Sunday, September 11, 2011

Personalizing Prayer

Today I had my first Personalizing Prayer class. Although the name might make it seem obvious to some, the class is suppose to help the students become more familiar with the Siddur, Hebrew prayer book, the language, and to really understand the words and meaning of the prayer. Some people would prefer a different class because it is too "touchy feely" but I think that is exactly what prayer is about. It is personal.

We start every class with a breathing/focusing exercise to clear our heads from the previous class. I really liked this part, because our classes run back to back and so often my head is still thinking about the discussion that I was having 5 minutes earlier.

Our discussion today was about the obstacles we face when praying. Some of the obstacles were focusing, language, embarrassment (in Judaism it is kind of a choreography at times in the service and it's not nice to do it wrong), a lack of connection to the meaning, a lack of place and time. All of these were issues that we had with prayer.  I also said that I didn't feel like I always have justification in asking things from God. Like, I am not asking for something vital, like I am not asking for God to cure cancer, I am asking for helping on a test or something, and sometimes I feel like it is too insignificant.

Then we switched directions and talked about getting up in the morning and our routines and the Modeh Ani מודה אני. I really like the morning prayer. It is technically suppose to be the first things from our lips in the morning, sometimes even before we open our eyes.

מודה אני לפניך מלך חי וקים שהחזרת בי נשמתי בחמלה, רבה אמונתך.

It translates:
Grateful am I before You,
King Who is living and eternal,
for you have returned my soul to me with compassion -
Abundant is Your faith.    

I really like that the first thing we are suppose to say in the morning is that we are grateful.  Also, I think the last line is interesting because it says Abundant is Your faith (in me). Really, God has faith in me?!?! That's great, it's like a early morning pep talk. I want to do good things all day. =)

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