Let My People Know

"Prayer is an expression of faith"

“Once, while I was in the middle of my prayers, my little daughter tried to talk to me, and when I failed to respond, she was very angry with me.

She said, ‘Why don’t you speak to me?’

Later on, I answered her by saying, ‘I was busy. I was speaking with God.’

She then replied, with great understanding, that she hadn’t noticed that God was answering me.

This second question was very deep.

A four or five-year-old girl was prepared to accept the notion that I speak with God when I pray.

But she wanted this to be a two-way conversation and not just a speech on my part.

The point is that every prayer boils down in the final analysis to a very basic point: I say the words ‘Blessed art Thou,’ and especially the Thou, if I feel the presence of the Thou before me.

If I have someone with whom to speak, then I can pray.

If I have no one with whom to speak, then what is the point of all these words, and all the things I say?

What I am saying here is so simple that it should not need to be said, except that it still does need to be said, and stressed:

Prayer is an expression of faith.

It is impossible to pray, except out of faith in the encounter with God, in the standing of the I opposite the Thou.

It is not a simple question of Buberian philosophy.

It is a simple point, so simple that any child can understand it.”

–Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz

From “Prayer Education” in On Being Free by Rabbi Adin Steinsaltz