Composed by the National Council of Churches in Korea, the prayer will be held on 14 August—the Sunday before Liberation Day, observed in both North and South Korea to mark the date in 1945 when Korea won independence from Japanese colonial oppression. The date was also when the peninsula was divided into two countries.
The prayer asks: “O Lord, how long shall we continue to keep the division on the Korean Peninsula?” and also asks: “When will peace come to the painful and broken land of Korea?”
The prayerful lines also speak of the pain of living in division for so long. “The forces of the division system are the major stumbling blocks in the path toward peace and reunification while military tensions are rising on the Korean Peninsula in the midst of mistrust,” the prayer reads. “Our hearts break when we look at the rusty barbed wire.”
The prayer asks for healing grace to those suffering from the wounds of division. “Help us to stop demonizing each other but instead to pursue peace and coexistence,” reads the text. “Empower us to take down the rusty barbed wire and the desires of all who block the way of peace.”
The prayer asks for love to overcome suspicion and hatred. “Help us to discover the truth in ourselves that we can become agents of peace and reconciliation through your grace,” the prayer reads. “Give us the strength and resilience to go beyond division and work together for peace through dramatic improvement and development of inter-Korean relations.”
The prayer concludes with a note of hope. “O Lord, 77 years of division, there shall be no more tears and pain,” the text concludes. “We can no longer be bound in heavy chains of war and conflict.”
Rev. Hong-Jung Lee, general secretary of the National Council of Churches in Korea, noted that the year 2022 marks the 69th anniversary of the armistice of the Korean War. “We ask the churches around the world continue to accompany the churches of Korea by observing the Sunday of Prayer for the Peaceful Reunification of the Korean Peninsula, and participating in the Korea peace appeal campaign for ending the Korean War and establishing a peace agreement,” said Lee.