by Reb Gutman Locks @ Mystical Paths
Why is it that sometimes we pray over and over again, but what we pray for never comes? I know a Jewish man who has been praying with all his heart for a wife for more than 20 years, and she hasn’t come! It eats him up. His life is miserable because he feels so alone. It’s not just that he is not fulfilling the mitzvahs of marriage; even more importantly for him, he feels empty, unfulfilled. Now, how can you say that G-d answers prayers? What are you going to tell me, that He is answering, and is saying, “NO!?”
We are told that visiting the sick removes one sixtieth of their illness, and that even if a knife is at your throat, do not stop praying for mercy. We are also told that when we pray for others, our prayers for ourselves are answered first. Well, if in these places, and in many more places we are told to pray, why don’t we see the things that we pray for happening?
Whether something is supposed to happen or not is not entirely determined by prayer. Prayer weighs in and helps to tip the scale, but there are many more factors involved. For instance, what does the person you are praying for deserve? What has he done with his life, and even in his previous life? Not everyone merits to have children. Not everyone has every blessing in their life. In fact, we often see people who have many blessings in many areas of their lives, but they are sorely missing something in another area. Maybe they are healthy and happily married, but have never been able to make a sufficient living. What if someone has all the physical benefits in life, but is totally unaware of G-d’s presence? He might even be happy which makes things worse for him, because he will not even be motivated to search!
Often we pray so hard for something but do not see the results. Then other times, we merely mention our prayer and the thing pops right up in our face! You never know what is going to come from your prayers, but you know that you have to try. And, you know that you feel better when you do ask.
An important lesson about prayer is that although it is up to us to ask, it is up to G-d to give.
This means that we should pray with all our hearts, since it is entirely up to us to try. It also means that after praying, we have to stand back. If we do not detach from the results, they will eat us up. What is missing will consume our lives. We will become miserable, always focusing on yearnings. Let go… we can only call. He has to answer.