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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.
that the true aim of public service
is not personal profit
or the gratification of ego
but pursuit of the public good.
the patience and understanding
to treat with dignity and respect
those who criticize or disagree with 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.
with the insight and will
to fulfill our responsibilities as citizens.
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
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
“A Prayer for our Country, its Leaders and its Citizens, by David Abernethy (2020)” is shared by the living contributor(s) with a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International copyleft license.