Watch your spiritual diet. A rabbi’s perspective on prayer!

Rabbi Naomi Levy is the founder and spiritual leader of Nashuva – “A Soulful Community of Prayer in Action” in Los Angeles.  The insightful and inspiring excerpt below, quoted with permission from her book Talking to God, strikes me as a great example of the clarity of articulation and healing focus that is brought to the world through the voice of women’s spiritual leadership.

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Why pray?

When I was a teenager, my girlfriends and I were often trying to diet. Our motto was: A moment on the lips is a lifetime on the hips. It meant that an act that took just an instant could remain with you forever. I like to apply this phrase to the process of prayer. A prayer takes just a matter of seconds to utter, but its influence in our lives, on our behavior, on our hearts, on our perceptions, can be permanent. A moment on our lips is a lifetime on our souls. A simple prayer can change us; can lead us on the path to healing ourselves and our world.

So pray. Pray for peace, pray for healing, pray for advances in science, pray for the strength to eradicate poverty and disease, pray for the courage to overcome injustice, pray for resolve, pray for others, pray for yourself. Pray to God with all your heart and soul, then gather up your might to meet the challenges that lie ahead.

Prayer is not a passive activity. Prayer alters us. It awakens us. Our eyes begin to notice beauty where we never noticed it before. Our hearts begin to feel compassion we never knew we had. Our priorities shift. As we talk to God, we receive the encouragement to live up to the potential inside us. Soon we start to see beyond ourselves into the world that is waiting for our help.

I believe God is listening. And I believe God answers us. God’s answer to our prayers may be very different from the answer we were searching for. God’s reply might come as the strength to fight on. It may come as the courage to face what we have been fearing. God’s answer may be the ability to accept what we have been denying. Or it may appear as hope in the face of despair. God is neither distant nor deaf. We are not alone. God is present in our lives. When we stop bargaining with God and start opening up our souls to God, our prayers suddenly start working. We can pray for strength and receive strength. Prayer is ultimately an experience, not a request. It is a sense of being connected, of being part of something larger than ourselves. It is an attempt to be in the presence of God.

–“by Rabbi Naomi Levy from her book Talking to God”

In kindred spirit to this, one of my all-time  favourite articulations on prayer is the following from Mary Baker Eddy’s “No and Yes”.  “True prayer is not asking God for love; it is learning to love, and to include all mankind in one affection. Prayer is the utilization of the love wherewith He loves us. Prayer begets an awakened desire to be and do good. It makes new and scientific discoveries of God, of His goodness and power. It shows us more clearly than we saw before, what we already have and are; and most of all, it shows us what God is. Advancing in this light, we reflect it; and this light reveals the pure Mind-pictures, in silent prayer, even as photography grasps the solar light to portray the face of pleasant thought.”

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Categories: Women's spiritual leadership

Author:Tony Lobl

I write and speak on spirituality from my perspective as a Christian Science practitioner. I am also an Associate Editor for the Christian Science periodicals. I studied at the University of Surrey earning a BSc Hons Degree in Modern Mathematics before the impact of spirituality on health caught my attention and re-shaped my career.

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2 Comments on “Watch your spiritual diet. A rabbi’s perspective on prayer!”

  1. Pamela Cook
    August 26, 2010 at 1:42 pm #

    Thank you for your post! I cannot resist sharing another tribute to women posted today, on Women’s Suffrage day, from your friends in the US!

    http://cscommitteeny.wordpress.com/

    With love,
    Pamela

  2. March 26, 2011 at 12:12 am #

    Oh. Wow! How truly, honestly, lovely and purely written! May your article light up many souls again with sincere utterance of truth. Keep posting and thank you kindly!

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