August 13 – prayers for peace (Korean Peninsula)

Uniting Church members are encouraged to join in prayers for the peaceful reunification of the Korean Peninsula.

On Sunday, 13 August, 2017, Christians around the world will be praying for peace on the Korean Peninsula, which remains divided and without a formal peace agreement more than 70 years after the end of World War II.

The theme for this year’s prayer is based on Romans 14:19: “Let us then pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.”

Uniting Church in Australia President Stuart McMillan called on church members to uphold in prayer all Koreans in the hope of a peaceful resolution and easing of tensions.

“Our thoughts and prayers are particularly with Korean members of the Uniting Church at this time of deep reflection and prayer for them,” said Mr McMillan.

Each year, the World Council of Churches and the World Communion of Reformed Churches call member churches to pray for peace and unity in Korea.

Prepared by the National Council of Churches in Korea (NCCK) based in South Korea and the Korean Christian Federation (KCF) based in North Korea, the prayer is traditionally used on the Sunday before 15 August every year.

August 15 is celebrated as Liberation Day in both North and South Korea and is the date in 1945 when Korea won independence from Japanese occupation. It also marks the day when the Korean peninsula was divided into two countries.

Chair of the Korean National Conference in the Uniting Church Rev. Steve Lee joined the call to prayer.

“I believe many Christians in Korea have been earnestly praying together for peace in the region,” said Rev. Lee. “They will be greatly heartened to know fellow Christians in Australia will be joining and upholding them in prayer.”

He offered the following prayer points which he says reflect the hopes of Christians in Korea.

  1. Peaceful leadership and co-operation across the region.
  2. A renewed will for reconciliation and peaceful reunification.
  3. Strengthen Christians across the region as they deal with complex and often difficult situations.
  4. Encourage prayers from around the world to uphold the people in the Korean peninsula.

The Korean National Conference provides a network for Korean congregations and members in all Synods of the Uniting Church. There are currently more than 70 Uniting Church Ministers serving across the Church.

Resources for the Day of Prayer for the Peaceful Reunification of the Korean Peninsula can be found on the World Council of Churches website and include an order of service prepared by the NCCK’s Reconciliation and Reunification Committee.

2017 North South/South North Joint Prayer for Peaceful Reunification
16 Mortal, take a stick and write on it, “For Judah, and the Israelites associated with it”; then take another stick and write on it, “For Joseph (the stick of Ephraim) and all the house of Israel associated with it”; 17 and join them together into one stick, so that they may become one in your hand. (Ezekiel 37: 16-17, NRSV)

God of grace!
Once again, we greet the month of August, the month of Independence where North and South still celebrate separately and remember it differently. It has been a long, harsh period, one with cruel struggles between the two countries. No longer are we oppressed by Japanese forces, but our people are still filled with contempt for each other and our country is still challenged by neighboring forces. Lord, pity us.

God who rules history:
For the last 72 years, we dreamed of being one, but we lived like foes, not living up to our dreams. We lived separated from our family and torn apart by different ideology and systems. Lord, bring the history of our people together with your holy hands. Let us hope for unification with passionate hearts and work together so fervently that we shed the sweat of hope. For every August we encounter, help us sincerely repent with our hearts, and fill us with a strong will for unification.

God who leads peace:
Lord, we speak of one people, one sisterhood/brotherhood while filled with hatred against each other. We have violated the spirit of the Inter-Korean Basic Agreement, the June 15 Joint Declaration, and the October 4 Joint Declaration and also firmly locked the doors of the Keumkang Mt. and Gaeseong Industrial Complex. Thus, we were left with a greater danger and greater threat. Lord, listen to our desperate cries that thirst for peace.

God who gives hope:
Lord, help us to dream once more of a beautiful land where no joint-military exercise is needed. Let us welcome a new world where we are not interfered with or challenged by neighboring strong powers. Let us once again begin with the same overwhelming determination we had as of August 15, 1945. Please quickly open the doors of intercommunication and let us walk hand in hand for joint prosperity. Lord, let the North and South greet each other without prejudice. Help us newly begin a history of reconciliation and embracement on this land.

God of grace!
Bestow your grace upon the whole of Korea. Shine down pure rays of peace from Baekdu to Halla, and wet the entire land with showers of joy. Give happiness to the 80 million fellow Koreans throughout this land and this world, and guide them to be leaders of their own lives. Bring our strengthened community to be servants of the world.

God of Peace, we pray in Jesus name.

August 15, 2017

National Council of Churches in Korea           Korean Christian Federation

Order of service (2017) 2017-8-15-prayer-order-NCCKRRC

About admin

Rev Sandy Boyce is a Uniting Church in Australia Minister (Deacon) in placement at Pilgrim Uniting Church, in Adelaide CBD (12 Flinders St). This blog is mainly to resource worship planners for our services, but of course may be useful for others. We have some great writers of music, words for hymns and liturgy at Pilgrim, so this blog also includes their words.
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