Is Rabbi Harold Kushner right about this statement? In his book, Who Needs God, he shares this message that has always resonated with me. It encourages me to think about why people come to the synagogue to pray — or why they don’t. It challenges me to strive to create opportunities to facilitate the opportunity to “experience being in the presence of God.” But what if people don’t really want it anymore?
I would love to know what you think… Can prayer move you? Do you strive to be in God’s Presence? Or is sitting in a community enough?
Prayer is not a matter of coming to God with our wish list and pleading with Him to give us what we ask for. Prayer is first and foremost the experience of being in the presence of God. Whether or not we have our requests granted, whether or not we get anything to take home as a result of the encounter, we are changed by having come into the presence of God. . . In congregational worship, regularly scheduled services on a Saturday or Sunday morning, I have come to believe that the congregating is more important than the words we speak. Something miraculous happens when people come together seeking the presence of God. The miracle is that we so often find it. Somehow the whole becomes more than the sum of its parts. A spirit is created in our midst which none of us brought there. In fact, each of us came there looking for it because we did not have it when we were alone. But in our coming together, we create the mood and the moment in which God is present. . . We don’t go to church or synagogue at a stipulated time because God keeps “office hours.” We go because that is when we know there will be other people there, seeking the same kind of encounter we are seeking.
How can rabbis, cantors, synagogues, minyanim create opportunities for your encounter?