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Daily Lift #915

Staying Focused in Prayer

Prayer has tremendous potential for spiritual elevation and intense pleasure. How tragic that such a great opportunity is sometimes regarded as a boring chore!

On one extreme, some people think that the object of prayer is to just rattle off words. On the other extreme, some people try so hard to pray properly that they become very tense and nervous.

The way to have an elevating prayer experience is to calmly recite the words, while keeping in mind that you are speaking to the Omniscient Creator of the Universe. Whenever an external thought comes into your mind, gently return your focus to what you were saying in your prayers. You need not fight other thoughts - just ignore them, and once again concentrate on the words of the prayers you are reciting. If the thoughts that come up concern a practical problem that must be dealt with, set a time later in the day when you will address that matter.

(see Rabbi Pliskin's "Gateway to Happiness," p.100)

See more Daily Lifts on the topic of Prayer

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Visitor Comments: 1

(1) Anonymous, June 30, 2010 12:13 PM

Yes, it is a pleasure

Thank you for a reminder that prayer is indeed a pleasure. Different prayers require different focus or different attention. In some prayers one allows the prayers to pray itself. Then there is the prayer of the gut where one's whole being is involved. Then there is the prayer of the heart where tears are quite abundant. Prayer of the mind is one which is peaceful, meditative and lets go as one prays. Anxiety is far away. Each word said lets go of another bit of tension. All these varieties are found in Tehillim and in our Siddur. Make it personal because it is. Every aspect is personal. How personal is washing of hands? How personal are the blessings? Can't get any more personal. I was once asked why Judaism is the true religion. My answer was perhaps strange. Because every aspect of our lives was a prayer to Hashem. How then can prayer be boring? If it is then our lives should be boring as well? No?

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