A Litany of Prayer for Aleppo

"Omran, Angels Are Here!" Copyright 2016 by Judith Mehr, used by permission.
"Omran, Angels Are Here!" Copyright 2016 by Judith Mehr, used by permission.

How long, O Lord, how long?

There is no peace in Aleppo. There is no peace in Syria. Every night the people flood their beds with tears and drench their couches with weeping. Their eyes waste away with grief. Their spirits shake with terror. You are the one who took them out of the womb. They have been entrusted to you ever since they were born.

How long, O Lord, how long?

We turn to you, O Lord. To whom else can we go? Lord, hear our prayer for the people of Aleppo and let our cry come to you.

"Omran, Angels Are Here!" Copyright 2016 by Judith Mehr, used by permission.
“Omran, Angels Are Here!” Copyright 2016 by Judith Mehr, used by permission.

O God the Father, Creator of heaven and earth,
Have mercy upon Aleppo.
O God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
Have mercy upon Aleppo.
O God the Holy Spirit, Sanctifier of the faithful,
Have mercy upon Aleppo.
O holy, blessed, and glorious Trinity, one God,
Have mercy upon Aleppo.

Holy Mary, Mother of God,
Pray for them.

St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael, St. Uriel,
Defend and protect them in the day of battle.

All you holy Archangels, Angels and, bodiless powers of heaven,
Be at their side to guide and guard them on their way.

All you holy Saints of God,
Intercede for them.

All you faithful Martyrs,
Stand beside them.

For the displaced, homeless, and refugees of Syria,
Loving God, accompany them as you accompanied your refugee Son on his flight to Egypt.
For all refugees who have left their land and know not where they will go,
Loving God, guide them to the green pastures and lead them beside still waters.
For all refugees walking though the valley of the shadow of death,
Loving God, be their Good Shepherd, let them fear no evil, and comfort them with your rod and your staff.
For all refugees who hunger and thirst,
Loving God, prepare a table before them and let their cups run over.
For all refugees looking to the past and what has been lost and left behind,
Loving God, let your goodness and mercy follow them all the days of their lives.
For all refugees who long to go home,
Loving God, give them hope, restore their souls, and let them dwell in your house forever.

From death, injury, and illness,
Defend and protect them, Sovereign Lord.
From all danger, violence, oppression, and degradation,
Defend and protect them, Sovereign Lord.
From fear, despair, and suffering,
Defend and protect them, Sovereign Lord.

With fervent prayer,
Sustain and strengthen them, O Christ.
With steadfast faith,
Sustain and strengthen them, O Christ.
With unwavering hope,
Sustain and strengthen them, O Christ.
With enduring love,
Sustain and strengthen them, O Christ.
With courageous hearts,
Sustain and strengthen them, O Christ.
With persevering wills,

Sustain and strengthen them, O Christ.
With food, water, and safe shelter,
Sustain and strengthen them, O Christ.
With open borders and welcoming hearts,
Sustain and strengthen them, O Christ.
With new friends and neighbors,
Sustain and strengthen them, O Christ.

To all who have died in the Syrian crisis and all who are dying in Aleppo,
Rest eternal grant to them, O Lord; let light perpetual shine upon them. May their souls, through your mercy, rest in peace.

For all who grieve the death of family or friends,
Remember them in your mercy, nourish them with patience, comfort them with a sense of your goodness, lift up your countenance upon them, and give them peace.

To those bringing humanitarian aid and providing medical assistance,
Give your strength and protection.

To the leaders of the nations and the President and Congress of the United States:
Give humility and guide them in the ways of peace and justice.

To all who work for unity, peace, concord, and the freedom of all people:
Give wisdom, creativity, and perseverance.

To all who look on from afar in the security of distance,
Give tears of compassion, fervent prayer, and generosity of giving.

To all who live in safety, comfort, and privilege,
Let them show forth your praise not only with their lips but in their lives.

Give us your grace and the will to overcome fear, violence, prejudice, and hatred,
That we may love one another as ourselves.

Open the borders of our hearts and minds,
That we may receive each refugee as the Christ.

For our actions, failures, or indifferences that have contributed to the suffering in Syria,
Lord have mercy and forgive us.
For our times of silence that became complicity,
Lord have mercy and forgive us.
For political or economic interests and agendas that blinded us to human suffering and need,
Lord have mercy and forgive us.

Let there be no peace in the hearts of those who pray for Syria,
Until there is peace in the heart of Syria.

For all that is gracious in the lives of men and women everywhere, revealing your image and likeness,
We thank you, Good Lord.

Holy God, Holy and Mighty, Holy Immortal One,
Have mercy upon us.

Lord, hear our prayer,
Let our cry come to you.

O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus your Son: Look with compassion on the whole human family; take away the arrogance and hatred which infect our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ
 our Lord. Amen.

Related Post:
Aleppo Doesn’t Need Our Prayers


  1. Thank you for bringing these words to my heart. May our prayers turn into actions for the people of Aleppo. as much as can be done by us and trust God for the peace that only he can bring to the people.


  2. Prayer is worthless without action.

    James Chapter 2

    14 What [doth it] profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him?
    15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,
    16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be [ye] warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what [doth it] profit?
    17 Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone.


    1. Prayer aligns our hearts with the heart of God. Out of that grows our action. Indignation and activism are appropriate responses. But without contemplative prayer to sustain them burnout is often the result. Been there done that in the 60s…

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Kevin, thank you for the work you are doing with your students and for sharing the pictures. The pictures are heartbreaking and, in some way, enflesh the words of the prayer. As it should be, I think.

          God’s blessing upon you, your students, and your ministry.


  3. Dear Michael, thank you for this prayer as it reflects the cry of my heart.
    May I have permission to use it as an example of a prayer of intercession for a workshop I am running next year. I love the congregational response involving them in the prayer.
    I thank God for your sermons they fed me through a dry time in my life.
    May God bless your ministry and the insights he gives you.
    Yours in Christ
    Judy Kennedy

    Sent from my iPad


    1. Judy, thank you for reading my blog and for your encouraging words. Yes, please feel free to use the litany at your workshop. May God’s mercy return springs of new life to the dry places of your life.

      Advent blessings,


  4. Thank you for the litany as well as sharing Ms. Mehr’s painting. I especially appreciated the personalization of Psalm 23. Yesterday I led Prayers of the People and used a large portion to direct our time in prayer for the people of Aleppo.


  5. Litany Against enemies of Holy Church.
    Taken from the Ritual Romanum.
    Translation approved for congregational use by the Bishops of England and Wales. 1922.
    The Litany of the Saints (old rite) is recited as far and inclusive of the Pater Noster except that the petition: “That Thou wouldst vouchsafe to humble the enemies of Holy Church: we beseech Thee hear us.” is recited twice. After the Pater Noster is recited:

    O God, the heathen are come into Thine inheritance, they have defiled Thy holy temple: they have made Jerusalem a place to keep fruit.
    The dead bodies of They servant have they given to be meat unto the fowls of the air: the flesh of Thy saints unto the beasts of the earth.
    Their blood have they shed like water, round about Jerusalem: and there was no man to bury them.
    We are become a reproach unto our neighbours: a scorn and derision unto them that are round about us.
    How long, O Lord, wilt Thou be angry for ever: shall They jealousy be kindled like a fire?
    Pour out Thy wrath upon the nations that have not known Thee: and upon the kingdoms that have not called upon Thy name.
    For they have devoured Jacob: and have laid waste his dwelling place.
    O remember not our former iniquities: let they mercies speedily prevent us, for we are become exceeding poor.
    Help us, O God our Saviour; and for the glory of Thy name, O Lord, deliver us: and forgive us our sins for Thy name’s sake:
    Lest they should say among the heathen:
    Where is their God? And let Him be made known among the nations before our eyes,
    By revenging the blood of They servants, which hath been shed: O let the sighing of the prisoners come in before Thee.
    According the greatness of Thine arm: preserve the children of them that have been put to death.
    And render unto our neighbours sevenfold into their bosom: the reproach wherewith they have reproached Thee, O Lord.
    But we Thy people, and the sheep of Thy pasture: will give thanks unot Thee for ever.
    We will show forth Thy praise: unto generation and generation.
    Glory be to the Father, etc.

    V. Save thy servants.
    R. That hope, O my God, in Thee.
    V. Be unto us, O Lord, a tower of Strength.
    R. From before the face of the enemy.
    V. Let not the enemy prevail against us.
    R. Nor the son of iniquity have power to hurt us.
    V.Crush, O Lord, the pride of the enemies of Thy name.
    R. And humble their insolence by the might of They hand.
    V. May they become as dust before the face of the wind.
    R, And may the Angel of the Lord pursue them.
    V. Pour out Thine anger on the peoples that know thee not.
    R. And upon the kingdoms that have not called upon thee.
    V. Send us, O Lord, help from the Holy Place.
    R. And defend us out of Sion.
    V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
    R, And let my cry come come to Thee.

    Let us pray.

    Grant unto thy Church, we beseech
    Thee, O merciful God, that She, being
    gathered together by the Holy Ghost, may
    be in no wise troubled by attack from her
    O God, who by sin art offended and by
    penance pacified, mercifully regard the
    prayers of They people making supplication
    unto Thee,and turn away the scourges of
    Thine anger which we deserve for our sins.
    Almighty and Everlasting God, in
    whose Hand are the power and the
    government of every realm: look down upon
    and help the Christian people that the heathen
    nations who trust in the fierceness of their
    own might may be crushed by the power of
    thine Arm. Through our Lord Jesus Christ,
    Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee
    in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world
    without end.
    R. Amen.


    1. Simon, I’ve not read this before and I am not clear how you are relating it to Aleppo and praying for Aleppo. The litany does, however, raise a few thoughts for me. First, if I am going to deal with the enemies of the Church then I must begin with myself and my failings. Second, the litany can too easily become a basis or justification for religious violence and the ongoing failure of Abraham’s children to get along. Finally, these petitions are not the first things I think of when I hear Jesus say, “Love your enemies.” I don’t know that God has answered this litany but to look at the world today it seems we have taken it on ourselves to answer it. Thanks for bringing this litany to my attention.

      God’s peace be with you,


  6. I think the prayer is good, and I myself feel deep pain when I see the plight of the people of Syria, no matter what their faith, but this prayer does not address the delinquent reaction of the U.S. Catholic Bishops in addressing the obvious discrimination by the Obama administration in their reluctance to admit Christian Syrian Refugees into the U.S. compared to their open door admission of thousands of unveted Muslim young men. Also, everyone is ignoring the real problem of the Syrian people, and that is the past 30 insurgency of Sunni Muslim extremists in the country who resent their extremism being subdued by a non-Muslim (Alawite ) President. I never hear a word of encouragement for our Middle Eastern Brothers or Sisters in a Catholic Mass, nor any plea for financial and spiritual support for Middle Eastern Christians. Instead, all I hear from our Catholic leadership is words of caution, not to be over critical or judgemental for people in the faith of Islam (half of which want to wipe Christianity from the history books. Don’t get me wrong I get what your doing and it’s honorable, but I’m not sure you have grip of the root of the problem in Syria.


    1. Thanks, James, for your comment. I am quite sure I don’t “have a grip of the root of the problem in Syria,” but neither was that the intention of the litany. I think the problem has a long history and is extremely complex, and is not limited to a particular religion, sect, political party, or country. It is a human tragedy and the prayers are intended for all people, regardless of their faith, politics, or nationality.

      God’s peace be with you,


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