Judaism is a religion of prayer. In fact, Judaism is the only major world religion whose religious leaders actively encourage their followers to spend time in prayer. All other religious traditions have long since discouraged their followers from seeking divine guidance through prayer.
But this doesn’t mean that Jewish prayers are any less profound or effective than those practiced by any other people of faith. There are many different types of Jewish prayer, and each one of them has its own unique set of rituals and practices. Do you ever wonder how Orthodox Jews pray?
In this article, Rabbi Samuel Waldman, who has been writing a book on the importance of prayer, will give you an insight of how Jews pray and the types of Jewish prayer.
What is a prayer?
A prayer is a short, spoken or written statement that requests something of God. Rabbi Samuel Waldman indicates that there are many different types of prayer, but the main types are: petition, blessing and thanksgiving. Petition and thanksgiving are the more common types of prayer, and are “ubiquitous.” There are also certain types of prayer that are unique to certain holidays or rituals such as the Amidah for Jews on Rosh Hashanah and the Kaddish for Christians on Yom Kippur.
Why say prayers?
Prayer is for the heart and soul, not just the body.
“It’s not just about making an awkward sound and hoping that someone feels your pain,” says Rabbi Samuel Waldman. “Prayer can change your entire life, as it has for countless individuals throughout history, and can also change the lives of those around you through the power of positive affirmations”.
The order of prayer in Judaism
The order of prayer in Judaism is specific and important. It is derived from the Oral Torah.
There are many different opinions on this topic, but generally speaking, Rabbi Samuel Waldman indicates that the order of prayer is as follows:
Morning Prayer: The first prayer of the day is Morning Prayer. This is the most important prayer of the day and is why it is called Morning Prayer. It is meant to be said 5 times a day.
Mid-Day Prayer: This is the second most important prayer of the day. It is meant to be said 3 times a day. It is the most popularly observed prayer.
Afternoon Prayer: This is the third most important prayer of the day. It is meant to be said 1 time a day.
Judaism is a way of life for 1.8 billion people around the world. While it may seem like a simple fact to point out, it is easy to forget that there are very different ways to practice Judaism than the way that someone living in a Western country or city might. Prayer is an important part of Judaism. In his teachings, Rabbi Samuel Waldman indicates that it’s important to remember that prayer is a very private experience and that there is no proper way to pray. You have to find the right way that works for you.