|Hear, O God, what is just; |
Heed my cry, give ear to my prayer.
It is You who light my candle;
- Psalm 18:29
I have called on Your name, O [God],
- Lamentations 3:55-56
From the beginning of the Hebrew month of Elul - one month before Rosh Hashanah - and all the way through the holiday of Sukkot, traditional Jews add Psalm 27 to their daily prayers. One would think that, chosen for this season of repentance, the Psalm would focus on human shortcomings and our resolve to do better in the coming year/s. But, as you will see, the focus of Psalm 27 is confidence and security in the shelter of the Almighty (however one may understand these notions), an intimate relationship of care and protection. Read it through and see which phrases or ideas resonate for you; consider revisiting the Psalm, with some regularity, alone or with close ones, during this season of Return and Response. Perhaps it will trigger your own creative writing effort to articulate your deepest prayers. It will certainly link you to a community and a tradition of support, faith, affirmation, and hope.
(Adapted from Rabbi Simkha Y. Weintraub)
Adonai is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear?
(Translated by Rabbi Simkha Y. Weintraub)
Difficulty of Prayer
I have always found prayer difficult. So often it seems like a fruitless game of hide-and-seek where we seek and God hides…Yet I cannot leave prayer alone for long. My need drives me to God. And I have a feeling that God has God's own reasons for hiding, and that finally all my seeking will prove infinitely worthwhile. And I am not sure what I mean by "finding." Some days my very seeking seems a kind of "finding." And, of course, if "finding" means the end of "seeking," it were better to go on seeking.
(Leslie D. Weatherhed, Gates of Prayer, CCAR, 1975, page 3)
A Prayer for Prayer:
O My God
I need to close out the noise
In the silence of my innermost being,
Please listen to my call-
(Rabbi Sheldon Zimmerman)