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October 7, 2015 | 24th Tishrei 5776
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Prayers for Times of World Conflict

As we learned in the days and weeks following September 11, during times of crisis people turn to their houses of worship, expecting to find comfort and solace and seeking a means to express their fears and concerns, hopes and prayers. Congregational worship can also be a primary source of support to those who are serving in the armed forces and their families.

As you plan your worship during these times of crisis, consider:

  • Offering a Mi Shebeirach for those who are being called to active service the Shabbat before their departure.
  • Calling families of those who are in sevice to the bimah to read one of the "Prayers for Soldiers and Those Being Called to Active Service."
  • Incorporating a "Prayer for Peace" in your weekly worship.
  • Reaching out to the families of those in service with a personal invitation to join the congregation during your worship services.

Prayers for Soldiers & Those Being Called to Active Service

Facing Life Changes

Help me, O God, to find still moments,
Quiet spaces within to refresh my soul;
Calm my questions, my inner debates,
And let me meditate on Your goodness.

Help me, O God, to nurture my courage,
Recalling moments of strength,
Remembering days of fortitude,
The certainty of Your regard.

Help me, O God, to grasp changed visions,
Filmy curtains to blur my unhappiness
And wrap my tears in radiance,
Your hand upon my face.

Help me, O God, to turn to the light,
Warmed face, fingers outstretched,
Alive, alive in Your sight.

From "Flames to Heaven: New Psalms for Healing & Praise" by Debbie Perlman.



Because I know You will hear me
As I fear this unknown I must enter,
Surrendering my self, my authority,
If only for a brief while.


Because I know You will hear
As I praise You at this season
Spreading warmth of renewal over cold earth,
Even as my soul's chill is warmed.


Because I know You are there:
Hearing me,
Warming me,
Renewing me,
Leading me through this time
To a place of health and vigor.

From "Flames to Heaven: New Psalms for Healing & Praise" by Debbie Perlman.

A Song for Courage

Reach down for me, O Eternal,
To draw me up beside You;
Coax me away from anger and fear,
Beckoning forward, climbing higher.

Grasp tightly as I grope above,
Bind my heart to You.
Place my hand upon the sturdy branch
That eases the climb to You.

For You are the sure Hand
Beneath my elbow,
Guiding my steps as the
Blind are guided.

You are the Light
Shining through dark branches,
Illuminating the ascent
Through strangling vines.

You are the steady Voice
That recalls me from my confusion
And bids me order my days,
That I might turn to You in wonder.

Recall me, recall me, sing my name
That I might hear Your welcome;
Lift me, turn me, to breathe fresh air
Above the forest canopy.

From "Flames to Heaven: New Psalms for Healing & Praise" by Debbie Perlman.

Prayers On Behalf of Soldiers & Those Being Called to Active Service

May the One who blessed our fighters Joshua, David and Judah, Deborah, Yael and Judith, bless _______ who has been called to active service. May it be Your will, Adonai our God, that he/she be guided safely and protected every enemy and harm. May his/her path be successful and guard his/her going out and coming in to life and peace now and forever. And let us say: Amen.

Adapted from the Israel Movement for Progressive Judaism's siddur

My God protect you, guard you and keep from any harm. If you should find yourself in danger's path, may God bring you back whole of mind and body to all those who love you. May the honor and courage within you guide you as you serve your God, your people and your nation.

Rabbi Mordecai Finley blessed his son, who is a Marine infantryman, with this blessing.

Prayers for Peace

Grant us peace, Your most precious gift, O Eternal Source of peace, and give us the will to proclaim its message to all the peoples of the earth. Bless our country, that it may always be a stronghold of peace, and its advocate among the nations. May contentment reign within its border, health and happiness within its homes. Strengthen the bonds of friendship among the inhabitants of all lands, and may the love of Your name hallow every home and every heart. Blessed is the Eternal God, the Source of peace.

Gates of Prayer

May it be Your will, Adonai our God and God of our ancestors, that You abolish all wars and bloodshed from this world and extend a great and wonderful peace in the world. Nations shall not lift up the sword against one another, neither shall they learn to make war any more. May all the inhabitants of this universe acknowledge the one great truth; that we have not come into this world for friction and dissension, nor enmity and jealousy and vexation and bloodshed. We have come into the world solely that we might know You, eternally blessed One.

And therefore have mercy upon us that through us the written word will become a reality. "And I will grant peace in the land, and you shall lie down untroubled by anyone; I will give the land respite from vicious beasts and no sword shall cross your land." (Lev. 26:6) "But let justice well up like water, righteousness like an unfailing stream." (Amos.5:24) "For the land shall be filled with devotion to Adonai as water covers the sea." (Is. 11:9)

Based on the prayer of Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav, from Siddur Ha'avodah She'ba'lev, Service of the Heart.

Source of peace, Sovereign of peace,
Establish peace among Your people, Israel.
And let there be an ever-increasing peace among all peoples.
May there be no more hatred, rancor, strife or conquest
Between one human being and another.
Let there be only love and a great peace among us,
So that each on of us may know the love of the other.
Until we are able to come and gather together-every person with another.
So that we may speak - one to the other.
So that we may explain - one to the other - Your truth.
God - You are peace, and from You comes peace.
Source of peace, bless us with peace.

Based on the prayer of Rabbi Nachman of Bratslav, from Siddur Ha'avodah She'ba'lev, Service of the Heart

Prayer for Healing from Communal Tragedy

Blessed are You, Source of Life,
Who helps us to bring
Light where there is darkness,
Healing where there is brokenness, and
Peace to all of the earth's inhabitants.

Kolot: The Center for Jewish Women's and Gender Studies

On Behalf of Israeli Defense Forces

Bless the soldiers of Israel's Defense Forces, and every one who stands guard in order to protect our people. May the Holy One, Blessed be God, protect them and save them from all troubles and afflictions, from all sickness and injury and send blessing to all their endeavors. May the words of the Prophets come to fruition through them "and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more. And each one shall sit under the vine and under the fig tree and none shall be afraid," and let us say, Amen.


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