2008/11/15

Saying A Good Prayer

Shabbat Shalom blog friends.

I don't know about you but sometimes I wonder if my prayers are getting through. And, if they are, why would God who knows everything anyway -- including what I am going to say next -- even listen? God must be up in Heaven rubbing his ancient chin and saying, "Yeah, I knew you were going to say that..." How boring for him.

But, let me tell you a little story I heard about that:

One Shabbat eve Congregation Shalom Beit was having services, everyone was going along chanting the ancient prayers in preparation for a joyous Shabbos.

But Aaron, a boy about eight years old, was simply shouting out letters of the aleph-bet. "Aleph, Bet, Gimmel, Dallet, Lammed, Mem, Nun, Tet, Hey..." Aaron didn't know all the letters and he didn't seem to have them in any order. Some of the people around him tried to shush him because he was not actually praying.

Finally the rabbi came down off the bema and said, "Aaron, my son, what are you doing?"

"Well," said Aaron, I don't know the prayers, and I am not too sure about the aleph-bet. But, I thought I would just shout up the letters and let HaShem put them in the order He wants."

And, as beautiful and soothing to me as the old prayers are, I think Aaron had the most authentic prayer. I think that wanting to pray is the key. If we can get there, and not be too concerned about anything beyond offering ourselves, God will take care of the rest.

Have a blessed Shabbos, remember your oneg, and don't worry too much if you don't quite meet the expectations of others.

7 comments:

Wormwood's Doxy said...

Oh, Lindy---I love that story!

I came from a tradition where women weren't even allowed to pray in public if there were men present, so I've never been very good at extemporaneous prayer. I think that's why I feel so at home in the Episcopal Church--I love having the prayers already laid out, and I love that I've memorized so many of them. They never seem to get old to me...

But I take your (and Aaron's) point. Must think about this some today...

Pax,
Doxy

Paul said...

A very good prayer indeed! Thanks, and shabbat shalom to you, Lindy!

sharecropper said...

Shabbat shalom to you, also. And, now I know that on our trip to Cleveland Clinic and while we are there, I needn't worry about what I pray as long as I pray. And, I do know the alphabet, but like Aaron, I'd probably get the Hebrew alphabet all mixed up.

shalom, mi amigo

Jane R said...

Lovely, Lindy.

Hope you had a good Shabbos. It's Saturday night so I'm a little late, but the warm wish is there.

Ann said...

prayers sharecropper. And I love that story -- it will show up in a sermon soon! I am shameless about stealing good stories.

Diane said...

huh. I was sure I left a comment here yesterday.

wha happened?

Now my brain is too tired to remember what it is.

I like everything you write.

Jan said...

Like Diane, I always like what you write. I was here before, but forgot to comment, because I was entranced by your weather widget and had to get one for myself. Thanks.