Judaism is a religion that was created in response to the needs of its people. This can be difficult for those who don’t follow a religion, as many of the scriptures in other religions seem to say that their faith is above all else. But Judaism, like all other religions, exists to serve its people – and praying is one of the best ways to do that. In this article, Rabbi Samuel Waldman will take a closer look at what prayer is, its different types, how it fits into Judaism, and why it is so important.
What is prayer?
“Prayer is the act of asking for things for yourself or for others. It can be verbal or physical, and it can be short or long,” says Rabbi Samuel Waldman, who has been providing religious education for more than two decades.
This Rabbi points out that there are many types of prayer, and the word itself is used in many different meanings. The most basic type of prayer is acknowledgment, which is the act of saying “I promise to do/not do something for you/the cause/etc.” There are also requests, entreaties, thanksgiving, and blessings, as well as other forms of petitionary prayer.
Types of Prayer
Rabbi Samuel Waldman indicates that there are different types of prayer, each with its own uses and benefits. These include:
ARTICULARALLY PRONOUNCED PRAYER – According to Judaism, a religious person should make an utter and complete commitment to God. That means saying yes to everything, including food and sleep, as well as your time and energy. This type of prayer is often performed at the start of a day, before going to sleep, and while doing other activities.
A COVENANT PRAYER – Covenants are verbal agreements that take effect only when both parties accept them. Some common examples of covenants include “I will not take free rides on the subway” and “I will sacrifice to the God I serve.”
SUBTLE PRAYER – Subtle prayer is the act of asking for things with the mind instead of the mouth. This includes mental suggestions, images, and feelings instead of words. Some examples of subtle prayer include “May you feel safe and comfortable” and “May the sun shine on you warmly today.”
The benefits of praying
Beyond the obvious benefits, there are many other benefits to praying. Here Rabbi Samuel Waldman shares just some of the most significant:
PRAYERS HELP OTHERS – When you pray for help, you are actually helping others by letting them know that you are in a jam and need their help. This could be a romantic relationship, a friendship, a family member, or a friend.
PRAYERS HELP YOU DEVELOP CREDIT – One of the benefits of praying is that it helps you to “repay” the favors you have been given. In many cases, this will earn you some form of credit with the person or entity who has helped you. You may be able to use this credit without having to pay it back, in which case it is known as a “free gift.”
PRAYERS REVEAL GOD’S PRESENCE – Sometimes we don’t know just how much influence we have on the world around us. By making a conscious decision to ask for a certain thing, you are actually asking for a “gift” from God. This gift could be the ability to do something you want to do, the feeling of warmth and comfort that comes from doing so, or a sign that you have done something good for someone else.
The benefits of praying in a group
Rabbi Samuel Waldman, who has been writing a very lengthy and very comprehensive Sefer, all about the extremely important subject of Proper Prayer, indicates that there are many benefits to group prayer, and for groups that consist of a large number of people, the members might not even realize it. If a group of people wants to pray for something, the energy of the group can far outweigh the individual members and make a difference.
Prayer is an important part of the Jewish religion, and for good reason. According to Rabbi Samuel Waldman, prayer helps us to connect with God and turn to him when we are in need. It also helps us to develop character and teaches us to be independent and self-sufficient. As you can see, there are many benefits to praying, and they can be incredible when done the right way. In addition to being an essential part of religious practice, praying is also a wonderful activity to do with your family or friends.