Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Prayer Works (continued)
Now that you know why we pray and how effective it can be, we need to discuss the secrets of how to pray -- allowing it to work in our favor every time.
What I’m about to tell you are secrets, so make sure you tell everyone. Here again the subject is so extensive that books have been written. I can only give you a cursory look at the subject.
The most important concept in proper prayer is knowing before Whom we are standing and taking it very seriously. If we were standing in front of an important king of flesh and blood, we would be scared to death. We would never turn around and talk to a friend, start reading something that does not pertain to our meeting with the king, dress improperly, act silly, drink something, talk on the cell phone (that is a biggie), etc. We would believe that if we acted improperly at such a moment, the king might give the ever so familiar “Off with his head!!!” command and that could ruin your whole day. Even if we were put in front of the owner of a large corporation, the
we just happen to be employed by, we would also be in fear of our livelihood,
if we messed up. But yet we stand in
front of the King of Kings, the Owner of the universe, the Big Boss three times
a day (not to mention being observed by Him 24/7) with the consequences of damaging our eternal life forever and ever and we
do not act accordingly. How many people
do you know that pray realistically in fear and love with a sense of urgency
and trepidation knowing that the outcome of this event will determine their
Let me turn this completely around and give a very different approach to the situation. We have been given the gift, the privilege of a private audience with the Big Boss three times a day, morning, afternoon and evening. This golden opportunity, if done correctly, will make our lives much more pleasant, productive, successful and enjoyable for ever and ever. Wow, what a gift. But the way we treat this is similar to someone giving us a million dollars that we put in a safe that we don’t have the combination. Yes, we own the money but never can use it since we made the mistake of putting somewhere out of reach.
I know that praying three times a day for us creatures of habit becomes a very routine act and very often results in lip service. We pray very quickly with the attitude of “let me get this done and get out of here, I have more important things to do.” What is even worse is that our minds drift and at the most important time of praying, the silent devotion when we get to request all our needs, we think to ourselves “I have to pickup some bread on the way home or I am going to fix that broken appliance today.” We end this particular important part of prayer with the statement “Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable to You.” But there is nothing in the prayer that says “please ignore the part about picking up the bread or fixing the appliance.” If our prayers are not focused properly, we are wasting the most important opportunity of the day. A hint to avoiding the mind drifting is to prepare in advance. We have prayers for everything – for people that we know are sick, for those who are financially in trouble, for those who are in trouble with the law, etc, etc, etc. If we prepare in advance with a plan to think about each individual that we want to help as we come to the prayer that pertains to that individual (it is very important to picture the person in your mind as you pray – it works), we channel our minds away from the trivia and accomplish what the prayer is designed to do for us. Of course, don’t forget the prayers that simply say thank you to Hashem or praising Him. They should be prepared in advance as well. To thank Hashem for everything is OK but to thank Him for something specific that recently happened is much more meaningful. That shows the idea of extra thought and inspiration going into your prayers. Making our prayers work for us and totally successful is much more gratifying than lip service. All distractions must be eliminated. It is one of the biggest reasons that men and women should not pray together. Show me a man that says he is not distracted and completely can concentrate on prayer with a woman in front of him, and I will show you a liar (or a homosexual).
Our prayer service is designed with perfection and covers all our needs. It has been handed down for thousands of years as a proven way to achieve everything we need and want. When we follow step-by-step in order of the prayers and not skipping, remaining in one place and not walking around, we can accomplish it all. Coming late to services or even leaving early is counter productive since one tends to leave out important prayers. Using a proper prayer book is also important. Scriptures tell us that you can pray in any language but you must understand the language you are using. Only Hebrew (which is the best for prayer) can be used without knowing what it means. After all, as mentioned yesterday, the words are what cause the energies to flow and bring success. Hebrew is the best formula for that success. Hashem’s system of prayer is perfect and anything we do that detracts from that system makes our efforts less than perfect. I have heard all my life “I talk to Hashem everyday, but in my own words from the heart.” That is all well and good and should definitely be continued, Hashem wants to hear from us always. But, such praying should be supplemental to the real thing and not a substitute. Only praying with a proper quorum of at least ten men in a proper synagogue brings you to the perfect praying and the best results. (I know the Torah is sexist but let me break the myth by letting you know that it is completely in favor of women, not men, and I am planning a very informative blog post to prove it).
Another secret that perhaps is the most important aspect of successful prayer is how we say the many names of Hashem. Throughout prayer there are many places that a name of Hashem is used, each one has a different meaning and is pertinent to the particular prayer being said. Two important actions must occur. One is to say each name clearly and to think about what that particular name means (examples are one of Hashem's name stands for mercy another for judgement). Since words and sounds are the key to positive energy flow, this becomes the most important part of prayer, speaking His names. This is more difficult than it sounds, but should be worked on. Our drifting minds and our natural speed inhibit our effectiveness in praying. Believe it or not, books have been written on the deep meanings of Hashem’s names, so anything that I explain here is just a cursory look at what needs to be done. The good news is, when you start to improve these two actions (pronunciation and meaning of names), results happen quickly. Not perfect, but visibly effective. I myself have much room for improvement but my attitude towards loving Hashem and serving Him gives me the edge. Reminder: It's not what we know, it's how we grow.
We have all heard the expression “watch what you ask for, you may get it.” I only bring this up since asking for the wrong things can also work but result in problems. Everyone is convinced that if I were very wealthy, I could handle it. Money is evil. Many people who find themselves instantly rich tend to develop drug habits, drinking habits, family problems, even the suicide rate is higher amongst the wealthy. Hashem gave us a system to satisfy our needs and our wants. We are obligated to use it for the right purpose. Since the system on Earth is measure-for-measure, we should only pray for things that will be according to His will; otherwise, Hashem will make sure we get correction for all our improper deeds. The secret here is to always want to help others. If wealth comes upon us, congratulations, but only if you have a great desire to help the poor, sick, elderly, hungry, etc, etc, etc. I only use money as an example (probably the best example), but everything we do and acquire in life should be used for everyone’s benefit. That is what Hashem wants and that is why He gave us prayer. True success is when we demonstrate unselfishness. Take notice that most of our prayers are in the plural, saying "we" instead of "I." And, be aware, Hashem is listening to every word we say and watching every move we make.
Posted by The Absolute Truth at 8:12 AM