Every night at bedtime, my daughters and I tell one another what we are thankful for. My younger daughter, when she was 2, would often say in her squeaky little voice, “I’m thankful for that time that I got to spend a lot of time with my family.”

She was echoing me. Literally every day and night I say thanks for my life, and the life and health of my family members and loved ones.

On Friday, there were an additional 60–families who could not say the same–the 27 Sandy Hook Elementary families and the families of, on average, 33 people who are killed by guns in this country each day.

Today, after a few days of literally being nauseated by the news of Sandy Hook Elementary, I have much to be thankful for and many prayers. I am thankful for the leadership of those who are immediately demanding change and calling for a coalition of leadership on this grave problem our country faces. I am thankful for President Barack Obama, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Mayors Michael Bloomberg and Cory Booker, Rep. Carolyn McCarthy and more. I am thankful for Democratic West Virginia Rep. Joe Manchin, who yesterday spoke out, saying that he doesn’t “know anyone in the sporting or hunting arena that needs 30 rounds in a clip to go hunting.”

As a mom and citizen, I have many prayers. Beyond praying for peace for those who have lost a child or loved one, I pray that these lives are not in vain. I regret that it has had to come to this, and I pray that the Newtown tragedy becomes rock bottom for us, that we finally take action. I pray that the parents of the victims will be able make sense of the theft of their children’s lives by seeing us pass legislation that will prevent future violence.

I pray that those who have acted to block such legislation in the past will–finally–look at it the way Obama has: that these are “all of our children.” I pray for those who don’t have the humanity to see that each life is of more value than all of the profits of the Glock company, which thinks that when the founding fathers wrote the Second Amendment, they envisioned the creation of such horrific weapons as well as a society that does not care for the mentally ill sufficiently.

I pray that the president uses his executive power and political capital where he can. I pray that our legislative branch uses its authority to pass laws banning assault rifles and the sale of ammunitions online, enforcing mandatory wait periods, restricting people’s access to guns in the secondary market where it is possible to buy these weapons without background checks and more.

I pray that we have the courage to engage in the tough conversation about mental health as a public health issue, as well as the prevalence of violence in our culture. I pray that the video game makers and studio heads will think more about the content they produce. I pray that the advertising agencies will make their best efforts to also look at the images they assault us with in outdoor campaigns and television ads. As a mom, frankly, I should not have to shield my little girls’ eyes from blood and gore on the sides of buses on the way to school. It is just not right.

I pray that the news media does not let up on this issue, that it recognizes that it is the privilege and responsibility of the media to continue to shine a light on the issues that plague our country.

I pray that each of you uses your individual power as a citizen of this nation to lobby your representatives on Capitol Hill, ensuring that they feel the heat of their constituency until this is addressed.

On this day, I have so many prayers. Please, God, for my children, for all of our children, answer my prayers.