A Prayer for Peace

(Passover Haggadah Supplements:
to be read after Yachatz)

Our mothers and fathers ate the bread of affliction
every day when our ancestors were in Egypt.
Tonight we gather around tables filled with
the bounty of food, and the warmth of love,
and endeavor to see ourselves as if
we ourselves went forth from Egypt,
with minds and bodies nurtured only on
the bread of affliction.

We are aware of Israelis who hunger for security,
who are afflicted with terror, and who yearn
for acceptance in our world as a people
of a nation with a sacred mission.
We are aware of Palestinians afflicted with poverty,
who desire nothing more than to raise their
families in an independent state,
free of the burden of occupation, and able
to build a future of their own choosing.

Only peace can feed the souls
and salve the wounds of
Israelis and Palestinians today.

Only peace can offer sustenance
to two peoples struggling side by side,
afflicted with anger, burdened with pain.

Only peace — peace now — can allow
our brothers and sisters to escape
the bondage of their violence.

When they are vulnerable,
we are vulnerable.

When they are insecure,
we are insecure.

For us to see ourselves as if we went forth
from Egypt means to recognize that
all of God's children hunger for justice,
hunger to be free from the bonds of conflict
that oppress the human spirit,
and hunger to celebrate life
with love and hope, bread and peace.

— Rabbi Douglas Krantz, Pesach 5763/2003
originally circulated by Americans for Peace Now

May our eyes remain open
even in the face of tragedy.
May we not become disheartened.
May we find in the dissolution
of our apathy and denial,
the cup of the broken heart.
May we discover the gift
of the fire burning in the
inner chamber of our being —
burning great and bright enough
to transform any poison.
May we offer the power of
our sorrow to the service
of something greater than ourselves.
May our guilt not rise up to form
yet another defensive wall.
May the suffering purify
and not paralyze us.
May we endure; may our sorrow
bond us and not separate us.
May we realize the greatness
of our sorrow
May clarity be our ally and
wisdom our support.
May our wrath be cleansing,
cutting through the confusion
of denial and greed.
May we not be afraid to see
or speak our truth.
May the bleakness of the
wasteland be dispelled.
May the soul's journey be revealed
and the true hunger fed.
May we be forgiven for
what we have forgotten
and blessed with the remembrance
of who we really are.

— The Terma Collective
in Life Prayers from Around the World
edited by Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon

The hardest part is people.
So Lord, help me face them
without rancor or disappointment.
Help me see the pain behind their actions
rather than the malice;
the suffering rather than the rage.

And in myself, as I struggle
with the vise of my own desire-
give me strength to quiet my heart,
to quicken my empathy, to act
in gratitude rather than need. . . .

Remind me that each small bird shares atoms
with anthrax, with tetanus, with acid rain,
that each time I close my heart
to another, I add to the darkness;
Help me always follow kindness.

Let this be my prayer.

— Karen Holden
in Prayers for a Thousand Years
edited by Elizabeth Roberts and Elias Amidon

May we as a nation be guided by the Divine
to rediscover the sacred flame of our national heritage,
which so many have given their lives to safeguard;

Let the wounds of separation and division be healed
by opening our hearts to listen to the truth on all sides,
allowing us to find a higher truth that includes all;

May we learn to honor and enjoy our diversity
and differences as a people, even as we
more deeply touch our fundamental unity;

May we, as a people, undergo a transformation
that will draw forth individuals to lead our nation
who embody courage, compassion, and a higher vision;

May our leaders inspire us, and we so inspire
each other with our potential as individuals
and as a nation, that a new spirit of forgiveness,
caring, and honesty be born in our nation;

May we, as a united people, move with clear,
directed purpose to take our place within
the community of nations to help build
a better future for all humankind;

May we as a nation rededicate ourselves
to truly living as one nation, under God,
indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

And may God's Will be done for the United States,
as we, the people, align with that Will.

— Corinne McLaughlin and Gordon Davidson
in Prayers for Healing
edited by Maggie Oman

More Prayers and Meditations:
1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6