Christians worldwide praying for Syria

Christians around the world are praying for SyriaPA

Christians around the world are praying today for peace in Syria and the wellbeing of millions of refugees who have left their homes because of the fighting. 

Pope Francis appealed to the world's 1.2 billion Catholics to join him in a day of prayer and fasting for the country. 

"From the bottom of my heart, I would like to express my closeness in prayer and solidarity with all the victims of this conflict, with all those who suffer, especially children, and I invite you to keep alive the hope of peace," he said.

"I appeal to the international community to be more sensitive to this tragic situation and make every effort to help the beloved Syrian nation find a solution to a war that sows destruction and death."

The Pope will be offering his prayers during a mass vigil at St Peter's Square today.

In a letter to Pope Francis, the Grand Mufti of Syria, Ahmad Badreddin Hassou, spiritual leader of Sunni Islam, welcomed the appeal and said he would be joining in praying and fasting for peace in his country.

He thanked the Pope "for this appeal of great humanity, based on faith, to fast and pray together God Almighty in order to bring peace on earth and protect us from the power of evil and oppression".

Orthodox leader the Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I and the head of the World Evangelical Alliance, Dr Geoff Tunnicliffe, have both backed the prayer call.

The Bishop of Wakefield, the Right Reverend Stephen Platten, has also encouraged Church of England parishes to join with others this weekend in praying for peace in Syria.

The Church of England has published these prayers for Syria:

A Prayer for Reconciliation in Syria

God of history,
Witness of the struggles within families;
we pray for the divided family of Syria
as brother fights against brother,
and sister rejects sister.
We pray for those whose love of neighbour
has been destroyed in the bitterness of enmity.
May fear be submerged in compassion.
May distrust be diluted by hope,
as a vision of peace illuminates
darkened minds and hate-filled hearts.
We pray in the name of Christ,
our source of light and love. Amen.

A Prayer for Peace in Syria

Spirit of wisdom and grace,
the power of truth and judgement;
we pray for all who are working for peace
in the tangled conflict of Syria today.
For international leaders holding a thread of control,
for the politicians holding a thread of power,
for the religious leaders holding a thread of authority,
for the fighters holding a thread of influence,
and the citizens clinging to a thread of hope.
Bring unity through the untangled order of justice.
Bring reconciliation through truthful dialogue.
Bring new life through patient diplomacy,
determined mediation and courageous peace-making.
We pray in the name of Christ,
our source of inspiration and confidence. Amen.

A Prayer for the Victims of the Syrian conflict

We pray for those damaged by the fighting in Syria.
To the wounded and injured:
Come Lord Jesus.
To the terrified who are living in shock:
Come Lord Jesus

To the hungry and homeless, refugee and exile:
Come Lord Jesus
To those bringing humanitarian aid:
Give protection Lord Jesus
To those administering medical assistance:
Give protection Lord Jesus.

To those offering counsel and care:
Give protection Lord Jesus
For all making the sacrifice of love:
Give the strength of your Spirit
and the joy of your comfort.
In the hope of Christ we pray. Amen.