This is a new prayer for peace, a prayer about love, a prayer that sees the beauty in all children. For more than two weeks, people have been asking for a prayer focused on the children here in Israel caught in this war. It took longer to conceive than I expected. I hope you find meaning in it. It has a similar intention as my prayer “For Peace in the Middle East.” It also fits nicely with two prayers I wrote on behalf of the CCAR Solidarity Mission to Israel.
Children of Gaza, Children of Israel
What can we say to you in times of war?
What can we say when you run for shelter, not for joy,
When you hide, not to seek, but huddle in fear?
No, it is not a game when you
Cry tears of dread in the night.
O war and terror,
You have stolen our children.
You have stolen our rest.
And now you wish to steal our hope
Children of Gaza and Israel,
We pray for you to find each other,
In laughter and friendship,
Before someone teaches you
Anger and hatred,
While you are still pure with
Curiosity and wonder.
Children of Israel and Gaza,
We pray for you to find comfort
In the cradle of your mothers’ arms,
In the bosom of quiet and peace,
Without rocket or mortar to break
The gentle stillness of the air,
The lovely silence of the night.
Maker of All,
Is this too much to ask?
Is this too much to dream?
That one day all children of the world
Will run with glee toward one another,
Will hold hands together in delight,
To skip and twirl and dance
To the rhythms of peace?
© 2014 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.
Postscript: This prayer is very much “in the moment,” being focused on Gaza and Israel. I also plan to write and post a more general prayer for all children of war. My prayer “For Peace in the Middle East” appears in a new compilation “The Hope: American Voices in Support of Israel.” Proceeds of the sale of that book go to the Lone Soldier Center. Thanks to my friend Michele Chabin for her comments on an earlier draft of this prayer. Here are two more prayers about our children: “They Were Boys: A Yizkor Prayer,” written in memory of Gil-ad Shaer, Iyal Yifrah and Naftali Fraenkel, z”l, and “Another Boy Lost: A Jewish Yizkor for an Arab Son” written in memory of Muhammad Abu Khdeir. For more prayers about Israel, please click here.
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Photo Source: Debbi Cooper Photography