HWPL Prayer Conference for World Peace
On November 18, 2023, the ‘HWPL Prayer Conference for World Peace’ was conducted online at 06:00 and 13:00 (UTC) with 855 religious leaders participating from 73 countries around the world.
We are currently living in a world that is extremely affluent materially and advanced technologically. However, at the same time, many people are being sacrificed every day in various parts of the world due to conflicts such as the Russia-Ukraine war, the Israel-Palestine Hamas conflict, and the Colombian conflict.
In the midst of this cruel reality, the HWPL World Alliance of Religions’ Peace Office (WARP Office) has been working to eliminate the use of force and violence, division, and conflict that hinder world peace, and has been striving to create a world where all people are united in peace. As part of these efforts, following the ‘World Prayer for the End of War and for Peace’ in April 2022, HWPL’s Prayer Conference for World Peace has also been held.
First, through the opening video, we empathized with the suffering of the victims of war. Additionally, we had a moment to contemplate the importance of peace and our mission as religious leaders through the message of HWPL Chairman Man Hee Lee, stating that ‘It is our task to create a peaceful world for our global village and leave it as a legacy for the future generations.’
The prayer meeting began with a moment of silence to comfort the souls of those who perished in the recent Israel-Palestine Hamas conflict. Notably, religious leaders from all around the world, with a shared longing for peace conducted the proceedings for the prayer meeting according to the rites of their respective religions.
The theme of the prayer meeting for Korean domestic religious leaders focused on the longing for the cessation of war and for peace, commemorating the victims of war and comforting their families, and promoting harmony among religions. During the meeting, with the participation of various religions including Buddhism, Christianity, Catholicism, Islam, Hinduism, Cheondoism, and Tenrikyo, five religious leaders prayed on behalf of their communities. Additionally, religious leaders from across South Korea joined the prayer meeting in real-time from Buddhist temples, Sikh gurdwaras, Christian churches, and other places of worship, uniting in spirit and purpose.
Additionally, the overseas religious prayer meeting was conducted in two sessions at 6:00 AM and 1:00 PM UTC in continental union, where a total of 11 leaders from various religions came forward to conduct representative prayers according to their respective religious cultures. Between the prayers led by the representatives, there was a time for everyone to pray together. Amidst the diverse prayers conducted in different ways, all participants joined the prayer meeting with a unified heart for the cessation of war and peace, respecting each other’s religious cultures and participating with sincere hearts until the end. Especially during the time of commemorating the victims of war and seeking comfort and peace for those left behind, many participants empathized with their pain and even shed tears.
During the event, an online board was operated in real time for prayers and wishes for peace. Participants freely shared their prayers and wishes for peace through the provided link. The posts on the board will continue to be gathered together so that it can be shared with more people and used to gather hearts, showing how many people want to stop the war and achieve peace.
Patanjali Muni, a Hindu religious leader, expressed that it was a profound learning experience to see different religions come together to pray with one heart, and emphasized that in order for us to hasten the arrival of a peaceful world, we must actively participate in the cause of peace with a united spirit.
Following this, a Buddhist leader lamented the horrific atrocities of war and the suffering it has caused to many people, and appealed for the need to lay down the weapons aimed at one another. Furthermore, the leader urged more religious leaders around the world to realize the value of life and peace and to take the lead in advocating for them.
Sahibzada Mir Masood Ali Khan, Principal of the Indian Patriots Islamic Academy, who attended the international prayer meeting, expressed his gratitude for the invitation and said, “I am extremely happy and feel at peace knowing that many people with diverse religious backgrounds and communities are coming together, putting aside their differences for peace, harmony, and love. All the prayers were extremely beautiful, especially when they were recited in the original languages and the meanings were very inspiring as well.”
Dr. Niraj Bodhi, Head of the Department of Pali-Prakrit and Buddhist Studies in Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University shared his thoughts on attending the prayer meeting: “Thank you for having me participate in the World Interfaith Prayer Conference. It was a new experience for me. Through this opportunity, I was able to experience the human values of all religions. I believe every religion teaches about peace amongst mankind. But (through this prayer conference) I felt the message that all human beings are one was even more important. Thank you very much once again for giving me the opportunity to participate.”
Luqman Lekan Adedeji, Associate Professor of Islamic Studies Education in University of Lagos and Chief Imam of Peace Estate Mosque, expressed his thoughts on attending the event, saying, “I am delighted to participate in this event composed of religious leaders from around the world. This event organized by HWPL is a clear testament to efforts for peace, which is commendable.”
“The fact that each religion was represented gave a sense of equal participation and individual prayers without imposing a particular religion added color to the program. Furthermore, by presenting the idea of a relay prayer meeting, we were encouraged to organize such prayers in our local communities to achieve world peace. I am grateful to HWPL for inviting me to be part of the global peace family.”
Through this prayer gathering, we have recognized the occurrence of numerous casualties due to war and the presence of many people in need of our attention and assistance. We are committed to actively participating in the pursuit of global peace and the cessation of war. Following the joint prayer for the cessation of the Russia-Ukraine war, which started at the HWPL WARP Office in 2022, the religious leaders who attended this prayer gathering have also pledged to continue the wave of peace in their respective religions through the ‘Relay Prayer Campaign.’