When a former Secretary of State, a former Secretary of Defense, several United States Ambassadors, a famous physicist, and a few friends pray each month for the elimination of nuclear weapons, it raises lots of questions. What do they know that everyone needs to know? Why are they praying? What is their prayer? 


The Beginning and the End are in your hands, O Creator of the Universe. And in our hands you have placed the fate of this planet. 

We, who are tested by having both creative and destructive power in our free will, turn to you in sober fear and in intoxicating hope. 

We ask for your guidance and to share in your imagination in our deliberations about the use of nuclear force. 

Help us to lift the fog of atomic darkness that hovers so pervasively over our Earth, Your Earth, so that soon all eyes may see life magnified by your pure light. 

Bless all of us who wait today for your Presence and who dedicate ourselves to achieve your intended peace and rightful equilibrium on Earth. In the Name of all that is holy and all that is hoped. 


In the video that follows, you are invited to view the unfolding of this prayer and to meet these veterans of nuclear negotiations:

• The Honorable William J. Perry, former Secretary of Defense under President Clinton

• The Honorable George P. Shultz, former Secretary of State under President Reagan

• Dr. Sidney Drell, Professor Emeritus at the Stanford Linear Accelerator 

• Ambassador James E. Goodby, former Strategic Nuclear Arms Negotiator with the U.S.S.R.

• Ambassador Thomas Graham, Jr, former Senior U.S. Diplomat 

• Jonathan Granoff, President of the Global Security Institute 

• Monica Willard, United Religions Initiative Representative to the United Nations 

• The Right Rev. William E. Swing, former Episcopal Bishop of California, and President and Founder of the United Religions Initiative 

Voices for a World Free of Nuclear Weapons is part of the United Religions Initiative; an international nonprofit that brings together people of all faiths and traditions to solve the problems facing our world as a whole.



In St. Petersburg Russia a little girl kneels by her bed at night to say a prayer.

In St. Petersburg, Florida a little boy kneels by his bed to say a prayer.

They use the same words: “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake I pray to the Lord my soul to take.”

What could possibly cause the death of a Russian child and an American child at night as they sleep?

The answer hovers over their beds in the dark swirling around the world and the aimed at them nuclear weapons.

The nightmare, the promises that a child could die before I wake.

The children will never see the weapons. The War Heads are hiding in submarines underwater.  Some are underground and unapproachable, but they are real practically invisible, They are part of a secret and dark universe that has been created to destroy the world if need be in the name of security

Almost unimaginable nevertheless imagine:

  • Imagine 27,000 miles in space. There's a little satellite the size of a school bus which is a nuclear launch watchtower in the sky.

  • Imagine a nuclear torpedo designed to create a tsunami wave so high that it could contaminate and enemies Coastline cities and wide stretches with radioactivity.

  • Imagine the president of the United States having minutes to decide whether to obliterate life as we've known it and then flying off in an airplane called Doomsday.

  • Imagine a missile called Satan carrying the most Warheads ever assembled on a missile and it is aimed at America.

  • Imagine only 15 minutes for submarines to release 400 nuclear warheads and vaporize every large city in Russia.

  • Imagine a general flying around in an airplane named Looking-Glass armed with a go code to launch all our nuclear weapons.

It is all so childish and also evil Beyond any scale of morality or common sense.

Someday, it is possible that we will blow up the last children on Earth-- we have arranged to do it.

That is why it is appropriate for children to pray a nuclear prayer. Perhaps the last girl will live in Saint Petersburg,  Russia and the last boy will live in St. Petersburg, Florida.

But then again maybe to St. Petersburg children today will wake up praying instead of going to sleep praying and their nuclear prayer will be this now: “I Rise to face this storm and fight for children yet. Unborn. May I awake before I die and banish bombs and clear the sky.”


Peaceful God,

We come to you from the midst of a broken world where nations raise weapons against nations and mothers and children are the innocent victims of violence.

We cry out for peace!


Wise God,

Share your wisdom with the leaders of the world who continue to stockpile dangerous weapons, giving other countries the incentive to do the same, despite their commitment to the Nuclear-Non-Proliferation Treaty. We pray for the ability to overcome our brokenness, cooperating, instead of competing, across borders and boundaries.

We cry out for peace!


God of Comfort,

It is hard to believe that our own country has refused to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty, weakening its legitimacy and making our world less safe.

We cry out for peace!


Tender God, Lover of Children,

It is incomprehensible to us that cluster munitions are still acceptable for use in war, despite the terror they wreak upon unsuspecting children and other civilians during war and for many years afterwards.

We cry out for peace!


Healing God,

So many communities have been left in ruins as a result of the destruction of war. We pray for the healing and rebuilding of communities torn apart by war and violence.

We cry out for peace!


God, Father and Mother of this world, we pray that you would inspire us to create a peaceful world. Help us call our leaders to accountability and to remind them that more weapons and war do not bring peace. Make us a peaceful people in a peaceful world. Amen.


Source: Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

From the Center of Concern’s Education for Justice Project  



Voices is a Cooperation Circle of the United Religions Initiative (URI). Our purpose is to assist in the effort to abolish nuclear weapons through peace-building and conflict transformation.


Voices for a World Free of Nuclear Weapons (URI)

1009 General Kennedy Avenue 
San Francisco, CA 94129 USA

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