Gaining Perspective - By Abraham Joshua Heschel

Prayer is a perspective from which to behold, from which to respond to, the challenges we face. [Humans] in prayer do not seek to impose their will upon God; they seek to impose God's will and mercy upon themselves. Prayer is necessary to make us aware of our failures, backsliding, transgressions, sins.

Taken from Inward/Outward 

Sitting at lunch the other day, the young woman was deeply disturbed by the news she heard coming from a voice through her iPhone.  She stopped looking at her computer and set it to sleep.  She hung up the phone, her eyes watered over like slightly like one staring at a computer screen for too long.  The half eaten sandwich no longer was appealing as she stood to leave, almost forgetting her over-sized purse which now she feels she overpaid for.  Walking to the door toward her car, she makes it halfway and sits at a table outside the cafe paralyzed.

"Are you okay?" I asked.

Looking up at me with a look in her eyes as though she was looking through her relationship Rolodex to recognized who was asking.  Unable to identify any connection she replies, "My friend is dying.  I do not know what to do."  

"My name is Jason and if you do not mind me asking, what is your friend's first name?"


When I I asked if it would be okay to her if I prayed for Sandra, she looked at me with a very quizzical look as though I had stopped speaking English and began speaking German.  

I am not sure why she looked puzzled when I asked, perhaps because it is a stranger making the request or maybe she does not pray or "believe in that sort of stuff."  Or maybe she has been taught that prayer is something you do to ask God to do something (such as heal someone) and that never "works".  I do not know.  

What I do know is that I understand prayer in the spirit of Heschel - I seek to impose the Mercy and Grace of God onto the human situation.  I do not pray that Sandra's illness he cured (while I hope it is), I pray for God's Grace to be imposed upon Sandra, this young woman and me.