The concept of ‘prayer’, of speaking with the Creator has been something of a sticking point for me over the last year. It seems that in most cases anything I associate with ‘religion’ or ‘faith’ demands closer inspection as soon as I take a moment to step back and have a proper look. As a friend pointed out this week, ‘where in the Torah are we commanded to pray’? And that is a fair question. One can answer of course that we aren’t commanded to digest food either and that speaking with the Creator should be as natural a part of our lives as sleeping or breathing. It’s hard to find a story in the Tanakh in which we see people who have faith in the God of Israel NOT speaking to the God of Israel.
But why bother. The Creator knows all things. He knows what is happening this day next millennium. He knows out thoughts, wants, hates and secrets. He knows what we feel guilty or embarrassed about before we get to feel guilty of embarrassed. Is opening a dialogue and stirring up our own dirt or selfish wants really needed?
When we open a dialogue with the Creator we are in fact saying, ‘Here I am. I acknowledge you. I want to be better.’ Better how? Perhaps a better friend or a better listener. Maybe to feel better, to ‘want’ better things for people. To be a better ‘you’ for Him.
Rabbi Skobac said once that we are all diamonds in the rough and that speaking to the Creator helps refine, polish and repair them. God doesn’t need riches. God doesn’t need rewards. We though are still His creation and represent His divine and awesome creative power, love and mercy. We can be a shining jewel, searching for the smallest scratch to buff out or we can choose to be worn and tainted. The more you seek out the flaws to fix the faster and brighter the light shins through.
In April of this year I’m starting a project called the ‘April Prayer Project’ in which I’ll be mailing out 4 packages via the internet. Each pack will consist of a links to themed posts on different areas of prayer and a time table of sorts that will contain a collection of things to ‘pray’ from the text of the Tanakh and from other sources. The object of this project is to place ‘Tefillah’ (prayerful reflection and dialogue with the Divine) at the start and center of each day AND to journal how, if at all, this changes your faith/life/relationship with the Creator.
The project will demand of you around 20 minutes a day and an honest response in your journal.
If you would like try this project out please leave your Facebook profile in the Comments area or your email. (Emails will not be published publicly).