Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Amidah - part 15 - Hear our Prayers

Here we pray for our prayers to be heard:

Hear our voice, L-rd our G‑d; merciful Father, have compassion upon us and accept our prayers in mercy and favor, for You are G‑d who hears prayers and supplications; do not turn us away empty-handed from You, our King, for You hear the prayer of everyone. Blessed are You L-rd, who hears prayer.

But if He  "hears the prayer of everyone",  why do we need to ask Him to "hear our voice"?

Well, we are asking for a good deal more than a "hearing":

* Compassion
* Acceptance
* Mercy
* Favor
* Do not turn us away empty-handed

2 ways to look at this: 

First, we acknowledge that any response by G*d is, in fact a response.  We have been heard.  Our requests may of may not find "favor" and "acceptance", but instead be met with "compassion" and "mercy".  Either way, we will not be "turned away empty-handed".

Second, we once again look at these blessings as instruction on how to live a G*dly life.  To listen to others as G*d listens to us.  We need not say "yes" to all requests that others make of us, but we should respond with some combination of these attitudes, so that the others are not "turned away empty-handed".  Our "No"'s should be tempered with compassion and mercy, and our "Yes"'es graced with acceptance and favor.


An aside: "Hear our voice" can be taken to remind us to pray out loud.  Prayers said in full voice have more impact than those merely thought inside our head.  Not because G*d will hear them better, but because we will.  When we say something out loud, we make a commitment to it and are more likely to act towards its fulfillment.  If we speak it out loud in a community, then the whole community holds each other accountable.

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