A Prayer for Paris Climate Talks

hamsa in backyardAccording to everything I read, the global climate negotiations (COP21) happening in Paris Nov. 30-Dec. 11 are the most significant chance the world has for coming to a meaningful and effective climate agreement this decade. With climate change, time is not on our side, so a positive outcome from these talks is crucial. To that goal, people all around the planet are planning fasts, prayer vigils, marches, coordinated social media, etc. to help raise a unified, global voice calling for #ClimateAction.

Learn more about the talks and some ways to take action here.

As for me, I’m going to Paris for the first week of the talks! To read some about that, go here. While we’re there, we’ll post written notes, photos, and short videos here, and you can follow #BootsNBerets on twitter.

More important than anything I might do in Paris is what kind of attention, action, and transformation this moment in time makes possible for all the many people who won’t be there. Below, a prayer I’ve written for my Jewish congregation to be read this Shabbat, the Shabbat before climate talks begin.

If you like it, please use it–with attribution, of course. And please tell me, perhaps in the comment section below. I’d love to know if it’s helpful!

Blessings to you in all your places, and happy Thanksgiving!


A Prayer for Paris Climate Talks

Adonai Eloheinu, v’Elohei Avoteinu v’Imoteinu—

Lord our God and God of our Ancestors—

God who separated the light from the darkness,

upper waters from lower waters,

and seas from land.

God who appears in a whirlwind,

in a burning bush, and

as strangers standing at an open tent.

Do You remember?

You freed us from that Narrow Place and

guided us through the wilderness,

appearing as a pillar of cloud by day,

and as a pillar of fire by night.

Do we remember?

You thundered, shook the mountain, and gave us Torah.

We were awestruck. We said:

“We will do and we will hear!”

Help us remember.

God, we’ve kind of messed things up.

We didn’t mean to. It was science and progress,

electricity and cars and plastic!

Plastic is amazing, God.

So useful.

But now, we’ve upset the delicate balance of Your Creation—

this beautiful, wildly diverse, interconnected,

pulsing, breathing planet full of life—

The storms are stronger now.

Drought more frequent, more severe.

Ice is melting, seas are rising, crops are shifting.

Hunger and disease, disaster and thirst

lead to suffering

and strife

and people—so many people—

having to leave home

in search of a safe place to live.

We didn’t mean for this to happen.

But now we know.

And now that we know, we are responsible—

we must act.

Please help us, God.

We need to make some changes, and fast—

but it’s hard.

We can do it—but it’s going to require a lot of work,

and we’ve never had to cooperate quite like this before—

all of us, all your diverse peoples, all over the world.

Climate change is a big challenge.

We’re going to have to work together,


But it’s really, really hard.

Leaders from 196 countries are about to meet in Paris

to try to agree on a way forward.

God, please help them.

Give them wisdom, and the courage to do what’s right—

rather than what’s politically expedient.

God, please help us.

Global warming is scary.

Change is hard.

Give us strength, imagination, and hope.

There’s so much we can do, right here at home.

Help us meet new challenges with hearts that are open

and attuned to You.

For this little blue planet,

gift of water and breath and life amazing—

Thank you, God.

Please be with us.

Guide us.

Help us mend our ways,



and repair—


And let us say: amen.

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