Praying with the Religions of the World

Next, a large group of presenters moved slowly, silently, and purposefully through the Prayer Field. Wearing hakama (a type of Japanese traditional dress) and carrying ôgi (folding fans), they made their way to the center, finding their places in the aisles and in the large area in front of the participants. Accompanied by soothing, meditative background music, they performed a short choreography with the ôgi, each of which bore a light-filled Japanese word, with meanings such as love, health, and forgiveness. Then, tucking away the fans, they performed a special wordless prayer for peace using subtle sounds, peaceful breathing, and movements of the arms and hands. Their complete focus and the great care they took as they moved and breathed in unison set a tone of solemnity, sincerity, and harmony, reaffirming the deep-seated wish for peace that underlies every part of the SOPP ceremony.

Following this opening prayer, the ceremony continued with its central program, Praying with the Religions of the World. In this unique multi-faith prayer ceremony, prayer leaders offer peace prayers from a variety of different faiths and spiritual traditions. As participants listen respectfully and join in praying these prayers, they generate powerful waves of interfaith harmony.

Eight prayer leaders from different parts of the world were introduced on stage, receiving warm applause from the participants. Each prayer leader offered a prayer on their own first, and then invited all participants to join in praying a shorter prayer.


Mr. Humayun A. Mughal (Islamic Sufism)

Before beginning his prayer, Mr. Mughal offered a brief message to participants:

Good morning, everyone! As-salamu alaykum. What beautiful weather we have today. I have been participating in the SOPP for several years now, but I’d like to tell you a story from seven years ago, when I travelled to Israel with Masami Saionji, to pray for peace in the Middle East.

When Mrs. Saionji first asked me to go with her, I said, “It’s impossible. How can I go there? I am Pakistani and a Muslim. We have no diplomatic relations with Israel.” She told me, “I am praying with you. God is with you, and God will help you. Let’s go!” So, I went to the Israeli embassy, and at first they declined my request. They said there was no system in place for me to go there. But finally—it felt like a miracle—they gave me a visa. I was very surprised.

I went with Masami Saionji to Israel, and we prayed at three places—at a Muslim mosque, a Christian church, and a Jewish temple. It was not just prayer—we had a special divine activity that we were doing there. That activity is very effective, and as a result, peace has started coming to the Middle East, and has started coming to Japan and other places around the world. This year, there will be a G7 summit in Japan, and President Obama is going to Hiroshima to offer his prayers. These miraculous things have happened because of the devoted prayers for peace that you have been offering every day.

I have great respect for Byakko Shinko Kai, and I am very grateful to Masami Saionji for her great intentions to bring about peace—not just a passive peace, but peace with action. Today, we are here to pray with action. I am very thankful that Byakko is inviting people from all around the world to share prayers from their own faiths, for the sake of peace. Because of you, we are united here in prayer, transcending differences in faith and culture. Thank you!

Sung by Mr. Mughal in Arabic

Call to prayer
God is Greatest.
I bear witness that there is not reality, but one reality.
I bear witness that Mohammed is the messenger of God.
Come, come to prayer.
Come, come for your highest spiritual enlightenment.
God is greatest.
Nothing exists separate from God.

Spoken by Mr. Mughal in Arabic

Dear God, parent of all humanity,
ALLAHU AKBAR (God is Greatest).
Today, we pray together for world peace.
First, I endeavor to improve myself.
I pray for my own happiness.
I pray for the happiness of my family.
I pray for the happiness of my relatives.
I pray for the happiness of my people.
I pray for the happiness of my fellow citizens.
I pray for the happiness of my country.
I pray for the happiness of all the countries of the world.
I pray for the happiness of the earth.
I pray for the happiness of the universe.
I pray for the happiness of God.

Spoken by all in Japanese and English

I pray with all my heart that all humanity may live in peace.
May peace prevail in the Universe. Amen.


Fr. Franco Sottocornola (Christianity—Catholicism)

Spoken by Fr. Sottocornola in English

All-powerful God, you are present in the whole universe and in the smallest of your creatures. You embrace with your tenderness all that exists.
Pour out upon us the power of your love, that we may protect life and beauty. Fill us with peace, that we may live as brothers and sisters, harming no one. O God of the poor, help us to rescue the abandoned and forgotten of this earth,
so precious in your eyes.
Bring healing to our lives, that we may protect the world and not prey on it, that we may sow beauty, not pollution and destruction. Touch the hearts of those who look only for gain at the expense of the poor and the earth. Teach us to discover the worth of each thing, to be filled with awe and contemplation, to recognize that we are profoundly united with every creatureas we journey towards your infinite light.
We thank you for being with us each day. Encourage us, we pray, in our struggle for justice, love and peace.
(from Pope Francis’ Encyclical Letter Laudato Si’)

Spoken by all in English

Fill us with peace!
Fill us with peace!
Fill us with peace!


Mr. Mark N. Zion (Judaism)

Spoken by Mr. Zion in Hebrew and English

Priestly blessing
May the Lord bless you and safeguard you.
May God show kindness and be gracious to you.
May God turn his countenance to you and establish peace for you.

The Shema
Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God is one LORD. You shall love the LORD your God with all of your heart, and with all of your soul, and with all your might. And these words, which I command you this day, shall be upon your heart: And you shall teach them diligently to your children, and will talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise up. And you will bind them for a sign upon your hand, and they shall be for frontlets between your eyes. And you will write them upon the door posts of your house, and upon your gates.

Sung by all in Hebrew

Hear, O Israel: the LORD our God is one LORD


Mr. Noritomo Nishiyama (Shintoism)

Spoken by Mr. Nishiyama in Japanese

Prayer for world peace
In the presence of the Great Deities who have gathered here at this Fuji Sanctuary, I utter these words with humility and reverence. Since the beginning of the human world, conflicts between peoples and wars between nations have never ceased, and humanity has suffered from disasters beyond description. Therefore, people of sincere mind have gathered here before you, transcending ethnic differences and national borders, to pray single-mindedly to bring an end to war, so that men and women may join hands with united hearts, and all our fellow human beings may live in peace, happiness, and harmony. O Great Deities, receive our prayers in peace and tranquility, so that a world of harmony and peace, a world of increasing prosperity and abundance, may be achieved as soon as possible.

Spoken by all in Japanese

O, Great Deities, cleanse and purify us.
O, Great Deities, protect and bless us.


Mr. Honnen Nakamura (Shingon Esoteric Buddhism)

Spoken by Mr. Nakamura in Japanese

Prayer for world peace
How immense the teaching is!
There are millions of Buddhist scriptures and other books.
The teaching is infinitely vast, and infinitely profound.
A great many teachings have been preached;
a hundred paths to enlightenment have been shown.
All living things possess in their nature the peaceful enlightenment and truth of Buddha itself.
However, living beings remain unaware of this.
Thus, Buddha teaches the ultimate reality, and urges all living things to awaken to truth.

Spoken by all in Sanskrit and Japanese

Our gracious and almighty Dainichi Nyorai (Mahavairocana)!
Let there be light! Radiate the light!
May Peace Prevail on Earth.


Mr. Sada Anand Singh Khalsa (Sikhism)

Spoken by Mr. Khalsa in English

OH DEAR GOD, May you give your PROTECTION to ALL OF YOUR CHILDREN. May your light prevail and LET PEACE BE IN EVERY HEART, let fear and selfishness go…and
May we bow in reverence, with an ATTITUDE of GRATITUDE for all the beauty and bounty that we have!
All speak of LOVE and PEACE and LIGHT, but today, right now, may we meditate together and create that reality within each of us and among us and throughout the world.
Close your eyes and inhale deeply–with reverence and love. Exhale out any pain and darkness. Inhale deeply with compassion and kindness. Exhale out fear and anger. Inhale deeply, as we chant together:

Spoken by all in English

Love before me
Love behind me
Love at my left
Love at my right
Love above me
Love below me
Love onto me
Love in my surroundings
Love to all
Love to the Universe
Peace before me
Peace behind me
Peace at my left
Peace at my right
Peace above me
Peace below me
Peace onto me
Peace in my surroundings
Peace to all

Peace to the Universe
Light before me

Light behind me
Light at my left
Light at my right
Light above me
Light below me
Light onto me
Light in my surroundings
Light to all

Light to the Universe


Ms. Kiran Bali MBE JP (Hinduism)

Sung by Ms. Bali in Sanskrit

O thou existence Absolute, Creator of the three dimensions, we contemplate upon thy divine light. May you stimulate our intellect and bestow upon us true knowledge.
Unto the Heaven be Peace,
Unto the Sky and the Earth be Peace, Peace be unto the Water,
Unto the Herbs and Trees be Peace, Unto all the Gods be Peace,
Unto Brahman and unto All be Peace. And may We realize that Peace.
Aum Peace Peace Peace

Spoken by all in Sanskrit

Aum Peace Peace Peace.


Lastly, Masami Saionji, Chairperson of host organization Byakko Shinko Kai, offered her own prayer for peace:

Spoken by Mrs. Saionji in Japanese

Originally, every human being is a divine being—
Truth itself,
Infinite life itself,
Shining radiantly.
In the divine realm,
The world is originally at peace. We are here to express this truth,
In this present world.
May Peace Prevail on Earth.
May Peace Prevail on Earth.

Spoken by all in Japanese and English

May Peace Prevail on Earth.
May Peace Prevail on Earth.
May Peace Prevail on Earth.

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