March 11, 2022 by Lazer Brody
The Creator fashioned the physical world in the way He did to teach us about the spiritual world. The principles that are apparent in the physical world teach us about the spiritual world.
An athlete doesn’t begin a challenging competition or exercise session with a good warmup. Warmups accelerate pulse-rate, increase blood flow to the muscles and raise body temperature. They facilitate flexibility and reduce chance of injury. Good warmup increase chances of winning.
The same goes for prayer.
Effective prayer requires concentration, intent and emuna. That too requires a warmup. Winning prayer is a prayer that’s answered. So here too, the warmup enhances winning.
Psalm 92 is a song of thanks to the Almighty. King David says in verse 3, “To tell of Your compassion in the morning, and Your faithfulness at night.” The morning is daylight, when everything is clear and apparent, when a person has all the health, money, success and happiness that he or she wants. At times like that, the Creator’s mercy is obvious. But when do we need faith? At night, in times of darkness, like now with the horrific Ukraine-Russia war going on. Many of us here still have friends and family in the Ukraine, some of whom are trapped in the nightmares of Kharkov and Mariupol. Yet, no less than the tragedies, are the stories of heroism and miracles.
People complain that the Almighty hasn’t answered their prayers. I bless them that their prayers should be answered for the very best. Why “for the very best?” If you’re asking for something that is harmful to you, then Hashem won’t fulfill that request. Why? He loves you more than you can ever imagine and He has unlimited mercy on you. He is so good! Look what we say this three times a day, every day all year long in the Modim prayer:
הטוב, כי לא כלו רחמיך והמרחם, כי לא תמו חסדיך
“Hashem, You are good, for Your mercy is endless, and You are merciful, for Your compassion is limitless.” If a person doesn’t believe this, then according to Isaiah the prophet, it’s the reason his or her prayers go unanswered. In Isaiah 29:13, he says, “The people come near with their mouths, and they honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far away from Me.” In other words, the mutter all kinds of words that they don’t even believe in.
Before prayer, we do a warmup. We remind ourselves of Hashem’s mercy before we pray. Take no blessing for granted. Ponder how each day of life, each breath and each heartbeat is a priceless gift. There are 3 particular points that we must review in our minds:
There’s a tremendous difference between asking something from someone who is totally merciful and in love with you, and between asking something from one of your superiors at work or from a politician. The latter normally won’t care about anyone other than him/herself.
Before we pray, we therefore have to strengthen ourselves with the emuna that Hashem loves us and that He has infinite mercy on us. This helps us to pray with happiness, with confidence, and with fervor. That’s the warmup that catapults our prayers straight up to the Heavenly throne. Every blessing, and may the Almighty grant all your heart’s wishes for the very best, amen!