“You shall have no foreign god among you;
    you shall not worship any god other than me.
I am the Lord your God,
    who brought you up out of Egypt. 
Open wide your mouth and I will fill it.
” — Psalm 81:9-10

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.

True Story: A friend of mine was feeling pretty down one day when she had one of those encounters with a human being that leaves you feeling like you’ve really had an exchange with a messenger from God. She was filling up her car at a gas station that she hardly ever goes to when a homeless man named Daniel approached her.

Daniel handed her a rose that he had made from palm fronds that he was carrying on his back and said, “If you have a dollar I’d appreciate it. If you don’t because you only have a credit card, it’s ok, it's yours.” My friend didn’t have a dollar so she took out a twenty and folded it up so he wouldn't see what it was. Somehow, even folded, Daniel knew that it was more than a dollar.

He said, “You know, The Almighty takes care of my needs. I never have to ask for my needs, but if I want something I have to ask. Today I asked for a bath and a place to sleep, because I didn’t have either last night. And then He sent me you.”

In Psalm 81, verses 9-10, King David shares with us the secret to getting what we want. These verses can be broken down into three main ideas. Firstly, “You shall have no foreign god . . . ” Don’t think that anything or anybody in the world can help you like God can.  Don’t worship money or human beings because it seems that they run the show. Nothing and no one is more powerful than God. Period.

Secondly, “I am the Lord . . . who brought you out of Egypt.” Not only is the Lord the most powerful source in the universe, He is willing and able to wield His power on your behalf. Just as He rescued the Jewish people from Egypt, He can and will help you out, too.

Finally, “Open your mouth wide and I will fill it.” Once you put your faith in God, all you have to do is open your mouth in prayer and ask Him for what you want. And if what you ask for is in your best interest, He will fill your request with joy and love in exactly the right time.

God wants our prayers. Of course He knows what we need and what we want, but when we ask Him for it, we recognize that He is the source of all. Once we do that, we become deserving of our request.

So ask away. There is nothing too big or too small. And may we be blessed, like Daniel, to know what it is that we truly need and really desire.

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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