Seek Me With All Your Heart

The following is an excerpt from My Father My King by Rabbi Zelig Pliskin


Hear your Father, your King, the Creator and Sustainer of the entire universe, saying to you:

Prayer is the way you talk to Me.

Some prayers you will sing,

Others you will cry.

With all prayers you connect with Me.

When you pray with your mouth,

You express what is in your heart.

Let trust, gratitude, awe and love

Flow from your heart to your lips in prayer.

Pray when you feel close to Me

And pray when you feel distant.

Pray when you feel elevated and spiritual,

And pray when you feel lowly and unworthy.

Pray when your heart is full;

And pray when your heart is empty.

What can you pray for?

For guidance and wisdom,

health and good fortune.

For the material and the spiritual,

For all that you need.

How should you pray to Me?

With your tears and with your laughter.

With your mind and with your heart.

With your body and with your soul.

When you appreciate the power of prayer,

you will

Pray to Me with joy and ecstasy,

Pray to Me with fervour and with passion,

Pray to Me with awe and wonder.

When is it especially important to pray to Me?

When life is painful or difficult,

When you are confused or overwhelmed,

Whenever you are suffering.

Through prayer, you

Elevate yourself,

Enter the world of spirituality,

Expand your consciousness.

Let your soul soar.

When you pray,

Meditate on that which is eternal.

Reflect on the meaning of the words you say.

Contemplate the awesomeness of the One

Whom you address.

Increase your love for the One

to Whom you speak.

What will you find with prayer?

Serenity and inner peace,

Insight and perspective,

Inspiration and empowerment.

With prayer you will find

Your loving Father and powerful King.

I look forward to hearing from you, My beloved child. And that is the reason you will have much to sing about, much to cry about, and much to ask for.

Some time ago, I had a bit of a ‘spiritual crisis’. I was listening to so many people talking about their views, beliefs and criticisms. Much of what I heard disturbed me and I allowed that to reflect upon my relationship with God. I was so confused that I turned away from Him. First I ‘became’ an atheist, but I found that there was just as much vitriol amongst them as there was in some of the Christian communities I encountered. Then I ‘became’ a Humanist but, for me, the spiritual element was missing. I did enjoy reading Buddhist works and found the meditations enormously helpful and, while they kept me calm and mindful, I wanted more than that. I think that some of my blogging friends must have thought I was being invaded by multiple personalities! Who and what will she be tomorrow? I wouldn’t blame anyone for thinking that, because I wasn’t sure who I was myself anymore.

I floundered about in this dark place for a while until I could bear it no longer. I had a dilemma though. I so much wanted God to help me yet, in my mind, I could hear the voices of those who had told me, “You’ll be nothing without God and will never be able to do anything without Him, just you wait and see.” This only fuelled a need to prove independence all the more. But, in my heart, I knew I was unhappy and that I missed Him. “Help me God, please,” I prayed. And what I learned was that God will do anything to preserve our state of free-will. All through life, we are given choices and decisions to make ourselves. So instead of waiting to wake up one morning expecting God to have done all the work, I made my choice. I WANT God in my life because, for me, my happiness and security is incomplete without Him. From now on, though, I will stand by my belief that God is a good and just God and will ignore the cacophony of voices that claim otherwise.

People Need People

People who need people
Are the luckiest people in the world
We’re children, needing other children
And yet letting a grown-up pride
Hide all the need inside
Acting more like children than children

Are very special people
They’re the luckiest people in the world
With one person
One very special person
A feeling deep in your soul
Says you were half now you’re whole
No more hunger and thirst
First be a person who needs people
People who need people
Are the luckiest people in the world

A feeling deep in your soul
Says you were half now you’re whole
No more hunger and thirst
First be a person who needs people
People who need people
Are the luckiest people in the world

Prayers Before and After Reading the News

The following was written by Rabbi Irwin Keller.

For a while now I have found reading the morning paper to be a risky moment. Sometimes there is something lovely that gives me hope for humanity. Sometimes there is something flashy but arguably trivial that catches my eye and helps me avoid the rougher news. But every day there is something upsetting, saddening happening in the world. In this last month I have been reading news of atrocities in Ukraine and a new wave of terrorist attacks in Tel Aviv with a combination of hunger and nausea.

I find myself not infrequently afraid to open the morning news. I am aware that I have the privilege of not reading the paper and going about having, by most accounts, a good day. But I don’t want to be so frightened of how upset the news will make me that I stay uninformed and close myself off to the witnessing, compassion, and action that I feel this moment requires of me and of us.

The rest of the article can be found here on Ritualwell.

I Come From

. . . a house with a garden – dad’s precious roses,

a family garden with putting green and rabbit hutch.

Grandma Dove and Granny Stork in floral pinnies.

New straw hat and pristine white stockings for the first Sunday in May.

Train to the city – Grant’s Bookshop.

Mother’s jacket that smelled of plums

. . . like the Balsam flowers by the river.

Her Coty L’aimant and father’s pipe smoke.

Handsome brother in naval uniform – razor sharp creases –

postcards and presents.

Cousin’s tenement with its cold, dark close –

hide-and-seek in the middens and corner shop sweets –

Sunday visits to Paddy’s market – cheap trinkets.

The Orange walk – trills from the flute and bangs on the drum.

Grandpa’s allotment – the scent of Ribes –

handmade feeding tables and nest boxes –

Vibrant notes of ‘O What a Beautiful Morning’ pierce the stillness . . .

e.c.t. put a stop to that.

Gazing from window – he sang no more.

I come from a house with dark cupboards to hide in.


The Lord Is My Shepherd: Healing Wisdom Of The Twenty-Third Psalm

The following is an excerpt from The Lord Is My Shepherd: Healing Wisdom Of The Twenty-Third Psalm by Harold S. Kushner.

“When we are frightened because the world is a scary place, God is with us. If He cannot always protect us from harm or from our own mistakes, He can ease our fears and our pain by being with us.

When we are exhausted because the world asks so much of us, God gives us times and places of refuge from the claims of the world, to calm and restore our souls. God renews our strength so that we can “mount up with wings as eagles” and continue tirelessly to do what is right.

When we are terrified at the prospect of losing control over our emotions and doing ourselves serious harm, God is with us to help us do things with Him at our side that we were not sure we could do alone.

When illness, bereavement, and the losses that come with age cast a shadow over our lives, God is there to fill the empty space, to remind us that shadows are cast only because the sun is shining somewhere, to take us by the hand and lead us through the valley of the shadow and into the sunlight.

When events in our world bring us dismay and we fear that evil is prospering, God reminds us that evil acts invariably carry the seeds of their own destruction.

When people disappoint us, when they cannot give us what we need, whether because our needs are too great or because their emotional resources are too meager, God is our reliable friend, and inexhaustible source of love and strength.

And when we find ourselves wandering aimlessly, through the world, wondering why we are here and what our lives will have meant when they are over, God blesses us with a sense of purpose, a challenge, a list of moral obligations and opportunities, every one of which will give us the sense of living our days in His presence.

There is pain in the world. If we are to be truly alive, we cannot hide from it. But we can survive it, and God’s caring presence lessens the pain.

There is death in the world, robbing us of the ones we love and one day robbing them of our presence. But God who is immortal assures us that death may take a person out of our future but cannot remove him from our past, that all the things we loved a person for have entered so deeply into our souls that they remain part of us. The Lord gives, but the Lord does not take away, and their presence is every bit as real as their absence.

There is fear in the world. There is vulnerability and uncertainty. God cannot tell us that nothing bad will ever happen to us. But God can tell us that we need not be afraid of the future, no matter what it holds. He cannot protect you from evil without taking away from other people the human power of choosing between good and bad. He cannot protect you from illness or bad luck. He cannot spare you from death and let you and those around you live forever. But He can give you the resources to transcend and overcome those fears, so that bad luck never causes you to lose faith in yourself, so that bad people never cause you to lose faith in humanity, so that the inevitability of death never causes you to give up on the holiness of life.

There will be dark days, days of loss and days of failure, but they will not last forever. The light will always return to chase away the darkness, the sun will always come out again after the rain, and the human spirit will always rise above failure. Fear will assault us, but we will not be afraid, “for Thou art with me.”

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

 Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.