May it be Your will, God, our God and the God of our fathers, that You should lead us in peace and direct our steps in peace, and guide us in peace, and support us in peace, and cause us to reach our destination in life, joy, and peace (If one intends to return immediately, one adds: and return us in peace). Save us from every enemy and ambush, from robbers and wild beasts on the trip, and from all kinds of punishments that rage and come to the world. May You confer blessing upon the work of our hands and grant me grace, kindness, and mercy in Your eyes and in the eyes of all who see us, and bestow upon us abundant kindness and hearken to the voice of our prayer, for You hear the prayers of all. Blessed are You God, who hearkens to prayer.
Also known as the Wayfarer’s Prayer or Tefilat Haderech in Hebrew, the Traveler’s Prayer is customarily said at the beginning of any long journey which takes one beyond city limits, regardless of mode of transport. Traditionally, the prayer is recited at the beginning of the journey but after leaving the confines of your own city, for example once your plane has taken off. In the prayer, we ask God to keep us safe on the journey and return home safely.
What if you work beyond your city limits and you take this trip every day? You know the road well, you feel safe on this road, should you still recite this prayer? The answer is yes, as we do not take anything in life for granted, and we feel God’s presence, guiding us along the way, protecting us until we reach our destination, and return safely. “The Lord shall guard thy going out and thy coming in, from this time forth and forever” (Psalm 121:8).
Although the prayer is traditionally recited for long journeys, it may also be said for shorter, dangerous excursions, such as roads that are difficult to navigate. One must always remember that this prayer is not a magic spell that will ensure your protection – rather its purpose is to raise your awareness. Be aware of your surroundings, and the fact that travel is dangerous, a fact that many of us forget from day to day as we robotically drive on our everyday routes. Most of all, we must always remember that God is with us, protecting us, and guiding us on our paths to our destinations.
We all know that travel can sometimes be stressful and frustrating. As the text of the prayer says, “lead us in peace.” We are taking a step back, looking at the upcoming journey, and asking God for it to be one of peace, physical peace and safety, as well as emotional peace of mind, and spiritual peace, recognizing that God is guiding the way.