daily life

In the past we've written about the importance of focusing on today, especially with regard to overcoming your yetzer hara. [see: bet your bottom dollar on today]

Today (no pun intended) I'd like to mention a few words about using today as a way to focus and intensify your prayers. [And through your prayers, to intensify and focus your relationship with HaShem.]

As is known, Chazal (our Rabbis, their memories should be a blessing) refer to prayer as the life of the moment. (חיי שעה) Primarily this reference is to draw contrast between prayer and Torah study, which is referred to as the life of forever. (חיי עולם) But, this definition of prayer as the life of the moment can help us in our attempt to pray with real focus and feeling.

In modern culture, prayer is seen as a last-ditch attempt that at worst can't hurt. We see this in the football play (l'havdil elef havdalot) "hail mary." Or the expression "he hasn't got a prayer [of a chance.]" We conceive of prayer as something that cannot be relied upon, [but won't hurt.]

Exactly the opposite is true: prayer is the best channel available to us to effect positive change in our lives.

Even in the midst of an earnest prayer, we lose hope when we ask for something that seems (to our limited conception of reality) 'far-fetched.' It feels like asking someone on the street for a million dollars, but rolling your eyes at the absurdity of the act. The moment we believe that we aren't deserving of HaShem's intervention, or that maybe we should ask for something less as it stands a better chance of being granted, we're falling into the trap of the yetzer hara.

More than that, we are more willing to pray for big rewards that will arrive further down the road -- subconsciously we do this to avoid being let down when we don't receive what we asked for -- if we asked for a wonderful new job today, and it didn't happen, it would seem like God isn't listening, and we're affraid He might not be.

This is like not pursuing a relationship out of fear of rejection. It's not news to anyone, I know, but you can't get someone to fall in love with you without first taking risks. Same thing with God, you are building a relationship and if you don't trust in HaShem, you aren't letting that relationship grow.

My advice to you: Focus on today. When you pray, ask for what you need today. Then ask for what you want today. [Don't forget to thank God for what you have today as well.]

As you progress, don't progress to tomorrow or longer periods of time, instead progress to greater expectations from today and you will not only reveal God's presence in every moment of your life, you will also develop a wonderfully deep and personal relationship.

Don't make the mistake of thinking you can wait till tomorrow to pursue this relationship. HaShem created the world in such a way that it's virtually impossible not to get to the world to come, (later if not sooner) but the relationship you build while in this world, is the relationship that will persist in the world to come as well --

Don't get stuck in the world to come with only "hail marys" to rely on.


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