Prayer Essentials

For the week ending 21 December 2013 / 18 Tevet 5774

Prayer Business

by Rabbi Yitzchak Botton
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“My Lord, open my lips and my mouth will declare your praise.”

Today, the true service of prayer has become lost to so many. As if shooting arrows across a field hoping one will hit the target, we shoot out our words into the air. But what is our target? Are we even aiming? Drowning amidst an endless array of words, we look to the clock, waiting for the final moment. With the Chazan’s last words all rise and head for the exit doors. “Free at last, now back to real business.”

What about the business of prayer? Yes, I call it a business, for just as in any business there is much to be gained when one does the job right and, of course, to lose when done wrong. The words of prayer are holy and powerful. When said with proper intention they pierce through the Heavens, resulting in blessings of abundance for all. We must, however, be careful not to miss our target. Our address is G-d. Stop and think! Remember with Whom you are talking. One may ask, “Can my words really reach G-d?” Not to worry. If we can’t find Him, He will find you. The only condition is to be sincere and focused on the words of prayer.

We all need a heart-to-heart every now and then, and that is what G-d is offering us. The words of prayer begin in the heart. We must turn to Him with all of our “stuff”, whatever it is. He is the address. He is the One behind whatever situation we are dealing with, and it is to Him that we should turn for help

Each person has a direct relationship with G-d, the Ruler over all things. Although it is taught that we shouldn't rely on miracles, we must also keep in mind that G-d is unlimited in his ability to grant a person his every wish. We must remember that everything, even the simplest of things, comes from Him. For G-d — nothing is too small to ask for.

In connection to the above, Rabbi Yonatan Eibeshitz writes:

“One should place his entire faith in G-d, praying to Him for his every need ― even for things that may seem insignificant or trivial. Nothing should be excluded from one's prayers. For example: if one were in need of a shidduch for himself or for his child, or for success in his business affairs, or for any other endeavor, there is nothing that he should not pray for. Whether it is in times of trouble or on joyous occasions, one should always pray that nothing negative befall him.”

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