The Disguised Prayer

A Chassidic Jewish Story

Have you noticed when you try to clear your mind for prayer, it quickly becomes cluttered? And when we gather for worship, anxious thoughts and even temptations spoil our good intentions. So, where do these thoughts come from?

A Jewish rabbi once explained that they come from the devil. Whenever we have good intentions, Satan is standing nearby to distract us. The Tempter is working his hardest during worship, so after worship, “the Chassidim sit together, raise their glasses in l’chayim, and pour out their hearts in blessing. ‘Yankele, you should find a proper match for your daughter,’ exclaims one man to his friend. ‘Beryl, your business should have as many customers as the eyes on a potato,’ exclaims another.

“[Satan], already regaling in his victory of having confounded the prayer of an entire congregation of Jews, and seeing them eating and drinking, concludes that they have finished praying and joyfully retires for the morning.

“Now, it is a clear law in the Shulchan Aruch (Code of Jewish Law) that prayer can be said in any language that one understands. So when Jews gather together to say l’chayim, and they begin to bless one another from the depths of their hearts, it is the real prayer. Their intentions are pure, as their [Tempter] has left them to their own devices; and their prayers go straight to the heart of the Master of the World.” [1]

I wonder if gloomy faces and sour hearts attract Satan? Perhaps joyful Christians with hearts full of the Holy Spirit will keep the devil at arm’s length!


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