Praying with the Religions of the World

Yuka Saionji then introduced the next segment of the ceremony, Praying with the Religions of the World. As the core of the SOPP, this program brings together prayer leaders from different faiths and spiritual traditions to lead participants in prayers for peace from their own traditions, in a powerful display of interfaith harmony and unity.

For the online format, each prayer leader recorded their prayer in advance, in their place of worship or at home. Each prayer leader began with a message for SOPP participants, and then offered a prayer on their own, followed by an additional short prayer for everyone to pray together. Participants were invited to join in the prayers using their program guides or the subtitles provided on screen.


The Rev. Canon Dr. Charles P. Gibbs (Christianity—Protestant)
Founding Executive Director of the United Religions Initiative


Dear Sisters and Brothers of All Faiths,

I offer you greetings of love and peace in these challenging times that invite our deepest and truest selves. I pray each day we may awaken overflowing with gratitude for the gift of life. That we may awaken each day with a deepening awareness of the divine spark we embody to guide us to choose love over fear, hope over despair. May we give ourselves to prayer, spiritual practice and engaged action to brighten the radiant light of peace, justice and healing. May that light shine in and through us to make visible the beloved community where all life is seen as sacred. In the spirit of awakening, the light of healing love, and with boundless gratitude, may our lives be lived as sacred offerings for the good of all. Arigatou. Thank you. Asante sana.

(“Asante sana” means “thank you” in Swahili.)

 Prayed by Rev. Dr. Gibbs in English

Most gracious and most merciful Source of Peace, Love, Healing and Light, throughout the ages you have spoken to Earth’s diverse peoples in myriad languages, but with one message—we are your children, made in your image and called to shine with your light, with our light, in all we are and all we do. As we pray today for peace, justice and healing for the world, help us to hear with new ears these words spoken through your child Jesus:

3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the
kingdom of heaven.” [Matthew 5:3-10, NRSV]

May our ears, our eyes, our hearts, our souls be ever open to your presence that we may shine the light of your healing love, peace, justice and compassion into all the Earth community. In all and through all may we offer you our endless gratitude.

Arigatou. Thank you. Asante sana.

 Prayed by all participants in English

We are children of God,
Let us be God’s peacemakers. (repeated three times)


Mr. Mark N. Zion (Judaism)
Associate Professor at Tama University, Japan


Judaism: A Religion of Thanksgiving

It is my great honor to represent Judaism at this year’s SOPP. I especially thank the Saionji family for their warm-hearted kindness toward me over many years. And I wish many blessings of peace to all those joining us today from around the world.

Judaism is among the most ancient of faiths—continually practiced for at least three thousand years. Its two orientations overlap: Halakha (Jewish Law) and Kabbalah (Spiritual Redemption)—observances with attitudes of the heart. Halakha are observances from the Bible and Kabbalah the inner heart for practices—called Tikkun Olam(Mending of the World).

The SOPP has resonated so deeply with Jews around the world because it focuses on healing the world—a restoration of original harmony. The SOPP symbolizes this with flags and “Peace Prevailing” for every country of the world. As in Tikkun Olam, the SOPP is cooperating to further redemption—what the Jewish people call The Messianic Age, a world of peace filled with the Divine Presence.

Prayed by Mr. Zion in Hebrew and English

Psalm 23: A Psalm of David
The Lord is my shepherd; I lack nothing.
He makes me lie down in green pastures: He leads me to water in places of repose;
He renews my life; He guides me in the right paths, as befits His name.
Though I walk through a valley of deepest darkness
I fear no harm, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff — they comfort me.
You spread a table before me in full view of my enemies;
You anoint my head with oil; my drink is abundant.
Only goodness and steadfast love shall pursue me all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord for many long years.

Prayed by all participants in Hebrew
I have set Hashem always before me.
I have set YudHeahWevHeah always before me.
With Eternal Love You Have Loved Us!
With Eternal Love!


Mr. Humayun A. Mughal (Islam)
Islam Sufi Faith Leader

Message of God

Dear Humanity
I don’t need you to be strong with me. You can let me have all that pain and all those fears. I didn’t create you to be a machine. I created you to feel. I know how hard it is holding all of that within. I created you to be human. I created you to be real.
Your beloved God

Prayed 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.

Prayed by all participants in English and Japanese

May peace prevail on Earth (three times)
May all humanity be at peace (three times)


Mr. Masahiko Dobashi (Shintoism)
Chief Priest at Hitoana Sengen Shrine


“May peace prevail on Earth.” Many times, I had seen stickers and poles with this phrase on them all around Fujinomiya City, and I was somewhat interested to know what kind of organization was behind this message. About three or four years ago, when I was at Hitoana Sengen Shrine, a person from Byakko Shinko Kai came up to me and asked if they could introduce the shrine in the community page of their magazine. I happily agreed. It was then I learned for the first time that the headquarters of Byakko Shinko Kai was located in Hitoana.

Two years ago, I offered a Shinto prayer at the Symphony of Peace Prayers.

Since the beginning of last year, the new coronavirus has been spreading around the world, and as a result the SOPP is once again being held online this year. Today, here at the main building of Hitoana Sengen Shrine, I pray for world peace and the eradication of Covid-19.

Prayed by Mr. Dobashi in Japanese

Bowing down before the great divinity Konohana-no-Sakuyahime-no-Mikoto enshrined in the grand Fujihitoana Sengen Shrine at the foot of the sacred Mount Fuji, and all the other divinities, I offer my prayer in awe of your greatness.

The year 2021 of the Christian calendar coincides with the imperial calendar year of 2681, and this Symphony of Peace Prayers is taking place in this very year, at the headquarters of Byakko Shinko Kai here at the foot of sacred Mount Fuji.

During the Second World War, this land was used as a training ground for the Kamiide Junior Tank Academy, where tanks drove around and cannon-shells flew in every direction. Today, more than 70 years after the war, this land is free of conflict and has become a place of prayer, dedicated to world peace.

In this sanctified venue for today’s celebration, we come together, hand in hand, to proclaim eternal peace and to pray for the protection of all the many divinities. Oh great divinities, please purify us, cleanse us, protect us from evil, and bring happiness upon us.

Prayed by all participants in Japanese

Cleanse and purify us.
Protect and bless us.


Mr. Shokei Matsumoto (Buddhism)
Buddhist monk


Throughout the ages, we have received an incessant Flow of world news, looking upon it sometimes as our own and sometimes as belonging to distant foreign lands.

Now, the whole world is facing change simultaneously. Each and every one of us, without exception, is living through this moment of change. Every one of us is taking a new look at our life, re-thinking and re-depicting the richness of living, the way life should be, and the direction we should be going. Perhaps it can be said that we have reawakened to the spirituality that dwells within us, and regained the desire to let it blossom.

Buddha says that everything in this world exists interdependently, and that there is nothing that can divide it. As I look beyond the language, the national borders, the religion, and the position that I have long cherished, I remember a great sense of connectedness. I think we are all experiencing a moment like this together.

We, too, possess the wisdom that our ancestors had before the world was divided. I believe that the resonance of prayer calls this wisdom forth from deep inside and beyond. I am deeply grateful to be able to create this reverberation of prayer with all of you today.

Prayed by Mr. Matsumoto in Japanese

I establish the Vows unexcelled,
And reach the Highest Path, Bodhi
Were these Vows unfulfilled,
I would never attain Enlightenment.
I will be the greater provider
Throughout innumerable kalpas.
Should I fail to save all in need,
I would never attain Enlightenment.
Upon my attaining Enlightenment,
If my Name were not heard anywhere
In the ten quarters of the universe,
I would never attain Enlightenment.
Practicing the Holy Way – Selflessness,
Depth in right reflection and pure wisdom,
Aspiring toward the highest path,
I will be the teacher of devas and men.
My wondrous power by its great light
Brightens the countless lands throughout,
Removes the darkness of the three defilements
And delivers all from suffering and pain.
Opening the eyes of Wisdom,
I will end this darkness of ignorance.
Blocking all paths of evil, I will open the gate to Attainment.
Having attained Buddhahood untainted,

My august air shall illumine the ten quarters.
The sun and the moon being outshone,
The celestial lights shall hide in shame.
I will open the Dharma-storehouse
And bestow upon all the treasures of my virtues.
Constantly going among the masses.
I will preach the Dharma with a lion’s roar.
Paying homage to all the Buddhas,
I will be endowed with all virtues.
Vows and wisdom completely realized,
I will be master of the three worlds.
As Buddha’s Wisdom unimpeded
Has no place its light cannot reach,
So my power of Merit and Wisdom Shall be equal to the Honored One’s.
If my Vows be certainly fulfilled,
May this whole universe quake.
And may the host of devas
Rain wondrous blossoms from the sky.

 Prayed by all participants in Japanese

Namandabu (repeated six times)
Gan ni shi kudoku
Byôdô se issai
Dôhotsu bo daishin
Ôjô anraku koku
(no English translation available)


Datin Paduka (Dr.) Mother A. Mangalam (Hinduism)
President of The Pure Life Society (Malaysia)

The Power of Prayer

Prayer is an invisible power generated by pure thought force, directed by our will to the object of our desire. The purer the thought the more powerful becomes our prayer—more so if it comes from the depths of silence within us.

In the depths of silence lies dormant the creative energy that gives shape to the trillions of objects that we behold with our naked eye. The manifestation of that creative energy or force becomes a reality sooner or later depending much on pure thought force, stemming from the elements of sincerity and faith in the individual. The force of will has to come into play. The human will merges into Divine Will. There need be no doubt of its materialization.

Prayer that has its root on pure thought-force exudes positive energy and gains momentum, and its velocity increases as the earth rotates and consequently has a boomerang effect on the individual who says the prayers.

Therefore, it behoves on every individual to nurture pure thoughts at all times. The world and all its creatures benefit through generating this positive energy. In cultivation, the Cultivation of Inner Silence is the slogan that can bring forth miracles through the power of prayer.

Prayed by Mother A. Mangalam in Sanskrit and English

May prosperity be unto all.
May peace be unto all.
May fullness be unto all.
May auspiciousness be unto all!
May all become happy.
May all be healthy and free from diseases.
May all see good only.
Let no one undergo suffering!

Prayed by all participants in Sanskrit and English

May all beings in the world be happy.
May all beings in the world be happy.
May all beings in the world be healthy and happy.


Lastly, Masami Saionji offered her own message, then read an original poem titled “Creation of the Universe” and led participants in the prayer May peace prevail on Earth.

The Covid-19 crisis continues to spread through the world without regard to borders, cultures, ethnicities, religions, creeds and claims. All people, young or old, male or female, are forced to live with suffering, sorrow, fear, and pain—all at the same time.

It is at times like these that each and every human being must take a new look at their way of being. In other words, we need to let go of our self-centeredness and ask ourselves what we can do for others, even if just a little. We need to ask ourselves: What words will I speak? What actions will I take? We must ask ourselves these questions. What the world needs now is the energy of altruistic love. We need to be there for those who are sad and suffering. We need to rekindle our spirit of altruistic love and do what we can for others.

Those of you who are participating in this SOPP and praying for world peace are truly noble souls who have come together to create the energy of altruistic love and let it resonate through the world. You are indispensable to humanity on Earth. You were born in this lifetime to manifest altruistic love, not selfish love, through your prayers, words, and actions.

I would like to refer to these people as ‘divine-minded people.’ Among these divine-minded people, or divine beings, there are many who have performed the Divine Spark IN countless times. Some have done so hundreds of thousands of times.

Now it is time for divine-minded people to demonstrate their pure and selfless love. To be there for others, to share in their suffering, to understand one another, and to dedicate ourselves to others is the dignified mission of divine-minded people. With this mission in mind, I would like to dedicate the poem “Creation of the Earth” and then pray for world peace with you. Thank you very much.

Prayed 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.

Prayed by all participants in Japanese

May peace prevail on Earth (repeated three times).


Following Mrs. Saionji’s prayer, a message appeared on screen inviting participants to take a moment and let the energy of these prayers resonate out to the world, by closing their eyes and focusing their thoughts on sending out this prayer energy.

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