As we observe today’s International Day of Peace and A Million Minutes for Peace, an initiative to get 1 million people to pledge to pray for peace, I would like to recommend a film called Friendly Persuasion, set in the United States Civil War. It is the only movie I know where the characters not only pray for peace, they pray for guidance on how best to achieve it. Gary Cooper plays a farmer who struggles with his religious commitment to non-violence when his neighbors risk their lives for his family and property. All he asks is that “the will of God be revealed to us and we be given the strength to follow his will.” It is a beautiful depiction of a loving and respectful family who find strength in their faith during one of this country’s direst and most divisive moments. And it recognizes that prayer is important, but that it is the choices it inspires that make a difference.
Here is the peace pledge:
I will unite with people all over the world in observing the United Nations International Day of Peace. On September 21, I will pause at noon and, in my own way, pray for peace for one minute. May my one minute, magnified a million times, create a culture of peace that will change the future of humanity. My name will appear in the Peace Pledge Book to be presented at the United Nations on September 18.