This prayer for peace, a prayer for a better world, is remarkably hopeful, an attempt to look for a future that seems difficult to reach at best, impossible to imagine at worst: a future of complete peace in the Middle East for all nations and all peoples. The first, "For the People of the Middle East," was written in response to the July 2013 announcement of a new peace initiative between Israel and Palestinians, recognizing that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is just one part of a complex peace puzzle. The poem has a broad focus, encompassing all places of war and strife in the region. Residents of Israel should substitute the word "our" for the word "their" when talking about the region.
Prayer for Peace: For the People of the Middle East
God of All,
Protector and Redeemer,
Watch over the people of the Middle East
As their [our] nations face struggle and strife,
In these lands and on these borders.
Grant safety to their [our] citizens and residents,
Visitors and guests,
During moments of unrest.
Grant wisdom and courage to national leaders
Throughout the region.
Grant insight to their advisors
And understanding to their friends.
Lead them on a path toward justice.
Direct them on the road to freedom.
Guide them on the way to prosperity.
Make them all shining lights of peace.
Source and Shelter,
Grant safety and security to all nations,
So that harmony and blessings resound
From the four corners of the earth.
Blessed are You, God of All,
Forging nations and peoples
In the crucible of change
May this time of challenge for the nations of the Middle East
Become a blessing for all inhabitants and for the world.
Alden Solovy is a liturgist, poet, teacher, editor and writing coach, as well as an award-winning essayist and journalist. He’s written for the secular and Jewish press. Before making aliyah, Alden was a member of Beth Emet-The Free Synagogue, in Evanston, IL, and a regular participant in worship at B'nai Jeshoshua Beth Elohim in Deerfield, IL. His work appears in the CCAR Press book Mishkan R’fuah: Where Healing Resides.