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Traditional Jewish liturgy includes myriad expressions and prayers of gratitude- throughout the daily, weekly, monthly and yearly cycle of prayers. Every morning opens with the private prayer of Modeh Ani, “I give thanks to you”; the amidah prayer, traditionally recited three times a day, includes a dedicated blessing of gratitude: Modim Anachnu Lach, “We give thanks to you”. On Shabbat we express gratitude for the day of rest and for the creation of the world, on Rosh Chodesh, the beginning of the month, we recite the Hallel psalms of praise and gratitude, on holidays we bless Shehecheyanu- appreciation for living to see this moment in time. There’s even a Jewish tradition that one should recite 100 blessings each day (!) as a way to recognize and be cognizant of the abundance we are given. 

And yet, with all those beautifully worded prayers, sometimes, we need to craft our own, to use our own words, to appropriately describe that which we seek, that which we desire and that which we are grateful for. 

Contemporary liturgist Alden Solovy, offers the following two prayers, written for our specific times: 

Write a Prayer

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On the Front Lines of the Pandemic

 

 

Source of mercy,

Watch over the medical professionals –

Doctors, nurses and all health care workers –

On the front lines of the pandemic

As they tend to the sick,

Putting themselves in harm’s way

To care for us.

Protect them from illness.

Shield them from trauma.

Guard them from all harm.

Bless their limbs with strength,

Their eyes with courage,

Their hands with gentleness,

For they are a source of hope and love.

May their deeds

Find favor in heaven

And bring healing on earth.

Rock of love,

Watch over those who are caring for the vulnerable,

The disabled, infirm, chronically-ill and elder populations,

And those who are called upon to serve the public in new ways,

All who cannot protect themselves with self-isolation,

Among them police, fire, ambulance and sanitation,

As well as those providing for our basic needs,

Workers in grocery stores, pharmacies and other essential services,

All who are doing Your work with love,

Putting themselves at additional risk

In service to humankind.

G-d of healing,

Extend your tabernacle of health and peace

To all in need.

Bring a speedy end to this pandemic,

And all disease and suffering,

So that we may know

Your compassion and Your grace.

Let deliverance rise up from heaven,

Let joy and celebration resound

From the four corners of the earth,

And may peace,

At long last,

Reign on earth.

 

 

© 2020 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

Coronavirus: A Prayer for Medical Scientists

 

 

G-d of wisdom,
Bless medical scientists and researchers around the world
With insight and skill, dedication and fortitude,
As they combat coronavirus,
So that their work yields knowledge and understanding,
Speedily finding a vaccine, treatments and deterrents to its spread.
Source of life,
Grant public health and government officials
The strength to act swiftly and decisively,
With compassion and understanding,
In service to humankind,
Fighting this outbreak
And the other diseases that still plague the planet,
Diseases threatening the lives of our brothers and sisters,
Nations and communities,
Young and old.
Rock of Ages,
Bring an end to disease and suffering,
So that all may know
Your compassion and Your grace.
בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה ה’, רוֹפֵא כׇל בָּשָׂר, וּמַפְלִיא לַעֲשׂוֺת׃
Praised are You G-d, healer of flesh, maker of wonders.

 

© 2020 Alden Solovy and tobendlight.com. All rights reserved.

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Activity Instructions: 

Inspired by these prayers, write your own prayer of gratitude towards those who care for you. Your prayer can borrow words or expressions from the traditional liturgy, or can be completely original. Identify who you are grateful for, and why you are grateful to them. Write in the language and style that you feel comfortable with. 

 

If you wish to share your prayers, post them on social media and use the hashtag: #gratitude5780