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Fact: G-d is active in our lives whether we choose to acknowledge it or not.If, through our free will, we seek to know our Creator and to be in a relationship with Him, we will comprehend Him to the degree allowed by our emunah (active faith/trust) and deveikut (our attachment to him). If we seek Him an angel will be dispatched to assist us. It is our choice.
Fact: HaShem often intercedes when people join together in tifilla ("prayer") individually or collectively.
Fact: Sometimes He answers yes, sometimes He answers no. Both are good answers.
The Holy One has done so in my life more times than I can possibly recount. I speak from experience here. G-d is active in our lives when we invite His participation. Everything He does is for our ultimate good.
Tifilla is one of the essential ways we connect with HaShem. It is His great pleasure to receive and to answer our prayers as the Holy Scriptures and our Chassidic teachers make very clear. Here's a few of many examples.
An angel of the Lord is stationed around those who fear Him, and He saved them.
Comprehend and see that the Lord is good; praiseworthy is the man who takes shelter in Him -- Psalm 34:8,9Judges 4:3 And the children of Israel cried to the LordIF we cry out unto Him! IF "My people who are called by My Name will humble themselves and prayer..." So much of this we do through tifilla or prayer.2 Chronicles 20:4-15 "And the Judeans gathered to seek help of the Lord; also from all the cities of Judah they came to seek the Lord...When the Jews and others who desire to know HaShem gather together in prayer, singularly or collective, and bring Him due praises for what He has already done, He hears our petitions and acts according to our best interests. Then we can have faith and assurance in His guidance and protection. When our will is harmonious with G-d's Will we succeed because 'who can oppose the Will of HaShem? Through tifilla we come into every closer harmony with His Will.
And he said, "O Lord, God of our fathers, is it not so that You are God in heaven, and that You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations, and in Your hand is strength and might, and no one can stand with You?...
And all the Judeans stood before the Lord, also their infants, their wives, and their children...
And he said, "Hearken, all Judeans, inhabitants of Jerusalem, and King Jehoshaphat, so said the Lord to you: You shall not fear, neither shall you be dismayed because of this great multitude, for the war is not yours but God's.1 Samuel 12:8 When Jacob came to Egypt, and your forefathers cried out to the Lord, the Lord sent Moses and Aaron, and they brought your forefathers out of Egypt, and they made them dwell in this place.Egypt references all places of darkness and despair. Regardless of the Egypt in which we find ourselves there is also an anointing prepared to lead us through and out of it. This anointing is symbolized by Aaron and Moshe. This anointing has ever been with our people and it continues to guide those who choose to follow it. Our complete For our complete redemption we await HaMashiach, the coming Anointed Ruler, but the spirit of anointing has been with us always and it is triggered through tehillim.Psalms 4:2 When I call, answer me, O God of my righteousness; in my distress You have relieved me, be gracious to me and hearken to my prayer.IF we call upon HaShem through tifilla! The power of Hitbodedut is available for everyone.
Hitbodedut is the practice of self-seclusion, isolation with HaShem. During Hitbodedut one communes directly with HaShem in one's own words. It is not time to recite beautiful rote prayers or poetry nor even to study Torah. Instead, we come before HaShem as we are, out of sincere hearts, in our own words, in our native language, and we plead for His mercy and instruction, for His forgiveness and direction, for His loving kindnesses. At times we may scream, or whisper, clap our hands, dance, kneel, bow, lie prostrate before Him, sob or exalt all in His presence as sons and daughters communing with our Father. Just like a child speaking with an understanding and loving parent.Pray with great strength, putting all your power into the words of your prayers.
You must force yourself to pray. Some people say that a person should not force himself to pray, but the opposite is true. You must force yourself to put all your strength into your prayers.
True devotion is to bind the thought to the word, focusing your mind on the words of the prayers by listening and paying careful attention to what you are saying. This way your inner power will enter your prayers automatically.
All your inner power waits for the moment when it is drawn into words of holiness. When you focus your thoughts on what you are saying, this power rushes forth into the words. Simply pay attention to the words and your inner power will enter your prayers without your having to force it -- Sichot Haran #66
Our sages (such as Rebbe Nachman of Breslov) recommend that we spend at least one hour a day in this sort of prayer. If not an hour, do what you can. "A little is also good" as Rebbe Nachman assures us. The important thing is to invest time with our Heavenly Parent each and every day.
Rebbe Nachman of blessed memory was a great master of Hitbodedut. Through his teachings we can enter into the presence of HaShem, increase our faith (emuna) and draw ever closer to Him. Hitbodedut is one of the secrets to living a truly spiritual, meaningful, and happy life.Prayer helps for everything. Even if a person is unable to study Torah, he will be able to do so if he prays for it. Everything good can be attained through prayer: Torah, devotion, holiness... everything good in all the worlds! Amen -- Likutey Moharan II, 111
Hitbodedut is not hard. You don't need to speak Hebrew, memorize a lot prayers, you don't need a degree in religion... you don't even need to be Jewish! All you need is the desire to draw closer to our Creator. This practice will bless you and thereby bless others!Never insist on anything in your prayers. Ask for what you want as a request. If God grants it, He will grant it. And if not, then not!Everyone is a Child of the Creator and hence everyone is precious in His eyes! No matter who you are, whether Jew or Gentile, YOU MATTER! And you can take advantage of personal prayer according to your current level of understanding and devotion. Hitbodedut is for everyone.
Regardless of what you need - livelihood, children or anything else - it is forbidden to insist stubbornly that God should fulfil exactly what you are asking for, because this is like taking something by force: it is a kind of robbery. Just pray and entreat God for kindness and mercy -- Likutey Moharan I, 20; 196Psalm 5:2-8 Give ear to my words, O Lord; consider my meditation.Ask G-d to help you pray more effectively. Ask Him to hear your prayers and to respond. Do this from the heart, from your soul, with all the kavanah or intention you can muster. Prayer should be "real" and from the heart. Pour out your heart before HaShem. Ponder your words that they are true. Cry before Him with tears and feeling, with praises and with joy. Share your concerns, your fears, and ask for His active help and protection. Bow before Him both figuratively and literally with the highest degree of emunah (active faith and trust) that you can muster.
Hearken to the voice of my cry, my King and my God, for I will pray to You.
O Lord, in the morning You shall hearken to my voice; in the morning I shall arrange [my prayer] to You, and I shall look forward.
For You are not a God Who desires wickedness; evil does not abide with You.
Confused people shall not stand before Your eyes; You hate all workers of iniquity...
But I, with Your great loving-kindness, shall enter Your House; I shall prostrate myself toward Your Holy Temple in the fear of You.Psalm 28:1-9 Of David. To You, O Lord, I call. My Rock, do not be deaf to me, lest You be silent to me, and I will be likened to those who descend into the Pit.Is there something amiss? Are there "secret" or open sins separating you from HaShem? Tell Him about these! Be very frank about them and about whatever influences they continue to hold over you. Hold nothing back! Acknowledge that perhaps these sins has pushed Him away from you and ask Him to return and to restore the relationship you once shared and moreover, to make that relationship ever stronger and better! Don't commune with the Holy One only during your times of seclusion, invite Him in with intention to your consciousness moment by moment so that He is always actively present with you. Not sure how to do this? Ask Him!
Hearken to the voice of my supplications when I cry out to You, when I lift my hands towards Your Holy Sanctuary.
Do not cause me to be drawn with the wicked or with those who work iniquity, who speak peace with their friends but evil is in their heart...
Blessed is the Lord, for He has heard the voice of my supplication.
The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him and I was helped; my heart rejoiced and I will thank Him with my song.
Psalm 30:9 To You, O Lord, I would call, and to the Lord I would supplicate.
"What gain is there in my blood, in my descent to the grave? Will dust thank You; will it recite Your truth?
Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me; O Lord, be my helper."
You have turned my lament into dancing for me; You loosened my sackcloth and girded me with joy.
So that my soul will sing praises to You and not be silent. O Lord, my God, I will thank You forever.Psalm 85:4-7 Return us, O God of our salvation and revoke Your anger with us.Do not pray only for yourself. Seek HaShem's mercy for your loved ones, for your friends, your school, your community, nation and the world! And especially pray for Israel and for Jerusalem. Prayer has great power! Pray for the Peace of Jerusalem!
Will You be wroth with us forever? Will You extend Your anger to generation after generation?
Will You not return and revive us so that Your people will rejoice with You?
Show us, O Lord, Your kindness, and Your salvation You shall give to us.
I shall hear what God will speak when He speaks peace to His people and to His pious men, and they will not return to folly.Psalm 107:2-20 Those redeemed by the Lord shall say it, those whom He redeemed from the hands of an oppressor...Speak it aloud! Speak your prayers audibly! Sing His praises! Exalt His Glory! And when more appropriate speak your prayers quietly, in hushed whispers or even in the complete inner silence of your mind. HaShem hears! HaShem responds!
Hungry as well as thirsty, their soul enwraps itself in them.
And they cried out to the Lord in their distress; from their straits He rescued them.
And He led them on a straight road, to go to an inhabited city.
They shall give thanks to the Lord for His kindness, and for His wonders to the children of men...
And they cried out to the Lord in their distress; from their straits He saved them.
He took them out of darkness and the shadow of death, and He broke open their bonds....
And they cried out to the Lord in their distress; from their straits He saved them.
He sent His word and healed them, and extricated them from their pit.Psalm 130:1-2 A song of ascents. From the depths I have called You, O Lord.If you will live your life more righteously as revealed in the Torah and in the writings of our sages like the BESHT, Rebbe Nachman of Breslov and so many others you will enhance HaShem's replies and His blessings. Seek a righteous life and righteousness will rain down up you.
O Lord, hearken to my voice; may Your ears be attentive to the voice of my supplications.
Psalm 142:1-7 O God, if You keep [a record of] iniquities, O Lord, who will stand?
For forgiveness is with You, in order that You be feared.
Psalms 145: 1-21 A praise of David. I shall exalt You, my God the King, and I shall bless Your name forever and ever.
Every day I shall bless You, and I shall praise Your name forever and ever....
The Lord is near to all who call Him, to all who call Him with sincerity.
He does the will of those who fear Him, and He hears their cry and saves them.
The Lord guards all who love Him, and He destroys all the wicked.
My mouth will speak the praise of the Lord, and all flesh will bless His holy name forever and ever.Proverbs 15:29 The Lord is far from the wicked, but He listens to the prayer of the righteous."What people do at the end, I want you to do at the very outset. People usually pray when they see that all other means have failed. But you should pray at the very outset, when trouble first strikes" -- Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, Siach Sarfey Kodesh 1-293
Jeremiah 33:2,3 So said the Lord, the Maker thereof, Who formed it to prepare it; the Lord is His Name.
Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and strong things that you do not know.
Jonah 2:2-3,11 And Jonah prayed to the Lord his God, from the belly of the fish.
And he said: I called out from my distress to the Lord, and He answered me; from the belly of the grave I cried out, You heard my voice... And the Lord said to the fish, and it spewed Jonah onto the dry land.
There are so very many texts that stress the importance of prayer. Rebbe Nachman's "Great Remedy" is praying certain of the Psalms with kavanah (intention). These are as follows:
Rebbe Nachman's Remedy:
Rebbe Nachman of Breslov further teaches:What people do at the end, I want you to do at the very outset. People usually pray when they see that all other means have failed. But you should pray at the very outset, when trouble first strikes -- Siach Sarfey Kodesh 1-293
Prayer is the root of all attachment and devotion to God. Prayer is the gate through which we approach God, and through prayer we may come to know Him -- Likutey Moharan II, 84
The Misnagdim (opponents of the Chassidim) say that the main thing is to study Torah. The Chassidim say the main thing is prayer. But I say: Pray and study and pray -- Siach Sarfey Kodesh 1-87
Prayer helps for everything. Even if a person is unable to study Torah, he will be able to do so if he prays for it. Everything good can be attained through prayer: Torah, devotion, holiness... everything good in all the worlds! Amen -- Likutey Moharan II, 111
The secret of prayer is to be bold. We must have the audacity to ask God for everything we need - even if we need to ask Him to work miracles for us. Only with boldness and daring can we stand up and pray to God.
When we consider God's utter greatness - if we can form any conception of it at all - and think of our own smallness and worthlessness, how can we stand up and pray before Him? Even so, when we pray, we must cast our timidity aside and boldly ask God for everything we need. Only with bold assertiveness can we overcome the obstacles and barriers that stand in the way of our service of God -- Likutey Moharan I, 30
If a dead person were allowed back into this world to pray, he would definitely pray most beautifully, with all his strength -- Likutey Moharan II, 111
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