I have been struggling lately with the question, “does G-d answer our prayers?” It is something that pops into my mind each time I see a request for prayers on things like Facebook as well as when something difficult happens in my life. I’ve had a lot of struggle with the instances when it seemed hopeless to get what I wanted and/or what would relieve the grief and sadness of my friends. A friend and Jewish scholar shared this with me, and though it doesn’t necessarily solve my problems, it helps *me* at least start to understand the value of prayer beyond a barter system that more often than not comes up without a necessarily perfect result (i.e., cure of cancer, recovery from a stroke). I hope it can help any of you who might be experiencing the same questions. Peace.
A medieval rabbi, Leon Modena, expressed the truth of prayer as follows:
Imagine a man in a boat who is pulling himself to shore. If one did not know better, it could appear that he is pulling the shore to himself. But indeed, it is the one in the boat who is being moved, because the shore is fixed. So it is, he said, with prayer. We think that when we pray we are moving God closer to our will. But true prayer does quite the opposite: It moves us closer to God’s will.