Would you like to know a secret to having your prayers answered in this year? Rosh Hashanah, the headquarters for new blessings for the coming year will soon be upon us. This message is particularly for those of us who have been praying for the soul mate, for greater livelihood, for more vibrant heath year after year. Do prayers make a difference? How do we really change? How can we pray and what can we do to draw down the blessings we truly seek in this upcoming year? How do we really change to become better people?
You do not have to pay thousands of dollars for this Jewish secret for it is repeated openly numerous times in the Rosh Hashanah prayer book. If you are to employ this secret for personal transformation effectively, it will cost you in the currency of spiritual toil. You will have to change your life, become a more loving person and do things differently than before. You know that the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over again and expect a different result. In this upcoming year, make a commitment for real personal change.
The prescription for personal transformation that I will reveal to you is guaranteed to change you even if your prayers for what you want are not answered in the way you want. It won’t matter so much because you will be a different person. You will be more authentic, more real, more vulnerable, more in touch with who you really are. And most likely, your prayers will be answered just as you want them to be.
There are many secrets to having one’s prayers answered. We will focus on only one secret revealed in the story of Chana. Every Rosh Hashanah, we read about Chana. Not only because her prayers to bear a son were answered on Rosh Hashanah but because Chana’s life story inspires us to call out more powerfully and authentically on this most auspicious day of blessing. Just like Chana, we too can change ourselves and our destiny.
Who was Chana? Chana was one of the seven ancient prophetesses who is regarded as a role model for prayer for both men and women for all times. Chana lived in the time period before the Holy Temple in Jerusalem was built. At the time, it was customary to journey to Shiloh, where the holy tabernacle rested to make sacrificial offerings. Chana would journey there annually with her husband to pray for a child. It was in Shiloh that Chana’s prayers were answered. Upon witnessing one of her prayer sessions, Eli the Prophet first accused her of being drunk because she moved her lips in pleading with God. After hearing her speak of the pain in her heart, Eli then blessed her with a child.
Like many of us, Chana’s prayers for a child were not answered immediately. When Chana had been infertile for more than ten years, her husband, at Chana’s suggestion, took a second wife Peninah, who quickly bore him ten sons in eight years. Rather than be grateful to Chana, Peninah ridiculed her for her barrenness. This cruelty on the part of Peninah was actually a blessing for it inspired Chana to pray more boldly and continuously than before.
Chana did not pray quietly for a child, nor did she surrender gracefully to her fate. Our prayers need not be quiet nor passive either. Chana felt all her feelings and channeled the negative emotions of anger, bitterness and even jealousy to strengthen and deepen her connection with the Holy One. She debated God. “What are the breasts that you placed on my heart if not for nursing. Give me a son.” With holy chutzpah, she demanded that God give her a son. She even threatened to play the adulterous women. When a woman in her time was suspected of adultery, she would be brought to the priests and ordered to drink a special potion. If she was guilty she would die instantly a painful death. If she was innocent, she would be blessed with a child.
Yet, it was only when Chana entered into a partnership with God that her prayers were answered. Through her constant beseeching, Chana spiritually grew and became worthy of bearing the child she was destined to bear. She realized what a true mother in Israel was. In the deal Chana proposed to God, she surrendered her holy son after his weaning to the prophet Eli to raise as a prophet. Her son Shmuel became one of the primary prophets for all time. After bearing Shmuel, Chana was blessed with five more sons.
Like Chana, we have to get in touch with what we really want to birth into this world. We have to continually pray to God for this so deeply that we let go of pretense, resistance and feelings of unworthiness that may have previously limited us from previously fulfilling our soul purpose. Most importantly, we have to enter into a partnership with God and become more loving, more generous and more aligned with Divine Will. God is the ultimate giver. Therefore to attract more Godliness to us we must become greater givers. It is only in this way that we become worthy of receiving greater blessings into our lives. Finally our last step is to be like Chana and make God an offer that cannot be refused.
Judaism teaches us that the blessings for marriage, for children, for livelihood, for health all come from God even though we must do our part to be worthy to receive them. It may be another secret but when we make a sincere offering to God, God rewards us beyond our wildest dreams and hopes. When we pray for the Jewish people, for Israel, for the rebuilding of the Holy Temple, we attract more blessing to us. Once we have energetically established a partnership with God, we need to have have faith that our prayers will be answered. So buy that wedding dress or that baby carriage!
May our wonderful prayers for ourselves, our loved ones, for the Jewish people and the world be answered in this coming year. Amen
Melinda Ribner, a teacher of Jewish meditation and a spiritual psychotherapist who uses meditation as part of therapy ( a formerly New York State licensed L.C.S.W.) for more than 30 years, is the author of The Secret Legacy of Biblical Women: Revealing the Divine Feminine, New Age Judaism, Biblical Women Who Changed the World and three other books. ( See Amazon) Subscribe to her free newsletter firstname.lastname@example.org or www.kabbalahoftheheart.com