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Prayer for our Nation

By Rav Shmuly Yanklowitz
diverse people holding an american flag with one child holding a sign that says One Nation

Because of my commitment to the integrity of prayer, starting this week (January 16, 2017), I can no longer recite or say amen to the Shabbat prayer for the success of the U.S. President.

So I have drafted a new prayer that I will plan to recite each Shabbat morning. If you also feel it’s important to pray for the U.S. government but also feel you cannot pray for the success of this President, feel free to use this or adapt it as you please. I felt that it was not enough to simply avoid the U.S. President in the prayer for the government but to remind myself of the billions of vulnerable people who are at risk under his rule, and challenge myself each Shabbat to build up the strength for another week of spiritual resistance.


O God and God of our Ancestors, help us with our struggle. We yearn for the success of the American government, to fulfill its righteous mandate to protect its citizens from threats internal and foreign, to fortify the bonds between liberty and justice, to ordain fair treatment under the law, and to expand welfare to all those within its capacity.

We pray that the vision of the prophets—the redemptive power of justice; relief for the poor, welcome for the marginal, protection for the oppressed, care for the sick—and the vision of the Constitution of a more perfect union be brought about. Guide the incoming leader of this country away from his basest instincts, thwart his plans to target certain groups and strengthen white supremacy; for You know, God, that all were created in Your image.

We pray that the decrees from the Executive office do not harm the innocent. We pray that any policies that are meant to harm the vulnerable in prioritization of the powerful and privileged will be quashed. Should there be plans that will merely benefit the most privileged Americans, but not all of humankind and the planet we call home, may they fail. May our nation not consort or conspire with totalitarian despots but reaffirm our commitment to freedom and democracy. Grant us the strength to demonstrate spiritual resistance, to imbue our sinews with the highest integrity. Give us the wisdom and courage to do what’s right to protect the most powerless and defenseless in society.

May agents of hate who stray from Your holy vision of love and justice, found within and outside our country, be averted. May all of Your creations be handled mercifully. May all to whom You have given the sanctity of life awaken and fulfill their calling to bring love, justice, and kindness to all corners of Your world.

May Your land, and our government, strive to be a blessing for all. Amen.

 

Prayer

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