Imagine that your child asks for an apple. He has behaved so well all day, and you feel relieved that he did not ask for candy. He is not screaming or nagging. He is well-mannered, saying please and thank you. It has been a few hours since breakfast, so he is likely to be hungry. It is within your power to provide this healthy snack. Would you enjoy granting his request? Hashem feels that way even more intensely than we can imagine. He wants to grant us as much joy as we can receive. He only waits for us to ask. We may desire things which are not good for us, and He is loath to grant those. Regardless, Hashem eagerly waits for our prayers.
My son gave me a wonderful pocket-size book, called Living Emunah – Achieving a Life of Serenity Through Faith by Rabbi David Ashear, published by ArtScroll. It has short lessons which teach us how to incorporate emunah (simple faith) into our daily lives. The author designed it to be studied a little bit each day, to help transform our lives into a less anxious, more relaxed experience. One insight (Chapter 52) examined Moshe Rabbeinu’s speech impediment. Because of this disability, Moshe’s brother, Aaron, became the spokesman to Pharoah. The Ramban asks why Hashem did not just heal Moshe’s impediment instead. The answer is astounding in its simplicity. Moshe never asked Hashem to heal him. That lesson is so profound. The Ramban holds that Hashem was ready, willing, and able to cure Moshe Rabbeinu’s inability to speak, had He only been asked. For how many issues, problems, and even minor things in our lives do we fail to ask Hashem for help? They say there are no atheists in foxholes. Must we wait until our lives are in danger to ask for and depend upon Hashem’s aid? Wouldn’t it be great if we were to ask Him to assist us in finding a parking spot on a crowded street when we are coming home from a tiring day at work? Would we feel foolish asking for every single thing, or can we train ourselves to truly believe that Hashem desires our prayers, that everything is within His purview, and that this is what He really desires?
The book goes through all sorts of reasons why we might feel reluctant to reach out to Hashem with so many minor requests. We may feel unworthy, or that we do not want to bother Him with our day to day needs. Perhaps we do not want to incur more debt to Hashem or to reduce our merits by asking for insignificant items. Rabbi Ashear picks apart every excuse to show why these reasons are invalid. Some border on the absurd. If we would focus on strengthening our bond with our Father in Heaven, then our lives would be worry free. This would allow us to fulfill our purpose, to serve Him with everything we are and all we have. It is all about having faith in Him to resolve every difficulty that arises in our lives, and not to waste a moment on worrying. In fact, the amount of Divine aid we are granted is directly proportional to the amount of faith and trust we invest in Hashem.
I do not suggest that our entire relationship with Hashem should consist of making requests. Rather, as I continue to learn from and review this valuable book, I understand that the dialogue between man and G-d extends well beyond formalized prayer. He is there for us day and night to listen to everything that is on our minds. He only asks that we have faith in Him that everything He does is for our benefit, and that we trust Him in all matters, big and small. This idea can have a profound effect on our prayers as we enter into the High Holy Days. We can renew our connection to Hashem and evolve to a new level of closeness to Him. I encourage you to order this book, to learn from it daily, and to let me know how it changes your life.