Prayers for Peace in Each Country
From the back of the prayer field, flag bearers carrying the flags of 193 nations and the Earth flag (representing all other regions of the world) ceremoniously proceeded toward the stage. The M.C. remarked, “Our prayers, using the languages spoken in each country, can deeply permeate the hearts of the people of that land. A country’s flag is a sacred symbol which represents the nation’s founding ideals and the spirit of its people.”
Set against the backdrop of a warm and rousing orchestral score, the colorful national flags came into view, waving briskly on this windy day. Participants applauded as the parade of flags made its way to the front of the prayer field and back behind the stage to prepare for the ceremony of Prayers for Peace in Each Country, the SOPP’s second core program.
With the flag bearers lined up on either side of the stage, the ceremony began with the sound of a bell and participants reciting the universal prayer May peace prevail on Earth. Then, each country’s name was announced as its flag was presented at center stage, and the M.C. spoke the word for ‘peace’ in that country’s national language(s), followed by all participants praying in unison. The flags were presented in succession as the ceremony continued through 193 nations, from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. The participants had each been given a flag card upon arriving, and they held up their card when the country’s name was called.
Lastly, the Earth flag was presented, and participants prayed ‘peace’ for all the other regions of the world. The announcer noted that these regions included North Korea, Taiwan, Palestine, and Tibet. Then, with only the Earth flag remaining on stage, participants prayed May peace prevail on Earth three times, and the bell sounded once more to close the ceremony.