Prayer Essentials

For the week ending 12 November 2016 / 11 Heshvan 5777

Like Talking to a Friend

by Rabbi Yitzchak Botton
Become a Supporter Library Library

“For what great nation has God close to it, as the Lord our God whenever we call to Him” (Deut. 4:7)

One of mankind's oldest mistakes, one that still plagues us even today, is the mistaken belief that G-d is far too exalted to bother with this lowly world. They claim, “True, G-d created us; however, after doing so He left us under the control of stars, planets and constellations.”

This is of course completely wrong. Although G-d appears as if He were far beyond our reach, residing beyond this world and beyond all galaxies, beyond the abode of even the angels, in the highest Heavenly realm lies G-d’s Throne of Glory. How far away G-d seems from us! Yet, in truth, there is none so close to us.

How close? Prayer connects us to G-d. Even when we feel distant, He is there listening. Through prayer we enter into G-d’s private chamber. There we convey — directly to G-d — our thoughts, needs, fears and hopes. Each of us, even young children, when praying the Shemoneh Esrei prays in a mere whisper — and G-d listens. Through our daily prayers we testify that G-d not only exists, but that He also watches, listens, and responds to our spoken word.

So why does G-d bother to listen to our prayers and requests?

Because He genuinely cares for each of us in a perfect way. He wants to be involved in the details of our lives. This is the essence of prayer: to recognize G-d through the faculty of one’s intellect and beseech His goodness. In this way a person not only succeeds in welcoming G-d into his personal life, but also raises his own endeavors aspiring to live a life worthy of G-d’s involvement.

In connection to the above, Ramchal explains that one should strive to see himself as if he were literally standing before G-d, exchanging words with Him as with a friend. When one truly senses that G-d is “right there” with him, listening to the words that emanate from his heart, he makes G-d a real part of his life. When you pray today, don't forget to add some of your own words from the heart. G-d is waiting to hear what you have to say.

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