At the moment I went to my synagogue and prayed, however to not a better energy from whom I anticipate one thing. I do that each week and consider I’ll proceed to take action sooner or later.
If prayer have been merely a communication between me and a deity, then this act of mine is senseless. Prayer is certainly communication, however in my case, not between myself and God. The phrase “communication” in English is said etymologically to the phrase “group,” and once I pray, I achieve this in a group context, along with different individuals who share lots of my values and aspirations.
Once I sing with my group, our voices rise in concord (OK, that basically depends upon who’s singing). We announce to ourselves and the world our communal hopes for a greater life, for the therapeutic of the sick and for cover from evil intentions.
The frequent denominator uniting a lot of our prayer and the prayer of different communities is that a lot of what we communicate of is past our energy as people, and might solely be completed by way of a concerted communal effort. By praying, we validate these communal aspirations and provides ourselves power to proceed.
Be part of a choir, chances are you’ll retort. A minimum of once you sing in a choir, you don’t must say phrases you don’t imply to imaginary beings couched in patriarchal language and reflecting antiquated values.
Patriarchal language isn’t needed
Let me provide a rebuttal, my pal. Once I pray, I strive very arduous to make use of solely phrases that I imply. I’m an ardent advocate of liturgical innovation and have been writing poetry and prayer for nearly 20 years.
My prayer isn’t directed to God, it’s not couched in patriarchal language and it doesn’t advocate for a price system that I don’t settle for. It does, nevertheless, use Biblical and Rabbinic Hebrew and is structured in the identical approach my foremothers and fathers have prayed for generations.
That is what makes it Jewish prayer, the construction and the language; the content material modifications as a result of we as a individuals change. If I’d come from a Christian or Muslim background, the emotions and values I expressed can be the identical, however the language and construction would mirror a Muslim or Christian upbringing.
This doesn’t adhere to the basic definition of prayer as per the Merriam-Webster, chances are you’ll counter; it’s simply your Panglossian need to search out frequent floor with spiritual individuals.
A transcendent increased energy
Whereas it’s true that the majority definitions of prayer contain supplication to a transcendent increased energy, I’d counter that that is current in a approach in my prayer as properly. My ‘transcendent increased energy’ is definitely the abstracted will of humanity to behave on the planet.
My prayer and music, my sincerity, my need to vary what’s not working and my enchantment to one thing greater than me are all remarkably just like what you’ll discover in church buildings, mosques and synagogues everywhere in the world.
I do consider that heartfelt prayer is likely one of the issues that religions acquired proper. Some in my group, nevertheless, will not be snug with using the phrase ‘prayer’ as a result of it’s too spiritual for a bunch of principally secular and cultural Jews. They like to name it one thing else, equivalent to meditations or declarations, and I respect that.
I, nevertheless, have all the time tried to deal with what brings us collectively, and I feel this mode of expression is a type of issues, so I really feel we shouldn’t quibble about nomenclature.
There are individuals, although, who pray to a deity for belongings you and I’d discover offensive, and infrequently, they imply what they are saying. Generally, it’s no stepping-stone to raised issues; generally, they pray to crush individuals beneath their ft, they usually actually want to crush their enemies beneath their ft.
The one factor I can say, concerning these individuals and their prayer, is that I hope their needs don’t come true. Prayer isn’t inherently good or evil, it’s merely a mode of expression, and human beings can use it as a conduit for no matter they want.
I pray based on a construction and in a language dictated by my custom and my free-thinking beliefs. I pray for peace, the tip of poverty and the tip of starvation. I pray that you just pray for good.
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