As the First Nine Weeks of the school year come to a close, so does my Tuesday morning prayer session. My class has been doing this with Dr. Mitzmacher instead of the regular service. We have been asked to reflect on this class, specifically the 5 reasons of why to pray and which ones we agree with. First, I will list the 5 reasons to pray:
1. Prayer as Self-Discipline- Prayer is an art and a skill. Just like any hobby, praying must be practiced often and worked to perfection. If praying is something that really matters to us and we care about it, then we will always do it. “Disciplining oneself to pray regularly is the only way to achieve that magnificent experience of emotionally fulfilling prayer.
2. Prayer as Self-Analysis and Ethical Consciousness Raising- “One of the tasks of prayer… is to push us from where we are (emotionally, intellectually, interpersonally) to where we ought to be.” Daily prayer helps us to do this. It trains us to do what we know is right, and fight for our beliefs. The self-analysis in prayer is comparing us to the laws, ethics, and morals that shape Judaism.
3. Prayer as the Link Between Individuals and the Community- As any Jew knows, without a minyan (group of 10 Jewish men), you can’t do most of the prayers. This law teaches us that Jews always have to stay together. Prayer services can be a time to meet, like having a meeting and then going to pray. In Judaism, the three prayer services can serve as important times for meetings and the such.
4. Prayer as a Response to the Wonder of Being Alive- “Perhaps the real secret of being able to pray is in retaining an almost childish sense of wonder and awe at the incredible fact of merely being alive.” Sometimes, we take advantage of the fact that we can wake up every day.
I’m sorry, but I forgot number 5. Anyway, I agree with number 4 the most. The first thing we’re supposed to do when we wake up is to say Modeh Ani. We thank G-d for letting us wake up again.