PNP and PasaLord Weave Prayer in the Tapestry of Life
February is well-known as love month. The 14th of February, in particular, is associated with romantic love, and couples all over the world are moved to demonstrate their tender feelings in words and in deeds. Apart from romantic love, filial devotion is also expressed on this day, which has been given the moniker Happy Hearts Day. This is the time when parents dote on their children, and children respond with affection, siblings affirm each and every one, and friends show they cherish one another. All this is love floating around which makes the heart robust.
But there is a lesser-known event in February that calls for the demonstration of other forms of love — love for God and love for neighbor.
Sixteen years ago, the global Common Word Initiative in 2007 called on all Muslim and Christian leaders to engage in interfaith dialogues based on two common fundamental religious commandments — love God and love thy neighbor. On September 23, 2010, at the UN General Assembly, King Abdullah II of Jordan amplified this call by proposing that the first week of February be observed globally as World Interfaith Harmony Week. This resolution was unanimously adopted by the United Nations less than a month later. The hope was (and still is) that all people of goodwill will realize that their commonalities far outweigh their differences, and that this realization will lead to peace and harmony in their communities. Each member nation was free to determine how they would promote a culture of peace, non-violence, harmony, cooperation, and interreligious and intercultural dialogues in their territories.
The PasaLord History
On May 2017, amid the escalating war of insurgency in Marawi, Mrs Lourdes “Nanay Bing” Pimentel, wife of former Senate President Aquilino “Nene” Pimentel (Father of the Local Government Code) and mother of six, one of which is Senator Koko Pimentel, realized the best thing that Filipinos could do for the people of Marawi was to pray for an end to the hostilities there, and to intercede for peace, unity and prosperity for the nation. She asked her prayer group to gather people for a meeting. Sixteen arrived for the first meeting and more for the second meeting. All were counted among the original convenors of the Interfaith PasaLord Prayer Movement.
Among the original convenors was then Police Superintendent/ Imam Ebra Moxsir, deputy director of the PNP Chaplain Service (now retired) and President/Founder of the Imam Council of the Philippines. Imam Moxsir, a staunch and longtime advocate of interfaith dialogue, was inspired by the PasaLord’s simple aims to unite Filipinos in prayer daily, and to keep praying until the nation is transformed, not just “about to be transformed,” but trully transformed. The convenors planned a ceremonial launching of the prayer on July 7, 2017 at 12 noon in Amoranto Theater in Quezon City. Lt. Col Imam Moxsir not only participated in the ceremonies but also brought dozens of prominent Muslim men and women to the event, which heightened the interfaith nature of PasaLord.
With the help of media, PasaLord’s call to prayer went out and spread rapidly, rapidly indeed, than it would have ordinarily. The first interfaith nationwide synchronized prayer for the Philippines was a heartwarming success, almost prophetical and a foretaste of bigger things to come.
PNP’s Millennial Role as Sipritual Warriors
After the launch, founder Ms. Bing Pimentel urged the PasaLord convenors to nurture their mustard seed of faith and to scatter/disperse it well to spur the growth of the movement. Not one to let time fly by him, Lt Col Imam Moxsir penned a memorandum, signed by then Police Senior Superintendent/ Fr. Jason Ortizo, the Director of the PNP Chaplain Services (now with the rank of Police Brigadier General), instructing the PNP Chaplain Service throughout the Philippines to pray the PasaLord Prayer at noon daily and/in many PNP outposts which to this date, I hope is massive in the provinces and became known as the PasaLord habit.
For the men and women in PNP, they are defenders of peace and order in the physical realm. But if this be a prayer, this is one more way of serving and defending the country, but in the spiritual realm. Apparently, as can be deduced from their actions, this realization lit fires in the hearts of Police General Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa, then Chief PNP; Police Director General Archie Francisco F. Gamboa, then TCDS; and Police Senior Superintendent Debold M. Sinas, then SDS, all giving their full support to PasaLord’s campaign in 2017. The prayer began to spread through the ranks of the police force.
On July 18, 2017, Gen. De la Rosa assigned Lt Col Imam Moxsir as Chief of Police, Marawi City Police Station (July 18, 2017 – April 2018) because he was a Maranao, like most of the residents of the besieged city . Bridging the big gap between the government and the people was a dangerous assignment, but he was not afraid because PasaLord was praying for him, Imam Moxsir later recalled. His efforts helped restore peace in Marawi where the war lasted to five months (May 23, 2017 – October 19, 2017). Shortly after his return to PNP HQ, Lt. Col. Imam Moxsir was promoted to full colonel and awarded the Medal for Outstanding and Meritorious Service.
PasaLord and PNP History
On July 7, 2018, PasaLord marked its first anniversary with another synchronized nationwide interfaith prayer for our country. PNP joined this event, along with other government agencies, big businesses like SM; and schools and churches throughout the archipelago. PasaLord founder Nanay Bing Pimentel, the wife of late Senator Aquilino Nene Pimentel, urged all three branches of government to join the next synchronized prayer in early 2019.
At this time (early 2019), PasaLord began organizing its third synchronized prayer a few months early, ahead of an upcoming national election. Senate President Vicente Sotto III was inspired to lead the Senators in issuing Senate Resolution No. 1002, declaring the first Thursday of the month of February as a day of synchronized national prayer. It also designated PasaLord as the coordinator of the event, and the PasaLord Prayer as the vehicle of the nation’s petitions.
On Feb 7, 2019, for the first time in our country and possibly in the whole wide world, all three branches of government joined the people in praying for the nation either privately or publicly. Catholic, Christian and Muslim congregations throughout the country also participated in the prayer, as did agencies of government, big and small enterprises, schools, hospitals and media. The Philippine National Police recited the PasaLord Prayer in many of its outposts throughout the Philippines— an initiative and inspiring demonstration of how the mustard seed of faith planted in the organization was growing vigorously.
The following year, on February 6, 2020, PNP hosted the Synchronized Prayer at the PNP Multi-Purpose Center, Camp BGen Rafael T Crame, Quezon City. It was attended by Crame-based PNP personnel and several convenors of the PasaLord. Thereafter, while the CoVID-19 pandemic restricted face-to-face encounters, it accelerated the rate of prayer as more and more people “did the PasaLord.” This is to say people passed their problems to the Lord, PNP men and women passed their problems to the Lord.
On PasaLord’s third anniversary on July 7, 2020, the convenors hosted a webinar titled “Panalangin ng Pag-asa sa Panginoon sa Panahon ng Pandemia” or “Prayer of Hope in the Lord in the Time of Pandemic.” A short history of the PasaLord was followed by testimonies from Nanay Bing Pimentel, PCol Imam Moxsir and the teachings on why we need to pray and the secrets of answered prayers by Ptr Roy Carandang and Dr Christopher Uy of the Campus Crusade for Christ (CRU). The highpoint of the program was PBGen (Msgr) Jason Ortizo’s testimony of catching the CoVID early in the pandemic and being healed through prayers. Ptr King Flores closed with tips on how to apply lessons learned from the webinar.
In November 2020, PasaLord held the PasaLord Belen Project Webinar, urging Filipinos to return Jesus to the center of Christmas festivities by setting up a belen in every home. And in December 2020, during the Christmas holidays, PasaLord held the Bless the Nation Webinarwhen top government officials, religious leaders and influencers prayed for and pronounced blessings upon our nation. This turned out to be a very significant event because their prayers opened many doors for many ministries and fueled new growth.
As the pandemic raged on, PasaLord organized another synchronized prayer for healing and restoration on February 4, 2021. In honor of 500 years of Christianity in the Philippines, the webinar featured an inspirational talk from Nanay Bing Pimentel relative to having a mustard seed of faith and walking with God. It also recounted briefly how the PasaLord Prayer was crafted. Ptr King then dedicated the Philippines to the Lord, and the webinar closed with the PasaLord Song composed by Nanay Bing and arranged and performed by Pow Chavez.
On May 13, 2021, PasaLord launched the Prayer for the 2022 Elections. The interfaith prayer petitioned God for clean, honest, peaceful and orderly elections; for the right leaders to emerge; for voters to choose wisely; and for poll authorities to withstand attempts to engage in electoral fraud. The CoVID-19 pandemic has shown us that, as we persevere in prayer, God answers them. We are applying this lesson that prayer worked for the 2022 elections according to our convenor.
It was on December 16, 2021, PasaLord held a webinar titled “A Belen for Every Home” to honor the Lord Jesus. PasaLord sought videos and photos of belens from PasaLord members (they are anyone who believes in God and prays to the Lord, automatically accepted as believers, according to PasaLord founder Nanay Bing Pimentel). PasaLord featured the belens of responders. Some were homemade, crafted from scraps. Others were made with native materials and some were store-bought. A few were carved out of wood. Most belens were simple and showed only the core characters, but a few were elaborate and clearly family heirlooms The belens provided parents with a way to tell their children who Christ is and what He has done for us.
In less than two months, starting 2022 right, PasaLord coordinated the synchronized interfaith prayer to intercede for the 2022 elections which will be crucial to the future of the nation and for an end to the pandemic. As PCol. Imam Moxsir explained, “We need to unite in prayer for clean and peaceful elections for the right leaders to emerge to help our country move forward. We also need to pray for an end to COVID 19 pandemic. Uniting in prayer is important because we are one nation under one God with one destiny.”
On April 27 and 28, 2022, PasaLord hosted a webinar titled “PasaLord: One Heart, One Prayer for the 2022 Elections.” This time PNP was a recipient of prayers. Religious leaders and PasaLord convenors led prayers for the COMELEC, PNP, AFP, voters, candidates and poll watchers. It turned out to be the most peaceful and least contested election in recent years.
After the elections, on June 23, 2022, PasaLord hosted a virtual gathering titled “Praying for the President and Vice President.” The video featured Atty Christian Monsod and Atty Michael Henry Yusingco. Two more webinars followed. These were titled “Praying for Senators, Congressmen and Congresswomen, and Party-List Representatives” on August 25, 2022, which presented former Senator Atty Joey Lina and Atty Yusingco, and “Praying for Governors and Mayors” on November 10, 2022 which showed our mainstay Atty Yusingco and DILG ASEC Jun Bernabe, former mayor of Parañaque. These programs taught viewers how to pray more purposefully for our new officials. In mid-December 2022, PasaLord took a break from the series to focus on “Jesus — the Heart of Christmas.” The program included an inspiring video titled “The Story of Christmas” which explained the origin of Christmas.
Meanwhile, as PasaLord carried on with its work virtually, PNP also had important milestones. On August 3, 2022, PGen. Rodolfo Azurin, Chief PNP, introduced a peace-and-order framework of the PNP KASIMBAYANAN (Kapulisan, Simbahan at Pamayanan meaning Police, Church and Community). He had a formula M+K+K=K, which stands for Malasakit plus Kaayusan plus Kapayapaan equals Kaunlaran. In English, COP = P. Caring Order Peace (when taken to heart and practiced) will result in Prosperity. The PNP has been cascading this framework, and officers and PasaLord convenors alike have noticed that the PasaLord prayer and values fit in well with the KASIMBAYANAN program.
The Synchronized National Interfaith Prayer for the Philippines
On February 2, 2023, the PNP Chaplain Service and PasaLord, other religious groups, joined forces to hold the Virtual Interfaith Spiritual Gathering. Dubbed “Synchronized National Interfaith Prayer for the Philippines” caused to promote peace, love and harmony via an interfaith prayer that was acceptable to all Filipinos across the country and in other parts of the world. The religious sector worked through Multi-Faith Groups (MFGs), a coalition from government offices in the executive, legislative and judicial branches. On a positive note, PasaLord’ social media analytics on official FB Page (as of March 3, 2023) showed it has drawn positive feedback from an enormous cyber audience.
A total of 3,270 individuals registered, indicating their participation in a historic online event, as shown in the table. Interestingly, male participants outnumbered female participants in the activity among PNP uniformed personnel (PCOs and PNCOs) and non-uniformed personnel (NUP), as well individuals from the religious sector. Thankfully, GMA-7 included coverage of the said event and became par of their report.
The PasaLord Prayer Movement has been organizing the synchronized prayer every year since 2019 in collaboration with many sectors: force multipliers and advocacy groups with PNP serving as its primary partner. Senator Vicente C. Sotto III’s Senate Resolution No. 1002 gave muscle to the endeavor. This interfaith synchronized prayer effort is also in line with the peace and order security framework of CPNP Azurin’s M+K+K=K through KASIMBAYANAN (Kapulisan, Simbahan at Pamayanan).
PNP under M+K+K=K through KASIMBAYANAN and the PasaLord Prayer Movement, aspire to bring peace and order through religious/spiritual practices like the individuals and the community at large. The sacred texts of the Abrahamic religions (Bible for Christians, Quran for Muslims and Talmud for Jews) provide assurances that prayers work wonders. PasaLord under the shepherding of its president, Pastor Ricardo “King” Flores, and the PNP Chaplain Service led by PBGen Ortizo, envision that the Philippines will become the light of Asia and to the rest of the world after national transformation is wrought by prayer. They hold on to God’s promise in 2 Chronicles 7:14: “…if my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.”