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A Prayer for our Country, its Leaders and its Citizens, by David Abernethy (2020) A Prayer for our Country, its Leaders and its Citizens, by David Abernethy (2020) 2020-12-13 13:18:03 A prayer for the United States, its leaders and government and its citizens -- a personal response to things that were troubling me in the months before November’s election – in particular the level of divisiveness in our country, and what seemed to me to be a growing sense that it isn’t important to respect people we disagree with, and an ever more prevalent belief that we are entitled to decide for ourselves which rules to follow, and all that matters are own rights and our beliefs, not our responsibilities to one another. Inspired by the events of 2020 Text the Open Siddur Project David Abernethy David Abernethy David Abernethy Government & Country United States of America 2020 coronavirus pandemic United States General Election 2020 civic responsibility pluralism United States Donald Trump 21st century C.E. 58th century A.M. English vernacular prayer civic prayers American Jewry of the United States 2020 coronavirus outbreak in the United States
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Our God and God of our ancestors,
accept with mercy our prayer for our country,
for its leaders, and for ourselves, its citizens.

Bless those chosen to lead this country
with the wisdom and courage to act justly
and to serve the needs of all, not just the few.
Teach them
that the true aim of public service
is not personal profit
or the gratification of ego
but pursuit of the public good.
Grant them the patience and understanding
to treat with dignity and respect
those who criticize or disagree with them.
Remind them
that every citizen is entitled to a voice,
in the voting booth and in the public square.
Help them understand
that the true promise of our country
will not be realized
until full justice and dignity
are afforded to all who dwell in this land,
no matter the color of their skin,
where they were born,
whom they love,
or how they serve You.

Bless us
with the insight and will
to fulfill our responsibilities as citizens.
Inspire us
to stand up for what we believe to be right
and oppose what we believe to be wrong,
while treating with courtesy and respect those who,
in good faith and from love of country,
hold views different than ours.
Help us understand
that it is our duty as citizens
to protest unjust laws and actions,
but also to respect and observe
the valid laws properly enacted
to protect us and our communities.

May it be Your will that all of us,
leaders and citizens alike,
come together to replace division with unity;
violence with peace;
hatred and bigotry with love and true equality;
insult and contempt with civility and respect;
selfish pursuits with devotion to the needs of all;
and racial injustice with racial justice.

And may it be Your will
that all of us come to understand
that these things are not the promised results
of divine intervention in our country’s affairs,
but blessings that all of us must work for together
every day.

And let us say

This prayer — for the United States, its leaders and government and its citizens — was my personal response to things that were deeply concerning to me in the months leading up to our most recent election. A rising level of divisiveness in our public discourse. A common belief that we need not be respectful of those with whom we disagree. And a growing acceptance of the view that every individual is entitled to choose which of our society’s rules to follow, and which not – that we need only concern ourselves with our own rights and opinions, not our responsibilities to one another. Over the past few months I have read many beautiful and deeply moving versions of prayers for our country and its government, all highlighting different concerns and challenges, but all reflecting a deeply rooted tradition of concern for the welfare of the nations and communities in which we live. This one is simply one person’s way of expressing that concern. Shared within a synagogue community but not published elsewhere. –David Abernethy


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