You cannot pray to Me to make the violence end

Because, despite the cries of those around you

Declaring My greatness as they send rockets to the sky

Or pluck broken babies from their shattered homes:

This is not My work.


You cannot beg Me to make this terror stop

For it was not I who made it start.

It is the work of men who, with a choice

Of love or hate, choose hate:

This is not My choice.


Long ago, in ways you cannot comprehend,

I made a world, and planted seeds of hope

Deep within its heart, and nurtured them with love,

Then left them to evolve, grow into you:

This was My plan.


I trusted (if a God may harbour trust)

I believed (if a God might hold beliefs)

I hoped (yes, even God has hopes)

This world would grow and learn to love itself:

This was My dream.


I now behold the wreckage of that dream

In missile trails that desecrate blue skies,

And ugly piles of metal, bricks and you,

Left helpless in the storms of human hate.

This is not Me.


I am the God of Abraham and Ishmael –

The God of Abraham and Isaac too.

How can you imagine that I might make choices

To favour or reject? That’s what  you do.


Ah humankind, I gave you My potential,

I offered you a simple, heartfelt choice:

Good or evil, blessing or the curse

Just one outcome if you listened to My voice –


But you listened to your own, chose other options,

Followed paths of greed and selfishness and hate

Now you reap the harvest of your heartless folly

But for children, maybe, it’s not yet too late.


So My prayer is for the young and for their future

Yes, I am a God who hopes, believes and prays

That you’ll recognise My seeds of love within you

And learn how you might follow in My ways.


Do not listen to the cries of hate around you

Do not hearken to those claiming in My name

That vengeance must be wrought on those who harm you –

That when others do to you, you do the same.


Learn instead this simple truth of human living:

Treat others as you hope they would treat you

More important than the taking is the giving:

Cherish what is good, and search for what is true


So, My children who are suffering in Gaza

And in Israel, Ukraine and who knows where?

Try to see beyond the broken world around you

Turn your hearts to Me and let this be your prayer:


God of Abraham and Ishmael and Isaac

God of every human on this fragile earth

Help me recognise the good that dwells within me:

The potential that’s created at my birth.


Help me understand the future of this planet

Will not be shaped by missiles, tanks or guns,

That to use Your name to justify our hatred

Is just nonsense. Help me learn that we’re the ones

In whom resides the choice of good or evil

That our destiny is in our hearts and hands

That rockets bringing murder and destruction

Was not the role of humans in Your plans.


As I look upon the wreckage of the building

Where I lived and that I used to call my home

As I watch my father clutch my broken sister

To his heart which turns from flesh and blood to stone

Swearing cold revenge on those who made this happen.

Speak to me, I beg You God, with different lines.

Remind me that this is not what You wanted;

Plant in me a vision of a future time

Where our goals are not to rectify a grievance

Or to claim some territory we think we own

But to find an answer to Your constant question

Asking us if we have learned, if we have grown.


So help us, God of Abraham and Ishmael,

God of Isaac and of everyone there is

When we turn to you to ask for hope and guidance

Help us understand that what you want is this:


To seek not revenge, but reconciliation

Not to hate, but try instead to understand

That all humans want and ask and need and yearn for

Is to live our lives exactly as You planned:

To appreciate Your world and one another,

To plant seeds of love wherever we might dwell

To raise families in peaceful homes, in safety

And ensure that others live like this as well.

To recognise that You’re in every person

And see Your face in all women and men.

May we help to bring about this understanding

Soon, in our days, and let us say ‘Amen’.

November 2012