Prayers are simply words. On Wednesday evening, I stayed up to the wee hours of the morning glued to the television. After sitting next to my daughter with her jaw dropped early in the afternoon, a nine-year-old asking what was happening in our country’s capital, I felt the urge to witness how we would continue as a nation.
After the procedural parts of the certification concluded, U.S. Senate Chaplain Barry C. Black was invited to give the benediction, a prayer to close out the night/day. Most of the nation was already asleep.
As I heard this prayer, I knew that more people needed to hear it.
We pray three times a day. We say the ancient words of our Rabbis, that invoke the past and the values we learn in our tradition. Many times prayers are just words, said with little meaning, and honestly, little action.
This week, I received multiple emails asking for the words of a Prayer for Our Country: A prayer for so many years we have taken for granted; a prayer we say each and every week before we place the Torah back into the ark; a prayer that is needed much more now that ever before.
Yes, prayers are simply words. But, as Chaplain Black writes below, “Words matter and the power of life and death is in the tongue.”
We learn bacharta bachayim, we shall choose life. Let us choose the words that promote this value, that promote democracy, that respect the machloket min hashamayim, arguments truly for the sake of heaven, and not arguments for destructions sake.
This Shabbat, pray. Pray with our hearts, pray with our souls, pray with our words, and pray with our feet. Pray TOGETHER.
“Lord of our Lives and Sovereign of our beloved nation.
We deplore the desecration of the United States Capitol building, the shedding of innocent blood, the loss of life, and the quagmire of dysfunction that threaten our democracy. These tragedies have reminded us that words matter and that the power of life and death is in the tongue. We have been warned that eternal vigilance continues to be freedoms price. Lord, you have helped us remember that we need to see in each other a common humanity that reflects your image. You have strengthened our resolve to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies domestic as well as foreign. Use us to bring healing and unity to our hurting and divided nation and world. Thank You for You have blessed our lawmakers to accomplish in spite of threats to liberty. Bless and keep us. Drive far from us all wrong desires. Incline our hearts to do Your will, and guide our feet on the path of peace. And God, bless America.”