Monica Rozenfeld moves to Brooklyn with two roommates — a Catholic and an observant Jew — and they each seek understanding of what it means to be religious.
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I need to pray more
I need to pray more. It’s a thought that goes through my head about once a day, yet more often than not I don’t act on it. Whether I sat in the comfort of my own apartment or on the subway with a prayer book and Psalms in my purse, it is easier to find excuses. Like today’s for example, when I packed a book of letters from Rabbi Nachman of Uman with a special prayer to be read for 40 days straight to bring on one’s soul mate. My excuse to only carrying it with me throughout the day but not reading from it: I can’t find my list of single people to pray for. What will be tomorrow’s excuse? Or the next day’s or the next?
I set a reminder on my BlackBerry every day to read a few Psalms to pray for a particular person to get married. I love and care for her deeply, yet I always find that work gets in the way. As if work is more important than taking 5 minutes out of my day to offer something to the Almighty as thanks. If I believe there is a higher power and nothing is more important than him, that alone is reason enough to stop no matter what I’m doing. And yet still I continue to hit the snooze button on those reminders. Sometimes hours later I actually do what they tell me to do.
I find that when I commit to praying as part of a group — even if I know my prayers will be solitary — I recognize my responsibility to the group as a whole and the individuals it encompasses. So I honor the commitment I make to these women and pray every day for them as I have hope and faith that they are praying for me in the same way. There is a communal belief that we have the ability to pray for and bless one another, like the Holy One gave to Abraham our father.
Understanding that my weakness lies in the area of prayer, it was almost Divine Providence when a friend sent around an email to a group of girls looking for more women to join an international prayer group with around 200 members currently and looking to grow to 1,000. I hesitated. I clicked on the link. I didn’t sign up right away. I read the rules and then I finally filled out the form and requested to join. While this is only a weekly commitment and not a daily one, this sense of praying for a stranger in another part of the world while knowing that she is praying for me and we are collectively sending out positive energy to the world — this is so powerful. All it takes is a small step. Even a click of a button.