Open my eyes, God. Help me to perceive what I have ignored, to uncover what I have forgotten, to find what I have been searching for. Remind me that I don’t have to journey far to discover something new, for miracles surround me, blessings and holiness abound. And You are near.
Tefillah is an invitation to go inward. The word lehitpallel (to pray) is reflexive – it’s something I do within myself. It involves inhabiting my inner experience, listening to what is happening in the present, allowing my inner reality to express itself, and embracing this experience as a dialogue with my Creator.
Prayer is thus a curative act and it makes sense that it is part of our prescription for healing. When we pray, we do not change God, but we do change ourselves. In doing so, we affect an actual spiritual and physical change in the situation before us.
Human beings suffer constantly from this homesickness of the soul, and it is in prayer that we cure it. When praying, we feel at one with the whole creation, and raise it to the very source of blessing and life.
The verb “to pray” in Hebrew is reflexive. Prayer is about exposing and facing up to depths of self, asking difficult questions and trying to answer them, pondering the meaning of God’s teachings for one’s life.
For humanity to maintain its awareness of God as the Creator of the universe, and for that relationship to be authentic, it must be expressed in every aspect of life. This is why Jewish prayer was not restricted to the house of worship, nor limited to the home or house of study.