Jewish prayer is a conversation with God.
But it’s not a simple conversation.
Its purpose is to request from God.
True, in Jewish prayer we find elements of Praise and Thankfulness too, but the main part of it is requesting.
In the Bible, we see that the people who are mentioned as ones that pray – are prophets too.
That is for a simple reason: in the Bible days, the only ones who really knew how to pray were the prophets. That is because they have already met God â€“ God spoke to them. Prophets had the knowledge of how to approach God in order for their requests to be fulfilled.
So, what did happen since the Bible days? Why do Jews pray every day?
Theoretically, there is great danger to pray in our days – if someone does not know God, he might fall to idolatry!
How is jewish prayer permitted today?
We need to ask too: theoretically, it is audacity to pray!
What the person who’s praying is actually saying, is something like this: “listen God, the world you’ve created is really excellent, except for one pointâ€¦ I’m asking you to change it”.
Perhaps there is a meaning for the way things happen? Maybe there is a hidden meaning behind this point he is talking about? We don’t trust God to run the world the way he thinks is the best way?
I’ll give you an example.
A person is sick, and there is another person praying for his recovery.
Maybe God wants this person to be sick, in order for him to think about the reason God sent him this illness, and then he can improve his deeds.
If he’ll get better too soon – he won’t become a better person.
This is just one example, and there are endless examples.
How can we be certain about the things we ask God to change?
I’ll answer now both questions.
As I’ve mentioned, in the Bible – one who prays is a prophet.
In the end of Bible days, the prophets felt that the prophecy connection with God is ending. They were concerned: who will be able to pray after prophecy ends? With no prophecy â€“ you cannot really know God, therefore you donâ€™t know the right way to approach him in order for the requests to be fulfilled.
That is why the last prophets – together with the Jewish sages â€“ created a routine prayer text, and entered their entire spiritual world into this text. This is today’s Jewish prayer.
That means that today we pray with the intentions of the prophets.
That is why it is permitted – and recommended – to pray today.
We got good guidance – so we are protected.
This is the answer for the second question too – How can we be certain about the things we ask God to change?
True – a prophet could have known whether it is appropriate to pray about a certain point.
It is told about Moses – the Jewish leader of the nation in the desert – that he was forbidden to enter the land of Israel.
Moses prayed hundreds of prayers in order to change God’s decision.
At some point – God told him to stop his praying, because there is a good reason for him being forbidden to enter the land of Israel.
Had Moses continued praying – he would have entered the land of Israel. But now he understood why God doesn’t want him to enter.
We truly do not know what we can pray about – because we are not prophets, but because we pray by the guidance of our prophets – we are in good hands.
What about personal requests?
If one prayed with the routine text – his will is well oriented, so he can add personal requests too.
Want to get a Jewish prayer book – a siddur?