Posts tagged " prayer "

How Do I Connect to God?

July 28th, 2020 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 9 comments

Hi,

I was raised Christian and midway into my adult life, I questioned many things about my faith and reevaluated where I stand. I went through bouts of atheism and ended up more agnostic in my beliefs. I felt abandoned and always searching for God/Creator and what that really is.

I still enjoy the moral lessons in scripture and especially yours. But I still feel that sense of disconnection from God.

I would like your advice on what I should do to accomplish my quests to find the peace, connection, and love of God, while all the while, always questioning the existence and presence that I cannot see. I hope that you can offer advice.

Marcus

Dear Marcus,

By its very definition, having faith means trusting in something that cannot be proven beyond a doubt. Maimonides, a great sage who lived from 1138-1204 instructs us, not to believe that there is a God, but to “know that there is a God”.  Of course, that quest to know God is an ongoing one. We do not each day need to set out to “know” that we need to breathe oxygen or that our bodies require food. Other things that we “know” do need constant reinforcement such as knowing that we should be faithful (there’s that faith word again) to our spouses or that getting up with alacrity is better than lounging in bed.

You are clearly a thinking person and also one who feels deeply. It sounds like you have gone through a process and it is possible that you may even have confused accepting specific tenets of a specific religious path with being aware of a loving Father in heaven.

You now seek connection with God. Please know that being aware of a connection with God and of His love for you does lead to peace, but most of us feel that more at some times and less at others. The search for that connection does not always make us feel peaceful; it can actually be disturbing just as an emerging newborn is jostled, pushed and prodded by going through the birth canal.

Here are some practical tips we hope may help you.

1)        If you don’t feel the way you wished you felt, start acting the way you’d act if you already felt the way you’d like to feel.  You may need to read that sentence twice, but it boils down to talking and praying to God before you are sure He is there and listening.

2)        Try to designate a time and place for daily prayer when you won’t be disturbed or interrupted by the phone or by people. You certainly can and should talk to God “off the cuff” throughout the day, but a set time and place will serve to “prime the pump” so to speak.

3)        Spend twice as much time during your prayer session, in silent contemplation as you do speaking. So many times, we talk to God telling Him of our needs, desires and questions, but we run around the rest of the day, not allowing ourselves the quiet to listen for His responses to us.

4)        Get to know in person or listen to or read about people of deep and simple faith for an hour or two each week.  Reading about someone who trained for and ran a marathon or listening to them present a motivational speech makes it easier to follow in their footsteps. The same is true for faith. There are so many people and resources out there, some public figures and others less well-known. Find those who resonate with you.

5)        Start reading a book about how the world and the human body work. Understanding how complex and miraculous this universe and our human existence are evokes gratitude to God for each day we survive and each breath we take.

6)        You might want to go through the book of Psalms slowly, taking half a year or even a whole year to work your way through.

We are confident that 90 days or so into this regimen you will feel more secure and settled than you are today. Don’t expect a steady, consistent change. You will face challenges that make you take a step back and that seduce you to give up and quit your quest. Persistence, humility and courage will keep you on the right track.

Let us know how it goes,

Rabbi Daniel and Susan Lapin

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I can’t seem to break away from bad ways.

September 6th, 2018 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 4 comments

Dear Rabbi and Susan,

Please, what can someone do to break away stubborn yokes of many years, that has defied fasting and prayers?

Kamaldeen R.

Dear Kamaldeen,

First of all, accept our admiration for being the rare person who evaluates himself morally and works upon himself for improvement in the eyes of our Heavenly judge.  The timing of your question is fortuitous. In just about two weeks millions of Jews around the world will  observe Yom Kippur, known in English as the Day of Atonement.  Yom Kippur  is celebrated with a 25 hour fast and the day is spent in prayer. Ten days of moral introspection lead up to  the climax of Yom Kippur, the day upon which we lock in our resolve to make meaningful changes in our life.

It is not a sad day, although some Jews, who have minimal knowledge of their faith, think that it is. It is a festive day. As you recognize, little makes one happier than being able to put bad traits and habits behind and move forward in a more positive direction.

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Wonderful news!

July 16th, 2018 Posted by On Our Mind 2 comments

A few weeks ago, we asked you to pray for the infant grandson of dear friends of ours. We are thrilled to share that Lion Huch, son of Pastors Luke and Jennifer Huch and grandson of Pastors Larry and Tiz Huch has been discharged from the hospital and is cancer-free. Here is Pastor Luke’s announcement:

“INFANT LEUKEMIA SURVIVOR Baby Lion Update: Special announcement from Pastor @lukehuch! Thank you so much for your continued prayers! We have the victory!!! Lion is healed, Lion will live, and Lion will thrive! Repost and share with others so they can hear the good news!!!”

Please keep praying as Lion is scheduled for further treatment to ensure that the cancer doesn’t come back. This is truly a miracle and we are rejoicing.

Adding Our Prayers

June 5th, 2018 Posted by On Our Mind 2 comments

Two people we admire tremendously, and are honored to call friends, are Pastors Larry and Tiz Huch. Their family is battling now for the health of their precious grandson, Lion. We are keeping Lion, his parents and his whole family in our prayers and ask you to do the same.

LION UPDATE:

First and foremost. We will be victorious.
There is no easy way to say this, but our 7 month old baby boy Lion, has been diagnosed with Leukemia. He will begin treatment today. This will be a 2 year treatment process. Though leukemia is seen amongst older children, it is an incredibly rare disease in infants. Only 150 infants a year total are diagnosed with leukemia who are under the age of 1 year old. As you could try to imagine, this news has shaken our world to the core but we have great faith. We are and will remain steadfast. Being that Lion is so young, treatment comes with challenges. So we are going to fight this. Lion is going to fight. Jennifer is going to fight. I am going to fight and we are going to beat this. We know we are not alone in this journey and battle. We know God is with us and so are all of you. Your positive thoughts, words, prayers, emails, Facebook posts, Instagram posts, text messages, phone calls, voice mails, prayer meetings, meals and support mean the world to us so please keep them coming. How or why something like this would happen to a baby boy as sweet as Lion is a complete mystery to us. He is our whole world. But we know, for certain, Lion is going to make a full recovery. He is as strong as they come and then some and God has a divine plan and destiny for his life and our family and we will fulfill it together. We will see this through, from the valley to our victory. Our hearts, minds and body’s are with our baby son. Our eyes are fixed on his healing and our hope rests in God. Lion will Live! He will do great through his treatment! Mommy, Daddy and Baby will be strong! Our family will be whole! Pray and speak only positive words! We love you all!
Luke, Jennifer, Lion.
#LionStrong #ValleyToVictory #PrayForLion

Is this prayer inappropriate?

March 28th, 2018 Posted by Ask the Rabbi 12 comments

Should we pray for things that are within our control or that we can accomplish ourselves (e.g. working harder, being more patient, or being more disciplined)?

Thank you.

Justin A.

Dear Justin,

Many years ago, a South African immigrant to America (Rabbi Daniel Lapin’s mother, to be specific) asked a friend to pick up some strawberry jelly for her at the store. When the friend delivered the requested jars of jelly, the immigrant was confused. She was actually asking for a Jello type dessert mix, but in America jelly means something quite different.

Among the words prone to misunderstanding, prayer ranks rather high. We are often exposed to the idea of praying to God as children, yet what exactly we are doing needs constant refinement and growing awareness as we mature.

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Pray For Your Life

June 14th, 2016 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

If you’ve acquired a new car recently, you probably drove it happily for a while without even cracking open the operating manual in the glovebox. After all, you know how to drive and most cars are fairly standard. You switch it from P to D, press on one pedal to go faster and press the other one to slow down. Maybe the first time you opened the manual was when it began to rain. Despite looking like you needed an advanced engineering degree, the index quickly took you to page 72 for which helped you master the seventeen different modes for clearing rain drops from your windshield. The option for automatic operation whenever it senses rain drops is very cool and made you smile. (more…)

Is praying in a group better than praying alone?

January 7th, 2016 Posted by Ask the Rabbi No Comment yet

Question:

What does the Bible say about group prayer?
Is it more powerful than individual prayer?

∼ Kenda S.

Answer:

Dear Kenda,

You are asking a question that may be particularly apt for our times when technology allows us to access other people without having to leave our homes. Many church services are accessible online and you can easily bring church to you rather than going to a building.

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Race to Judgment

December 2nd, 2015 Posted by Thought Tools No Comment yet

Some people find that praying comes naturally, but for me that was not true. I am not embarrassed about this; after all, I did not grow up naturally able to navigate a sailboat or cook an omelet. I had to be taught these things. But nobody taught me how to pray.

One thing I had been taught was that praying is not just another word for begging. When they say there are no atheists in fox holes the are not really talking of praying; they mean begging. And begging only corrodes the soul. Either the passerby carelessly drops a quarter into the outstretched hand or he ignores it and hurries on by. Either way, the beggar is demeaned. By contrast, true prayer is uplifting. (more…)

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