KJ Hannah Greenberg

Prayer as a Gift from Hashem

When we pray, we are awarded HaKadosh Baruch Hu’s hugs, validation, and assistance. All of these beneficences are vital to our well-being.

First, we draw closer to Hashem through prayer. In acknowledging and revering Him, we reinforce our ties to Him. We need The Almighty. Because we are a segment of Creation, it’s implicit that He desires us, too.

G-d needs every one of us. We are here because we have something to do for Him and for His world. He has only our hands, feet, hearts, minds, souls, and voices. G-d needs my prayer, my heart, my truth, my mitzvah, my conviction, my commitment, and my passion. G-d needs us just as we need G-d. G-d is looking for ordinary people to do extraordinary work (Jacobson).

Chanah Weisberg, editor of Chabad’s The Jewish Women, adds, in “Growing Your Love,” that [i]n a healthy marriage…the love between spouses must deepen and grow, or the relationship is at risk of becoming static and stale…This is true with our [‘]marriage[’] to G‑d as well. It is not enough for our relationship to remain in [‘]default mode,[’] with the knowledge, in the background, that G‑d is always there for us when we really need Him.

That is, we must extend ourselves to Kadosh Yisrael. As Rabbi Maurice Lamm outlines, in “Day to Day Judaism: Prayer;” “[w]e simply cannot force God to come before people; people need to intrude themselves before God. The Yiddish word for prayer, davenen, derives bfrom the French devant ’before,’ as in ‘Know before Whom you stand.’”

Hashem produced us. He wants us to turn to him. He wants us to render Him our King of Kings. Through prayer, we can welcome Him.

Second, beyond strengthening our association with Hashem, our prayers sustain us. Prayer endows us with all manner of goodness whether we pray for other people’s essentials or for our own.

When praying for others’ advantage, Rabbi Mayer Twersky reminds us, in “The Need for Tefillah,” that the selflessness of such prayers elevates us. Rabbi Twersky wrote that Reb Aryeh Levine discussed a man who accompanied his wife[,] who was experiencing pain in her knee[,] to a doctor. Explaining the reason for the visit he told the doctor, “our knee hurts.” [He] experienced his wife’s [and other people’s] needs as his own. [Such] empathetic experience… allows us to daven on behalf of others.”

After all, continues Rabbi Twersky, Rambam teaches us that it is compassion that enables us to daven on others’ behalf.

[I]n order to pray one must experience [others’] need. One must feel needy, dependent. It does not suffice for a person to know intellectually that he has tzrochim (needs). He must feel those needs in order to daven (hu tzarich lahein) for this is an indispensable element of prayer. [T]efillah must emanate from a sense of need. If one does not experience [others’] need, he can not pray [for them.]

Praying for others’ mazel raises us. The same, praying for our own welfare bears us aloft. Prayers  for personal fortune include hoda’ah, thanks; shevach, praise; bakkashah, petition, and vidduy, confession.

As regards hoda’ah, “Brachot Shacharit,” and portions of “The Shema” are instances of these prayers. Likewise, the thanks that we express for any component of Formation are within this category.

Concerning shevach, this sort of prayer is the giving over of our accounts of our grasp of the gifts that Hashem has bestowed upon us. It is exemplified by “Birkas HaMazon.” This nature of prayer reifies that we’ve been chosen by Hashem to receive his benevolence.

To continue, bakkashah is the type of prayer in which we most probably engage. We’re able to generate subjective requests because we’ve already crowned Him and having already acknowledged our appreciation of our closeness to Him, These asks can range from our accidentally asking The Boss for an “easy” parking space to our intentionally beseeching Him for a dear one’s recovery.

Finally, in terms of vidduy, our acts of confession are not restricted to the end of our lives but are an ongoing aspect of our teshuvah. Every night, before bed, we must put together mental tallies of our goings-on and then must ask The Eternal One to help us atone for any wrongdoings noted in these records.

On the whole, when praying for ourselves, we modify ourselves. For this reason, it’s of less consequence that are entreaties are answered according to our wishes than that we articulated them. It’s the performance of prayer, not the results of our devotions, that builds us.

Third, more than affixing ourselves to Ribono shel’Olam, or fashioning a channel for His authentication of us, our prayers provide passage for His backing. Namely, the process of praying enhances our cognizance, augments our mental and emotional stability, and increases our yearning for Him.

With reference to our self-empowerment, Rabbi J. Immanuel Schochet notes, in “Self-Improvement,” that prayer intensifies the growth of character. “Prayer is the service, the submission of man’s heart to G‑d. It is the consciousness in man of the Omnipresent. It is the ladder on which man’s soul ascends to become united with, and absorbed in, The Infinite.”

With respect to our inner equilibrium, notwithstanding the folly of the contemporary world, prayer betters us. Rebbetzin Esther Jungreis writes, in “Pillars of Jewish Faith,” that “[t]he truly righteous understand, however, that before God, there is no entitlement. When we perform a mitzvah, when we live a righteous life, it is we who have to thank God for granting us that opportunity, that privilege.”

In view of that, we have fixed times for connecting to G-d. Male Torah Jews pray at least thrice daily and their female counterparts pray at least once per day. This system fosters certainty, i.e., operates to make possible our release of our lives to The Abishter’s care and  operated to make possible our affirmation that only Hashem controls outcomes. Meaning, prayer furthers our acceptance of the inevitability of Hashem’s omnipotence, hence, conveys serenity.

Rabbi Binyomin Adilman espouses in “Present Tense” that “Mincha” comes from “menucha,” rest, and that [w]hen one stops and takes a few minutes out in the midst of a busy day, to put aside all other concerns and let our Maker know how much we appreciate the opportunity and obligation to serve Him, and how much we truthfully have to be thankful for, it is indeed a cherished gift to G‑d” and to ourselves.

In the matter of fervor, our heated words, like the fire of tacit burnt offerings, represent sacrifice, signify our surrender of ego. With proportional opinion of ourselves, we have more space in our hearts for The Ever-Present. When filled with His Presence, we’re uplifted. Overall, praying facilitates our individual development.

HaKadosh Baruch Hu’s embraces, confirmation, and succor are among the benefits we receive from prayer. These boons are fundamental as well as are uncountable as their Source, Hashem, is Foundation and is Limitless.


Adilman, Rabbi Binyomin. “Present Tense,” Accessed 7 Nov. 2022.

Dunn, Jancee. “When Someone You Love Is Upset, Ask This One Question.” The New York Times. 7 Apr. 2023. Accessed 18 Dec. 2023.

Geller, Rabbi Yehoshua. “Still Working on Understanding.” Letter to Channie (KJ Hannah) Greenberg. 26 Dec. 2023.

Jacobson, Rabbi Yoseph Yitzchak. “G-d’s Vulnerability.” The 9 Jul. 2020. Accessed 21 Dec. 2023.

Jungreis, Rebbetzin Esther. “Pillars of Jewish Faith.” Accessed 7 Nov. 2022.

Lamm, Rabbi Maurice. “Day to Day Judaism: Prayer.” 8 May 2009. Accessed 7 Nov. 2022.

Schochet, Rabbi J. Immanuel. “Self-Improvement.” Accessed 24 Jan. 2024.

Twersky, Rabbi Mayer. “The Need for Tefillah.” 2013. Accessed 7 Nov. 2022.

Weisberg, Chanah. “Growing Your Love.” Ed. Accessed 7 Nov. 2022.

About the Author
KJ Hannah Greenberg has been playing with words for an awfully long time. Initially a rhetoric professor and a National Endowment for the Humanities Scholar, she shed her academic laurels to romp around with a prickle of imaginary hedgehogs. Thereafter, her writing has been nominated once for The Best of the Net in poetry, three times for the Pushcart Prize in Literature for poetry, once for the Pushcart Prize in Literature for fiction, once for the Million Writers Award for fiction, and once for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay. To boot, Hannah’s had more than forty books published and has served as an editor for several literary journals.