Filipinos launched an interfaith “prayer marathon for peace and unity” on July 7 as clashes between security forces and terrorist gunmen continued in the Mindanao city of Marawi.
At least a thousand Muslims and Christians gathered in Quezon City in Manila at noon for the prayers.
“Prayer changes things. If all of us will pray for a minute everyday, regardless of religion, peace will reign in our country,” said Bing Pimentel, one of the initiative organizers.
She said the activity was “a call for all Filipinos to unite in prayer, especially for those who have been affected by the fighting in Mindanao.
Pimentel said the prayer movement aims to encourage Filipinos to pray wherever they are. “Let us show our unity for the country through prayers,” she said.
She explained that everybody is welcome in the “ecumenical gathering.”
“If you are faithful and if you believe that there is a God, you are welcome. Praying together is very important to opening the Lord’s presence,” said Pimentel.
The organizers of the Pasa Lord Movement appealed to people to make the daily noon “prayer for peace” a habit.
“When two or more agree to pray for peace in our land, God will surely hear us,” said Protestant pastor Chris Uy, one of the people behind the movement.
He said “Pasa Lord” means “to pass all the problems of our nation to the Lord,” adding that,”we cannot address conflicts ourselves without God.”
Muslim religious leader Ebra Moxsir, head of the Council of Imams of the Philippines, said the gathering is “very important” especially when there are forces “that want [Filipinos] to be divided.”
“Our prayers are intended to ask Allah to grant us peace, not only for Muslims but for all humanity,” he said.
Those at the event prayed that the country’s leaders will have “wisdom, integrity, truthfulness, and righteousness” in serving the people.
“Protect us from foreign invasion and destructive influences, and defend us from acts of lawlessness, terrorism and war,” read the prayer.
Organizers of the event encouraged Filipinos to recite the prayer “wherever they may be,” especially during gatherings.
The Pasa Lord Movement is composed of representatives from various faiths and denominations, including Catholics, Muslims, Protestants, Evangelicals, and Charismatic Christian groups.
During the prayer event, people clasped their hands over their heart to symbolize solidarity.
Representatives of various faith groups join an ecumenical prayer gathering in Manila on July 7 for the launch of a “prayer marathon for peace.” (Photo by Basilio Sepe)