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Spiritual Reflections

The spiritual masters say that a person that does not spend time each day with themselves in thought and reflections is no person. In order to aid in that process we provide herewith for members and friends, prayers, reflections, thoughts and exercises for their devotional time.

Read them slowly. Savor each word, ponder each thought. Apply them to your life. May you find blessing in their use.

 

On God

O God, I thank you for this

Time of prayer, this precious

Opportunity of realizing Your

Presence, of laying before You

My desires, my hopes, my gratitude.

Of all blessed things this

Realization of our presence is

The most blessed.

For how empty would my life

Be if I did not have Your

Presence, if I were to lose You

Utterly in the maze of the

Worldly life, if I did not

Come back from time to time to

Commune with You, to get

The assurance of your existence and

Your love.

How good it is to know that you are

With me in all my difficulties and troubles,

To feel that in you I have a friend

Whose help is sure, whose love is

 

–Adapted from the West London Synagogue prayer book

 

On work

The Hebrew word for work and worship – avoda – are the same. What if we were to think of our daily work as a prayer to God and the Divine demand. Pray this prayer before the start of the work week.

 

O God, be with me in the turmoil

Of my daily life. Bless and hallow my

Daily work. Let me do it for your sake

And not for my own, as a task performed

In Your service and not as means

Of realizing only material aims.

Let my work be consecrated in

My sight as a way of approach

To you, an opportunity for

Ministering to my higher self, a bond

Binding me in sympathy

And friendship with my fellow

Human beings.

May I strive ever more

Resolutely to enable my daily

Work by integrity, by industry,

By seriousness of purpose.

Thus while I will reinforce the

Healthy activities of humankind,

May it help to fashion my

Own character and make my

Daily life fit for your scrutiny and

Save me from apathy and

Laziness. Whatever my hand finds to

Do, let me do it with all my might.

Open my eyes so that whatever

My work may be – however humble –

I may respect it and deem it honorable.

Give me strength to do it and

Wisdom to win its material fruits;

Let me not labor in vain

Nor let me bring forth trouble, turmoil,

And disappointment.

I dare not make my work my _____;

There are still higher tasks and holier

Aims whose call to my energies is

But if it be that my rewards be

Scanty, if my plans miscarry, if

Failure follows my effort, then save

Me from despair.

Imbue me with hope and trust

And acceptance, so that I may cast

My burden on You in the sure conviction

That You will uphold me.

For You enable us to find good in

Every vicissitude and come riches or

Poverty, success or disappointment, Your

Purposes ever make our good.

 

–Adapted from the prayer book of the West London Synagogue

 

 

On Prayer

 

Remember when praying, no topic is “off limits”. God already knows everything that is happening in your heart, so you can talk to Him about everything.

 

Pray for courage when you feel afraid. Request the strength to face the fear, as a step towards maturity, instead of leaving the fear unaddressed.

 

When balancing your checkbook or paying your bills, ask for wisdom in managing your money.

 

Just before exercising thank God for your health.

 

Tend to react when you feel angry? Pray that you will develop the ability to stop, THINK and SEE the situation from the other person’s point of view before responding.

–Joanne Redmond

 

At times, suddenly inspiration and enthusiasm will come to a person during prayer. They will be able to pray with love and close deep connectedness to God. But then it disappears.

Why?

The Spirit came from above, in order to show him or her the path of connectedness in prayer but then it leaves them so that they will work themselves to reach this level of deep close connectedness.

–Rabbi Shlomo of Rhadomsk

 

The wish to pray is a prayer itself – God can ask no more than that of us.

–George Bernanos

 

Prayer does not change God, but changes the one who prays.

–Soren Kierkegaard

 

I pray that I might pray.

–Rabbi Chaim of Sanz

 

On Sleep

Loving God, save me from evil

Thoughts and bad dreams. Let my

Bed be a place of wholeness and

Peace. Help me sleep only

The minimum necessary for the health of my body.

As I go to sleep let it be with

Thoughts of wisdom in my mind

And feelings of joy. Let my soul

Be joined in unity with all the holy

Souls and ascend with them to

You as I sleep.

Help my soul to ascend to You

In peace while I sleep and return

In peace to my body when I wake up.

Let me enjoy good and sweet sleep: The

Sleep of life. Send me good, true, holy

Dreams and save me from false, vain and

Confused dreams. Let me lie down to rest

In goodness and awaken in Your love.

 

–adapted from Rabbi Nachman of Breslov

 

 

 

On Gratitude

O God, when I have food,

Help me to remember the hungry;

When I have work,

Help me to remember the jobless;

When I have a home,

Help me to remember those who have no home at all;

When I am without pain,

Help me remember those who suffer.

And remembering,

Help me to destroy my complacency;

Bestir my compassion,

And be concerned enough to help;

By word and deed,

Those who cry out for what we take for granted.

 

–Samuel F. Pugh