Prayer can be one of the most confounding of spiritual practices. If it is a personal, meditative, soul experience, then why is so much of it dictated by formality and structured liturgy? If we are praying to an all-knowing higher power, then why do we need to express thoughts, feelings and needs that are already revealed? It turns out that prayer is about developing a relationship. And just like any intimate relationship, it is full of nuances and subtleties; there is both an art and a science to prayer.



When: Four Mondays, Starting May 18, at 7:30 pm
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WHY WE PRAY - Part 1 of The Heart of Prayer - Monday, May 18
Does G‑d really need our prayers? Obviously not. He wants our prayers. But why? The same question can be asked about existence as a whole – G‑d doesn’t need a world, but He wants one, and wishes to have a relationship with every being in it. Through prayer, we explore and express our relationship with the Divine, and with the Divine Soul within us. It is our way of bridging the finite and the infinite aspects of life, and connecting with the purpose of our existence.

THE HISTORY OF JEWISH PRAYER - Part 2 of The Heart of Prayer - Monday, May 25
Though the formal prayers found in prayerbooks today were established in Talmudic times, the origin of prayers dates much earlier, to Biblical times. The three patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, each introduced one of the three daily prayers, and their names are invoked within the prayers. In this lesson we explore that connection between prayer and the patriarchs, as well as several other fascinating insights about prayer and its connection to our physical and emotional makeup. 

A TOUR OF THE DAILY PRAYERS - Part 3 of The Heart of Prayer - Monday, June 1
At first glance, the structure of the prayers in the prayerbook may seem arbitrary. How did the “Men of the Great Assembly,” the Talmudic Sages who authored the basic liturgy of Jewish prayer, devise the structure that has remained for over 2,000 years? In this lesson we discover that daily prayer is a ladder comprised of four rungs – acknowledgment, emotion, intellect and submission – that we are meant to climb in our daily spiritual practice.

GUIDED MEDITATION - Part 4 of The Heart of Prayer - Monday, June 8
The core of every prayer service is the “Amida” or “Shmoneh Esreh” – the silent prayer. But in fact it is not so silent. In order to fulfill the requirements of the silent prayer, we have to physically verbalize the words so that we can hear the words we’re saying. In this lesson we will learn why meditative prayer is both silent and not silent, and also explore several meditations, some of them quite mystical, that deepen our connection to the meaning behind the words.