Prayer is the way we communicate with God. He communicates with us differently- through visions, sometimes audibly, sometimes (as I believe I hear Him) it is a small, quiet voice in the back of my head that tells me what to do. I figure it’s God, through the Ruach, because the answer is usually not what I was hoping for but what I realize I need to hear. If it doesn’t make sense, in a worldly way, then it has a good chance of being from God.
But is it? I ask myself this all the time- I am almost jealous of those people who say they heard God talking to them and He told them what to do. I more often than not write it off to people wanting so badly to be able to brag about being godly that I take all these clams with a grain of salt. It’s unfortunate, too, because I really want to believe that God is talking to people. If he is, then maybe one day I will hear Him, myself, in a way that will leave no room for doubt.
It’s because I doubt, because I need to ask as the man did in the Gospels, to have Yeshua give faith to my faithlessness that I think I may not pray correctly. There are examples in the Manual where the Tzaddikim (righteous ones) asked God to help strengthen their resolve. Even Yeshua asked God to strengthen Him when He prayed at Golgotha. So who am I to think I could hear God any clearer, or that I could have as much faith as these?
That’s why I keep asking myself, and God, too, “Am I praying correctly?” My answer is, “No; not really.” I believe I should be in a quiet place, alone and undisturbed, and concentrating on my prayers. Instead, I usually start my morning prayer (traditional Jewish prayers are done three times daily: Shaharit , the morning service; Minchah, the afternoon service; and Maariv, the evening service) in the car as I drive to work. Before we moved to Florida I worked a 90 minute drive away from home, and sometimes the prayers lasted all the way to work. Sometimes I just do a “quickie”. I think the one thing I do correctly is to start by thanking God and end by thanking God. The problem with this, I feel, is that I am in a quiet place but not concentrating solely on God. I can’t close my eyes while driving (Thou shalt not test the Lord, thy God) and if I get into it and begin to “auto pilot”, that can be dangerous, too.
I need to really try to sit and pray, alone, before the rush of the day begins. And I need to pray continuously all day, as I feel the need for His Ruach to help me calm myself. Actually, I do that, I mean, pray continuously (didn’t Shaul tell us we should pray that way?) and I try to remember to pray for others.
I am not a good intercessor- I don’t have the compassion or concern for others that an real intercessor has. Now that I think about it, I am really blessed in one way- I am so far from where I should be that I have so much potential. Potential is good, realization of potential is better; so, nu? At least I have potential!
Anyway, back to prayer…it should be honest, heartfelt, and we should approach God with a contrite spirit. David said that a broken spirit and a contrite heart God will not turn away; of course, I am not saying we should only pray when we are down. We should pray constantly and we should follow the template that Yeshua gave us (see Matthew 6). When His Talmudim asked Yeshua in what manner should they pray, the answer He gave was not just what to pray, but how to pray.
It starts with recognizing God’s greatness and authority, it asks for forgiveness, it reminds us to forgive others, it asks for only what we need (implying our faith in God to provide what we need and when we need it- no need to store up extra) and it ends as it began, acknowledging God as the Almighty.
Maybe that’s all we need to do? Just acknowledge God as our King, and remember to forgive others so when we ask for forgiveness “as we forgive others” we have something to show for it, and to thank God for His gifts and provisioning. Even if we feel that we need more, we should thank God for what we have. Remember the parable about the servants and the talents they were given- even those that have nothing, what they do have will be taken from them. You can always have less, so be thankful for whatever you do have. Even if your life seems to be full of tsouris, you’re alive and being alive means having hope. I feel so bad for those people (when I am feeling compassionate, which does happen now and then) who refuse to accept God’s existence, or my own people who refuse, vehemently, to accept their Messiah Yeshua (which I did for over 40 years, too) because without God and Yeshua, there is no hope.
I know that the Jewish people are fervently praying for Messiah to come. He will return, and for them (I guess) it will be the first coming. That’s the problem- the first coming has come and gone, and when he returns there won’t be a lot of time to realize they missed the boat. I do pray for my people, not nearly enough, so to you reading this blog I ask that you also pray for Israel and the Jewish people to accept their Messiah. Also for the Gentiles to continue as I see many doing, which is to support Israel and get closer to their Hebraic roots. God has no religion, and we need to come together against the Enemy of God, who will unquestionable have a unified following. If we don’t get our heads together and start to worship God uniformly, without all these traditions and policies and pomp and ceremonies that men created, whitewashing God’s laws and commandments and trying to humanize God with all types of excuses and reasoning about what he wants and why, we will not stand before the Enemy and his armies.
The Enemy will not allow his followers to be divided, he will not allow them to have free will and he will not allow them to think on their own. He will be ruthless, and if you think Nazi Germany was bad, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet! We who believe in God, who have been saved by the sacrificial death of Yeshua, and who worship the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob need to unify- God has no religion! When we get religion out of the way, we will be strong.
God confused mankind at the Tower of Babel and said that He did so because if we were left to our own devices, all speaking the same language and all together as one, we could do anything. I think He confused us because it was too soon for us to be that way. But now, with the End Days approaching quickly, I believe it is time, and God is waiting for us to get together again. We have different languages and cultures, but one Torah, one Messiah and the one God. If we become one under God and Yeshua, we will defeat the Enemy, both corporately and individually.
Prayer is how we strengthen ourselves. Even when done as sloppily and incompetently as I do it, my prayer time strengthens me. It helps me stay in touch with God, and if He chooses to answer me in a still, small voice or slap me upside my head, it is His answer. Even His silence is an answer, in that His silence will make me pray harder and to seek Him more. I know He’s there, I know He’s listening. It’s like Hide and Seek- sometimes you just have to seek harder.
I guess, in the end, praying to God, no matter how you do it, is what praying is all about. Maybe there really isn’t a “right” way or a “wrong” way. Maybe just praying is what we should do, and since we are all different, if we pray honestly, earnestly, humbly, and constantly God will honor that.
I think that’s good. Just pray from your heart, and you are praying correctly. What do you think?