“ . . . and call on me in the day of trouble;
    I will deliver you, and you will honor me.
” — Psalm 50:15

Prayer in Judaism is defined as “the work of the heart,” which profoundly changes the nature of prayer from one of entreating God to an act that transforms who we are – not what God does. Our devotions throughout this month are focused on different facets of prayer and what lessons we can learn about the power of our prayers. For more inspirational teachings about prayer, download our free booklet, The Work of the Heart.

If you’ve ever had to ask for help, you know that it isn’t an easy thing to do. We worry about bothering someone else with our problems. We are apprehensive about becoming a burden. When it comes to human beings, the more we ask for help, the more burdensome we become. However, when it comes to God, the exact opposite is true.

The more we ask for God’s help, the more we delight Him. The Jewish sages put it this way: “The Holy One, Blessed be He, makes a crown for Himself from the prayers of Israel.” A king is glorified by his crown; it adds to his kingship. In the same way, our prayers, as lowly as they may be, add to the glory of God’s Kingdom.

Since the dawning of time, God has desired our prayers. The Bible teaches us that on the sixth day of creation, just before the creation of man, “ . . . no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the LORD God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground” (Genesis 2:5). 

Even though plants had been created on the third day of creation, they remained hidden underground. God did not send the rain in order to cause the plants to grow. Why? Because “there was no one to work the ground.” Man had not yet been created. There was no one to appreciate the rain and no one to pray for the rain. God waited for Adam to be created so that he might pray for rain, and then God sent it in abundance.

Now, God could have brought the rain on day three. God could have brought Adam and Eve into a perfect world. However, God wanted something even greater: the perfection of humanity, and He knew that righteous human beings could only emerge by having a relationship with Him. Through prayer, that relationship is born and nourished throughout a lifetime.

In Psalm 50, God gives a direct invitation to pray to Him in times of need: “and call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you will honor me.” God wants us to ask for His help. He wants us to build a relationship with Him.

Today, pray to God not just once, but all day long. In this way, God will deliver us from our troubles while we bring glory to His Kingdom.

To download a free copy of Rabbi Eckstein’s newest teaching resource on prayer, Work of the Heart: Ten Biblical Lessons on the Power of Prayer, go here.

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