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A Moment in Time: “How Do We Know if Prayer Works?”

[additional-authors]
May 30, 2024

Dear all,

There’s a story I once heard (so sorry – I don’t have nor could I find the original source) about a king who wondered if God heard his prayers.

One day, the royal archer asked the king to meet him at midnight for target practice. “How will I know if I hit the target in the darkness?” asked the king.

”Trust me” said the archer.

The king spent a full hour shooting the arrows. His arms were aching as he released tension with each shot. When he was finished, he looked at the archer and asked, “Ok – what did I actually accomplish? I can’t tell if I hit the targets at all.”

The archer responded, “How do you feel?”

”Well, I put all my heart and soul into letting go of these arrows. I did it over and over. I feel a bit spent. But you know …. I also feel quite uplifted.”

”Then you hit the target.”

The king then realized it was the same with prayer. So long as he was sincere in releasing what was inside of him, his prayers were going in the right direction.

Dear friends, I believe that God hears our prayers. God may not answer right away. And God may not respond the way we hope. But God hears. And so we pray. We pray on our own. We pray as a community. We pray for healing. We pray for shalom. We pray for Israel. And we pray for humanity.

Indeed, each moment in time we pray, we empty our hearts so the world can be more full.

With love and shalom,

Rabbi Zach Shapiro

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