, peace, justice, and human rights in their land (as we all do, in our lands). It is a prayer for people who suddenly find themselves as refugees, people who feel trapped and hopeless, those vulnerable to violence, and girls and women whose dreams have been shattered. It is a prayer for people who know that war is a terrible thing and who have experienced many losses. It is a prayer for children who have grown up knowing nothing but war. It is a prayer for all in the land — and all of us in this land — who long for peace and justice in every place. Permission is given for free use of this hymn, including in online worship services.

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