209…one at a time

Paper cranes 209My one thousand paper cranes for peace have been a journey through this month of May. I have made 209 so far.

One at a time.

I started with two sheets of prayer-printed pages from my church, West Hills in Omaha. My friend and colleague on staff here, our Mission director Caitlin O’Hare, publishes prayers of our mission partners each quarter. When my friend Mark Borst was here visiting in March, he saw our wall of crosses in the reception area and told me about the paper cranes that carry prayers heavenward in the sanctuary at Central Presbyterian Church in Atlanta.

Connectivity being one of my strengths as measured by the Clifton Strength Finder assessment, I connected the two. All those prayer booklets…what do we do with them every quarter when the new come?

Paper cranes, of course!

After folding three of them with that paper, I decided to order 500 sheets of 8″x8″ origami paper from Amazon. Beautiful colors. Lighter weight. Easier to fold and to be held by a delicate nylon string.

I am now a master folder of paper cranes. Stop by my office and see the 209 flying here and I will fold one for you with the prayer of my heart for this project:

Paper cranes dona nobis pacemDona nobis pacem. Grant us peace.

These first 209 are a reflection of the places I have traveled in the last five years with The Outreach Foundation. They are photographic memories developed onto the pages of my heart of the people who live there, the people who love there, the people who are loved there by an amazing God who made us all. Each one. In his image.

And all these God-imaged people are suffering now, as they have suffered in the past. War is a journey no one should have to take.

But at the end of it should come peace. In the midst of it, they seek peace.

And that is what I pray for.

As I have folded these cranes and prayed over them in the process of folding and stringing and hanging, it has renewed my spirit to know that God hears every one of them.

And as I have continued to watch the news, I have found more to pray for, as if I didn’t have enough already. And some of those stories just emphasize that God hears those prayers. They seem to me to be answers for the peace I pray for.

You can read about Karim Wasfi, a cello player in the orchestra in Baghdad, who plays in the aftermath of a car bombing in his city.

A prayer crane for Karim. Dona nobis pacem.

You can read about Zahed Haftlang and Najad Aboud, two former combatants in the Iraq-Iran war who are now friends as they live in Canada. And on the battlefield one said of the other, “He became a human being, not an enemy.”

A prayer crane for these brothers. Dona nobis pacem.

And there is a prayer crane for Hope Came Down, in the prayer and the hope that people will watch it and be moved to send their monetary gifts to a place that is bringing hope and encouragement to those who are suffering.

A prayer crane for Hope Came Down, and others for the scriptures that inspired it, John 1:14 and Hebrews 11:1.

Dona nobis pacem…prayer by prayer…crane by crane.

One at a time.


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