Quotes about Prayer

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Nothing is greater than the power of prayer.
     ~   Tanchuma, Bereisheet, Miketz

Make it a habit to be alone when you pray, expressing your thoughts before God each day. If all you can say is a single word, it is still very good. If you can say only one word, repeat it over and over again. Even if you spend many days repeating this word, it is also good. Repeat the word countless times. At some point, God will open your mouth so that you will be able to express yourself.

     ~  Rebbe Nachman of Bratslav, Likutay Etzot HaShem

Prayer inspired by fear is prayer, but it does not rise to the highest heights. That is reserved for prayer inspired by love.

     ~  the Zohar

God wants the heart.

     ~  Talmud, Sanhedrin 106b

The root of all prayer is a happy heart before God. It is for this reason that King David played the harp with all his prayers, in order to fill his heart with joy, in front of God.

     ~  Yehuda he-Chasid, Sefer Chasidim 18

All of us, especially in our modern, harried world, need moments when we can walk away from our burdens and commune with the vastness of the universe. In such a situation, we can come to understand that all the things we think to be of prime importance are really but ripples on the ocean of life. In moments like these, the soul is refreshed, and our perspective of life is enlarged. Comparable to the nature of this prayer moment is the comb we feel when we gaze at the sea for a period of time. The huge expanse of the water, the regularity of its movements, the limitless of the vision, soon brings us "out of ourselves", and the column of the sea, its power and stability, become part of us, and we become part of it. Gazing at a natural object like the sea, we can gain an insight into the calm and power of its Creator. As we think of the limitless power of our Creator… We empty ourselves of our miseries and take part of gods calm and power into ourselves.

     ~  Herbert M. Baumgard, Judaism and Prayer


Our prayers are not exercises in reading out loud. They express Jewish devotion, Jewish hope, you reaching out for God.   

     ~  Joseph H. Hertz, Daily Prayer Book

The main thing in prayer is the feeling of oneness with God, the passion with which one reaches out to God and studies Torah, and the attitude which is free of selfish motivation.

     ~  Ba'al Shem Tov

 

One time, the Tzartkover Rebbe did not give a dvar torah for a long time. He was asked why, and he replied: "there are 70 ways of speaking words of Torah. One of them is through silence."
Perhaps the Rebbe was trying to convey the thought that we teach best not by our exclamations, but by our examples, not by our lessons but by our lives.
If we can teach silently, we can also pray silently. We can praise in silence; we can make requests in silence; we can pray in silence.

     ~ Rabbi Sidney Greenberg, Likrat Shabbat

 

Prayer will not come about by default. It requires education, training, reflection, contemplation. It is not enough to join others; it is necessary to build a sanctuary within, brick by brick, instants of meditation, moments of devotion. This is particularly true in an age when overwhelming forces seem to conspire at destroying our ability to pray.

-Abraham Joshua Heschel

The Kozhnitzer Maggid entered the synagogue for morning prayers with holy emotion and joy, with a sefer Torah in his arms, and he danced one dance before the holy Ark; then he placed the sefer Torah in it. Then he danced another dance before the stand for the prayer leader, and his attendants placed candles in candelabra on it. That was where he sat and stood and prayed. But during the Amidah he jumped up on the table next to the prayer-stand and walked back and forth on it. Then after the Amidah he danced from the table down to the ground...

~ Yitzchak Buxbaum, Jewish Spiritual Practices, 151


 

Religion asks us to reopen parts of ourselves long closed. It seeks to remind us what it is to re-examine the world in order not just to understand things, but to cherish them. Faith in God begins in wonder about the world...

      ~ Rabbi David J. Wolpe, Teaching Your Children About God

 

 

Prayer is the search for silence within the noise. Life is so filled with tumult that we do not hear ourselves. Failing to hear the voice of our spirit, can we hear the voice of God?
There are voices that can only be heard in silence. The artist and thinker withdraw to proceed to create and meditate. The poet needs solitude to hear melodies of the soul. The solitary stroller in the woods hears music that would go unheard within noise. The silences of the night would lose their eloquence in the day. There are symphonies that are audible only duty on distracted and the silent.

     ~ Rabbi Morris Adler


Prayer is meaningless unless it is subversive, unless it seeks to overthrow and to ruin the pyramids of callousness, hatred, opportunism, falsehoods.

     ~  Abraham Joshua Heschel


Meditation and prayer before God is particularly powerful in grassy fields and among the trees, since the person's soul is strengthened that way, as if every blade of grass and every plant united with him in prayer.

     ~ Nachman ben Simcha

Every hour is the hour of prayer.
Every hut and forest is a house of God.
All that is necessary is that we pray with kavanna.
All that is necessary is that we pray with passion and sincerity.
All that is necessary is that we pray with joy in our hearts.

     ~ Baal Shem Tov


Before we begin to pray, we should accept on ourself the obligation to love our neighbor as ourself. When we keep in mind that we love everyone as much as we love ourselves, our prayers love and include everyone, and our prayers will be successful.  

     ~ Rabbi Isaac Luria


Make a habit of praying before God from the depths of your heart, using your own words, in whatever language you know best. Ask God to make you truly worthy of serving God. This is the essence of prayer.
     ~  Rebbe Nachman of Bratslav, Likutay Etzot HaShem

 

Rabbi Elazar made it a practice to recite a new prayer every day.
     ~ Talmud Yerushalmi, Brachot 4:3

Prayer should bring us a sense of relief from burden, and easing of the spirit, and exultation of the mind. It must be the result of a constant striving for close contact with the source of our being.  It must be a creative enterprise, marked by a perpetual search after new forms of expression.

     ~ Rabbi Robert Gordis, The Ladder of Prayer

Rabbi Ammi said:
A person's prayer is only accepted if they put their heart in their hands.

     ~ Talmud, Taanit 8a

 

The one who prays most directs the heart to each word that they say. It is like a person who walks in the garden collecting rare and precious flowers, plucking them one by one in order to put together a bouquet. That is like us -- we move from word to word and from page to page uniting the words into prayer.
     ~  Rebbe Nachman of Bratslav, Likutay Etzot HaShem