People have often turned to prayer and worship as a reservoir of strength in times of trials and tribulation. The same can be said for nonviolent action. Prayer and worship have actually been used as a form of passive, peaceful protest in regards to political actions in the world. By holding a special day of prayer, people have been known to express their opposition to a government’s decree or to raise their communal voices against the actions of an enemy.
Prayer and worship was used as a form of passive resistence at the birth of the American nation. After the Boston Tea Party, the king of England sought swift retaliation by closing the port of Boston in order to punish the colonists for their actions. Such a move was detrimental to the population, barring them from receiving shipments of necessities, nor were they able to export their products. Governor Dunmore of Massachusetts took a stand, declaring that June 1, 1774 be reserved as a day for prayer and fasting by all in correspondence with the day the king ordered the port to be closed. Such a move was a keen political act by the governor. Not only would it allow devoted members of the community to fortify themselves in the coming days of struggle, it also provided an opportunity to flame the anger of those radicals who had already made a move against England by protesting the taxes on tea at the Boston Tea Party.
There were many instances when prayer and worship was used as a form of protest. In World War II, the Germans destroyed valuable monuments and statues in Poland that had great patriotic significance. In response, the Polish would cast up their prayers at the sites of destruction to express their oppostition to German actions. There were many instances of secret religious gatherings where members of a people oppressed by Hitler’s might fist made certain to express themselves through prayer. Even the concentration camp victims managed to gather in prayer in secrecy. When the camps were discovered during liberation, prayers were found carved into the walls or ceilings in places where they would not be seen by the German guards. Prayer has the power to move mountains even if it is only within the hearts, souls, and minds of those who achieve solace through communion with God. Often, people gather the resolve to take a stand.
Continue reading the 198 Methods of Nonviolent Action.