Recently, my wife was scheduled to have a procedure done to remove a growth that formed in her duodenum (if you don’t know what that is, Google it). As usual with any sickness or medical procedure, I intensify my level of prayer to cause positive results. Prior to time of my wife entering the hospital, a team of doctors evaluated an endoscopic review of the growth to determine whether it could be done strictly by endoscopic procedures, or required an operation. I am sure that my prayers and the prayers of many others caused avoidance of an operation. The endoscopic procedure was completely successful as was the pathological evaluation of the removed growth – all was benign.
The more miraculous situation that came about from my prayers is what I wish to mention. In the time before my wife's entering the hospital, I made a very interesting request within my prayers. I should mention also that my daughter at that time had reached her delivery date and was having very severe contractions that caused her much pain and discomfort which lasted about two weeks. I prayed that no pain or discomfort should come to my wife or my daughter as a result of my own sins. If I am the cause of any pain, it should come to me rather than to them. Even though I work very hard to follow Hashem’s ways, I am still human and make mistakes. It is one of the greatest reasons that Hashem, in His mercy, accepts our repentance (which I do daily).
My wife's procedure began early in the afternoon and I knew it would take at least an hour if not longer. I had not eaten anything for many hours and decided to have some lunch. Upon completing my lunch, I developed very severe stomach pains. I thought at first it may have been something that I ate that was not good, but then I realized that the pain started exactly at the time that my wife's procedure commenced. The pain went on for about an hour and a half and suddenly stopped at what seemed to be the exact moment that my wife's procedure was completed. My wife emerged from the operating room still asleep but when she woke up, she had a big smile on her face as she explained to me “there was nothing to it.” She felt no pain at all, no discomfort at all, and even the doctor commented on how well everything went. Shortly after that I received a phone call from my daughter telling me she was feeling much better and that her contractions had greatly diminished. The timing of all this was so precise that I had no doubt in my mind that my prayers were answered. Nobody likes pain; but, when I realized the reason that I was experiencing the pain and the fact that it was serving a good purpose (even one that I had requested), it put a smile on my face. More importantly, nobody should ever suffer because of my mistakes in life.
Hashem's system is perfect. It works with precision and it is important to know how, measure for measure, positive actions (and attitude) give positive results, and negative actions (and attitude) give negative results. Another interesting point is how Hashem’s creation being One (as we say in the Shema), means that everything I do affects you, and everything that you do affects me.
I was not planning to write about this incident until a friend of mine that I’ve known for close to 55 years E-mailed me a message telling me that his 56-year-old brother-in-law passed away. My friend complained to me that he started to go to synagogue every day and pray for his recovery, but it didn't work. I wasn't about to tell him in his grief that there is much more to getting your prayers answered than just going to synagogue and talking to Hashem (even though it does help). Prayer is an exact science and is part of a package deal. In other words it's not just the prayer, but also it is doing everything else that I have been talking about for close to a year. Doing the mitzvot, repentance, charity, studying Torah, helping other people, etc., etc., etc., is all part of the system to accomplish meaningful prayer. Effective prayer is very involved and takes years of work to develop it. It doesn't mean that it won't work when you first start out, but proper words must be accompanied by your good intentions to want to do the will of Hashem. Hashem sees our future and knows everything that we are going to do, say and even think in advance. There is no shortcut to getting your prayers answered properly. As an example, how many times I have heard people say to Hashem "if you do this for me, I will start to go to synagogue every day from now on." In other words, there are people who try bribery as a means of tricking Hashem into fulfilling their prayers. What nonsense, since it is our very words and actions that cause the success of prayer, and trickery is not part of the system. It will probably cause negative results more so than positive results. I never asked my friend if he started keeping Kosher or became observant of the Shabbos (since I know he still sends me Emails on Shabbos). Another important action is checking for a good Kosher mezuzah on the doors of the house (in this case the doors of his brother-in-law).
One thing that bothers me about my friend’s recent tragedy is that he never told me anything about his brother-in-law being sick before he passed. I knew his brother-in-law for many years and have even been in contact with him by E-mail. I feel very bad that I was not given the opportunity to pray for him and even do other things that are very effective in helping the sick, such as studying Torah in his name or reciting Psalms. I have also found that prayer in Israel has an even higher level of holiness causing even greater benefit and success.
For further details and even proof of how effective our words can be, please read my post of 9 April 2012 entitled "Prayer Works."
Final note: My wife is fully back in her normal, daily activity and my daughter had a boy – Eliyahu Yisroel. Prayer works. B"H