Praying with the Religions of the World

As is traditional at the SOPP, a large group of presenters performed an opening prayer. Wearing hakama (a type of Japanese traditional dress) and carrying ôgi (folding fans) with light-filled Japanese words written on them, they proceeded slowly, in unison, to the area in front of the stage and in the aisles, with airy music playing in the background. There, in silence, they performed a short choreography with the ôgi, and then continued with a wordless prayer for peace using subtle sounds, peaceful breathing, and movements of the arms and hands. The prayer was accompanied by soothing music, and as it unfolded it laid down a solemn and harmonious vibration to underscore the ceremony.

Next, seven prayer leaders were welcomed on stage for the SOPP’s central program, Praying with the Religions of the World. This unique prayer ceremony brings together prayer leaders from different faiths to lead all participants in prayers for peace from their respective faiths and traditions, sending a powerful message of interfaith acceptance and unity. Each prayer leader offered a prayer on their own first, and then invited all participants to join in praying a shorter prayer.


Fr. Rocco Viviano (Christianity—Catholicism)
Interreligious Dialogue Coordinator at Xaverian Missionaries (Italy / Japan)

Spoken by Fr. Viviano in English

God, Creator of the universe and Father of all people, we bless you through Jesus Christ your Son, who became one with us, so that we may share in your life. He is your Word who brings salvation, the hand you extend to sinners, the way by which your peace is offered to us. Father, when we had turned away from you, you called us back to be reconciled, so that, by returning to you, we might love one another and all creatures.
Father, it is truly right and just that we should give you thanks and praise for all you do in this world. For though the human race is divided by dissension and discord, yet we know that you can change our hearts and prepare them for reconciliation.
By your Spirit you move human hearts so that enemies may speak to each other again, adversaries may join hands, and peoples seek to meet together. When we let you into our hearts, Lord, hatred is overcome by love, revenge gives way to forgiveness and discord is changed to mutual respect.
God our Father, we pray, Send forth your Spirit to work in the hearts of your children, so that enemies may begin to dialogue, that adversaries may shake hands and peoples may encounter one another in harmony.
May all people sincerely search for true peace, which ends all arguments, for love, which overcomes hatred, for pardon, which disarms revenge. Banish violence from our midst and wipe away all tears, so that we may all truly deserve to be called your children.
Give peace, O Lord, to all who seek you with a sincere heart, and guide us in the way of justice, without which there can be no peace.
O God, source of all life, grant in your mercy that all human beings may be united in a single family and become as brothers and sisters. Guide with your wisdom those who decide the fate of the nations; enlighten our rulers that they may protect your gift of peace. May peace blossom forth and reign always over us all.
We ask you this, God our Father, through your Son Jesus Christ, who is God, who is one with you and the Holy Spirit, forever and ever. Amen.

Spoken by Fr. Viviano (first phrases) and by all (chorus responses) in English

Into our hearts / Send forth your peace, O Lord.
Where there is hatred / Send forth your peace, O Lord.
Where there is violence / Send forth your peace, O Lord.
Where there is war / Send forth your peace, O Lord.
Where there is injustice / Send forth your peace, O Lord.
Where there is darkness / Send forth your peace, O Lord.
To all creation / Send forth your peace, O Lord.
To our families / Send forth your peace, O Lord.
To our societies and religions / Send forth your peace, O Lord.
To all your children / Send forth your peace, O Lord.
Now and forever / Send forth your peace, O Lord.


Dr. Shlomo Alon (Judaism)
Coordinator for United Religions Initiative (Israel)

Spoken by Dr. Alon in Hebrew

Psalms, chapter 121: A song for going up to the Temple
I look up to the hills, but where will my help really come from? My help will come from the Lord, the Creator of heaven and earth. He will not let you fail. Your Protector will not fall asleep. Israel’s Protector does not get tired. He never sleeps.
The Lord is your Protector. The Lord stands by your side, shading and protecting you. The sun cannot harm you during the day, and the moon cannot harm you at night. The Lord will protect you from every danger. He will protect your soul. The Lord will protect you as you come and go, both now and forever!

Spoken by all in English

The Lord will protect you from every danger.
He will protect your soul.
The Lord will protect you as you come and go,
both now and forever!


Imam Muhammed Rasit Alas (Islam)
Imam at Tokyo Camii (Mosque) and Turkish Cultural Center (Turkey / Japan)

Sung by Imam Alas in Arabic

Call to prayer
God is the Greatest.
I bear witness that there is no god but Allah.
I bear witness that Muhammed is the messenger of God.
Come to the prayer. Come to success.
God is the greatest.
There is no god but Allah.

Sung by Imam Alas in Arabic

The Chambers, no. 13
O mankind! We created you from a single pair of a male and a female, and made you into nations and tribes, that ye may know each other (not that ye may despise each other). Verily the most honored of you in the sight of Allah is he who is the most righteous of you. And Allah has full knowledge and is well acquainted with all things.

Spoken by Imam Alas in Japanese

Oh Lord! We seek peace and serenity in this world. Please do not give those who wish to destroy our peace and serenity the opportunity to do so.
Oh Lord! Please counter the devilish plans of those who persecute others, and set straight those who would disrupt the peace and plant seeds of calamity and sedition.
Oh Lord! We appeal to You to denounce to you those of your servants who would use their power to oppress and persecute the weak. Please protect humanity from their evil ways.
Oh Lord! Please strengthen those who side with love, peace and goodness. Please aid them, protect them, and regard them all as brothers and sisters.
Oh Lord! We raise up our hands and beseech you: We no longer wish to see wars, massacres, or assaults on human rights. Please protect all people from wars and other tragedies.

Spoken by all in Japanese

We pray from our hearts that peace may prevail throughout the entire world.


Mr. Yuko Chiba (Shintoism)
Chief Priest of Rokkoshi Shrine (Japan)

Spoken by Mr. Chiba in Japanese

Why do people pray? They pray because, although they have a feeling of reverence for nature, and appreciate that they live in and are sustained by nature, human beings are vulnerable creatures who easily become anxious and are therefore prone to make mistakes.
All manners of religion exist in this world, with prayers taking different forms and having different objects of worship. Through these religions, people are guided towards peace and tranquility, and to salvation. And yet, these religions that are meant to guide people to happiness have, since the beginning of human history, brought about endless wars. This is the foolishness of the human race. A religion that is meant to uplift people should never become a reason for killing one another.
God resides everywhere in creation. With this Shinto teaching in mind, we do not refute other religions, but recognize and value each other’s existence. We do not pray for our own sake, but pray earnestly for the sake of others, and in feeling the happiness of praying for another, we create a peaceful world. The energy of our individual prayers merges into one immense flow of energy that changes the world. Now, let us pray together for our neighbors.

Spoken by all in Japanese

Divinities of the world
Please eradicate war from this world
And bestow on us a world at peace


Mr. Zengi Tanaka (Buddhism)
Chief Priest of Shiunzan Gokurakuji Temple (Japan)

Spoken by Mr. Tanaka in Sanskrit

Amida Nyorai Konpon Darani
Humbly, I embrace the Three Treasures: Buddha, Dharma, and Buddhist monk.
Humbly, I follow Buddha with infinite light and truth.
In other words: Om, the immortal Amida Buddha of infinite life.
Thou were born from eternal Kanro
Immortal Kanro is thy source.
Thou hold immortal Kanro within.
Thou perfect immortal Kanro.
Thou art immortal with infinite majesty.
Thou hold infinite divine miracles,
And thou perform infinite divine miracles.
Eternal upper world admires thee.
Thou preach everlasting universality.
Thou fulfill all thy hopes.
Thou eliminate all karma and lust.
Let there be peace and fulfillment.

Spoken by all in Sanskrit

May our faith in Buddha Amida bring infinite warm light to our future.
May peace prevail on earth.


Ms. Deepti Diwakar (Hinduism)
Spiritual leader, author, educator and performer (India)

Spoken by Ms. Diwakar in Sanskrit

May we protect each other,
May we nourish each other,
May we work together with great energy,
May our study be enlightening and fruitful.
May we never hate each other.
Om Peace, Peace, Peace.
May all be happy.
May all be free from diseases.
May all see things auspicious.
May none be subjected to misery.
Om Peace, Peace, Peace.
I am Peace, Peace on Earth, Peace in the skies,
Peace in forests, Outer Space peaceful,
Om Peace, Peace, Peace.
Lead us from untruth to truth
From darkness to light
From death to immortality
Om Peace, Peace, Peace.

Spoken by all in Sanskrit

Om Peace, Peace, Peace.


Lastly, Masami Saionji, Chairperson of Byakko Shinko Kai, read a poem called “Creation of the Universe” and then led participants in a prayer for peace.

Spoken by Mrs. Saionji in Japanese

Creation of the Universe
When we quiet our mind and pray, we feel the prayerful life of all living things.
Our prayers become the energy of love and healing, embracing the Earth, humanity, and all living things, and bringing all back to life.
The creation of a new planet Earth begins.
Even when human beings forget to pray, the earth, the seas,
the mountains, and all living things go on praying
For the time when humanity will awaken.
When we quiet our mind and pray, we feel the prayerful life of all living things.
Our prayers become light, illuminating the divinity in each and every human being.
At that time, the Earth, humanity, all life and all living things become one,
And a new symphony of life resonates with the Universe.

Spoken by all in Japanese

Originally, every human being is a divine being—
Truth itself,
Infinite life itself,
Shining radiantly.
We are interconnected and perfectly integrated
with all living things and divinely created nature.
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.
May Peace Prevail on Earth.
May Peace Prevail on Earth.
May Peace Prevail on Earth.

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