Prayer Essentials

For the week ending 22 February 2014 / 22 Adar I 5774

Prayer Fundamentals - Part 4

by Rabbi Yitzchak Botton
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G-d’s All-Encompassing Power

I believe with complete faith that the Creator, Blessed is His name, rules over all of His creations, and has the power to provide all of our needs, and to save us from any situation, without any limitation. (“Principles of the Faith”)

Although belief in G-d’s existence is essential to prayer, its essence extends far beyond this. For one to place his trust totally in G-d, praying to Him with utmost conviction, he must contemplate the fact that G-d has the ability to grant his every request, whatever it may be. Thus, by turning to G-d and crying from deep within our hearts, we testify that we believe in G-d’s absolute control over every aspect of His world.

One must reflect on the fact that for G-d even the biggest miracle, like splitting the Sea of Reeds, is a simple matter. Since everything is as naught before G-d, then, in truth, big and small are the same to Him. It follows then that nothing is too small to ask from G-d since to Him it’s all the same. Whether it’s a life or death situation or an annoying ingrown toenail; a breakthrough million dollar deal or getting a good parking spot at the mall, G-d is there to turn to for help, guidance and salvation.

This idea is expressed in the story of the great Rabbi Chanina Ben Dosa. One Shabbat eve Rabbi Chanina found his daughter crying because she had mistakenly used vinegar instead of oil to light the Shabbat candles, and since it was after sunset it was too late to fix it. He responded to her calmly, saying, “The One Who commanded oil to burn will command vinegar to burn.” And indeed that is what happened.

Although G-d does not always choose to transcend the laws of nature for everyone, one must understand that from G-d’s perspective it is no more difficult for Him to change nature than it is to create it.

One might wrongly conclude that G-d would never perform a miracle for him, reasoning that G-d caused vinegar to burn only in the merit of the great Rabbi Chanina, who was the most righteous man in his generation. The truth, however, is that G-d constantly performs miracles for all of us, as we proclaim three times daily in the Amidah prayer, “We thank You… for Your miracles that are with us every day, and for your wonders and favors in every season ― evening, morning, and afternoon.” When a person turns to G-d with the firm belief that G-d has the power to do anything, he can also merit seeing miracles in his life.

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