A Prayer for Undocumented Families Torn Apart

ויאמר יצחק אל־אברהם אביו ויאמר אבי ויאמר הנני בני ויאמר הנה האש והעצים ואיה השה לעלה
Then Isaac said to his father Abraham, “Father!” And he answered, “Yes, my son.” And he said, “Here are the firestone and the wood; but where is the sheep for the burnt offering?”

Avinu malkeinu, our parent, who shepherded us through the wilderness, sheltered us from evil, delivered us into a promised land, we cry out to you now for families in the wilderness, children plucked from the arms of their loving parents, young people living behind bars, seeing a world lined with fences and walls designed to keep them out, to keep them apart. We weep with parents who don’t know where their children are, and wonder if they are safe, if they have food to eat, if someone has outstretched an arm to them. We pray you give courage to these families, fill them with the understanding that we are behind them and with them, that we have been the wandering stranger, and we won’t forget them or forsake them. We ask for your help in raising our voices. We pray for strength as we cry out and organize and fight.

O God, we ask that you unharden hearts, that you fill leaders with compassion and lovingkindness. That you help powerful people to remember we are all created in your image and we all deserve dignity, that children have a birthright to love and safety. We pray that you will be with us as we return again and again to our leaders, asking them to let our people go.

We don’t ask for signs and wonders but for the most basic thing—parents holding the children. Children enveloped in a parent’s loving embrace.


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