Many writers on peace and justice issues focus on the importance of prayer in collaborating with all people of good will to fashion a more just world. In his little book, Peacework: Prayer, Resistance, Community (Orbis, 2005), Henri Nouwen explains the importance of prayer in creating solidarity:
The word ‘prayer’ stands for a radical interruption of the vicious chain of interlocking dependencies that lead to violence and war and for an entering into an entirely new dwelling place. It points to a new way of speaking, of breathing, of being together, of knowing–truly, to a whole new way of living (24).
Prayer takes time and requires patience. Prayer also requires courage. As Nouwen explains later,
Prayer is such a radical act because it asks us to criticize our whole way of being in the world, to lay down our old selves, and to accept our new self, which is Christ (30).
While praying can be a challenge, it does lead to transformation of self and world, to an entirely new way of speaking, breathing and living together. In short, prayer leads to solidarity.
See: Henri Nouwen, Peacework: Prayer, Resistance, Community. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2005.
Submitted by: N. Rademacher, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Religious Studies