Background

The Week of Prayer for World Peace was started as a Christian initiative in 1974. It soon became an interfaith activity, and now welcomes everyone, of all faith traditions or none. Our first Chair, the late Dr Edward Carpenter, former Dean of Westminster Abbey, established the guiding principle of the Week in the words “The peace of the world must be prayed for by the faiths of the world”, and this continues to be the basis of our work today.

For those inspired with the idea of praying with people of all beliefs, three thoughts may be helpful.

  • First, the different words we recite are said by neighbours in the same town and the same street every week, and by sharing together we simply bring under one roof what happens anyway under the same sky.
  • Secondly, we are convinced that there is only one humanity praying to one supreme consciousness, with whatever different opinions we may have on what that may be.
  • Thirdly, we recognise that interfaith partnership does not itself imply agreement.

The things we agree on are many and precious. What we disagree on is precious too. Wherever possible we give our interior assent to all who stand and pray for peace with us. When that is challenging, we withhold our interior assent, yet stand with that person, as a friend and as a partner for peace.