Jamie Learns A Powerful 3 Fold Prayer Formula
This is a continuation from Jamie And The Old Man – Part 1 which if you haven’t yet read can be read here.
There had been silence in the car for about a minute. Jamie was thinking about the ideas that the old man had presented him with… First of all that his visa scenario was not just a random unlucky occurrence. It was arranged from above and for a reason. Jamie didn’t know for certain what that reason was, but maybe it was simply so he could remember an important relationship that he had been neglecting and missing out on for a long time now. The relationship between him and his Maker.
The second thing that Jamie was thinking about which kind of flowed from the first was the fact that He could actually speak to his Maker, tell Him his problems and ask for help and that his Maker had the power to give Jamie anything he needed and that He wanted to help Jamie. Jamie realised he wanted to know more about how he could ask his Maker for help.
“Can you give me a few more specifics?” Jamie asked, breaking the silence.
“Huh? What do you mean?” the old man questioned.
“I mean… You said I should talk to the Big Guy and communicate my problems to Him and ask for His help. Is that it? Do I really just talk and ask for what I want? What about needing to go to shul and using a siddur, both of which I’m not so familiar with?”
“Hmmm. There is a power that comes from praying with a minyan, 10 Jewish men over the age of 13, and there is a power that comes from using the words of our siddur which were composed by the wisest and purest of men, many of whom were prophets. But from what I am hearing from you, neither of these 2 options are where you are holding right now.”
“But there are other things that you can do that will give your prayers wings. I think it might be appropriate to teach you right now a powerful 3-fold prayer strategy that anyone, no matter what they know or don’t know or where they are holding in their Jewish daily living can employ.”
“Take it away, I’m all ears.”
The old man gave out a little chuckle and began…
“O.K. then. Well, the first of the 3 ingredients to this formula is called in Hebrew Pegia.
“Oh!” said Jamie “Well what does Pegia mean?”
“Well, have you ever seen a child who REALLY wants an ice cream, so much so that every few minutes they tug on their parent’s coat and repeatedly asked for one?”
“Yes! I have three of those children… and I was one myself!” laughed Jamie.
“Well, that’s Pegia. If you want something from Hashem, relentlessly ask for it, again and again and again! Be tenacious… persistent… keep asking for that which you need!”
“Wow! I didn’t know one could do that? Wouldn’t that just irritate the Big Guy, it sure as hell irritates me?”
“The Big Guy teaches us in His instruction manual for living, the Torah, that not only does He not get irritated by this type of behaviour like we might… But the opposite! The more we keep turning to Him and asking Him for what we need the better, because it helps cement in our minds that He is the real address to go to to solve our problems!”
“Hmmm. Looking back I can see that on the rare occasions when I have asked for something from the Big Guy it was usually a once off request. It’s never even crossed my mind to ask for the same thing more than once.”
“Well, there you go. You’ve learnt something new that can really help you. You know Moses prayed to be allowed to enter Israel 515 times! After 515 individual prayers the Big Guy had to ask Moses to stop praying. It seems that one more prayer and He would have HAD to let Moses in and He knew that that would not have been good for Moses or the Jewish people to do this… Why that is we will have to talk about another time… But the main point is that there is a power to being relentless when praying for something.”
“Wow! O.K. So now I have prayer tactic number 1 of this 3 fold prayer model… Nag the Big Guy again and again and again asking Him to help me with what I need, until I get it.”
“And that’s not going to get on His nerves?”
“Great! … So what’s prayer ingredient number 2?”
“Ahh! Number 2 is called in Hebrew Nipol.”
“And in English?” Jamie inquired?
“Well it means falling down.”
“Yes. I’ll explain … A good example is in the Purim story when Esther goes to ask King Achashverosh to stop Haman from killing all the Jews. The verse says “And Esther spoke again before the king and she fell before his feet and cried and pleaded with him to abolish the evil decree of Haman.” Queen Esther knew that the king was the ONLY ONE who could change the decree of genecide against the Jewish people.
“So you’re saying that Esther realised that there was no other person who could help her change this decree besides King Achashverosh and that’s why she fell down before him… she realised only he could overturn the decree.”
“Um… Yes, but no.”
“You see, if you listen again to that verse from Megilat Esther that I told you you’ll hear that it says “And Esther spoke again before the king…”. Now whenever it says just ‘the King’ in the Megillah Esther instead of ‘King Achashverosh’, it is referring to the real king – the King of kings! So yes, she did fall down before King Achashverosh to beg him to override the decree to kill the Jews… as we are all obligated to make an appropriate effort when we need something… but fundamentally, she fell down in prayer before the real King, the King of kings, because she knew that Achashverosh was just a pawn. It was her Maker Who had made him king and Who had given him so much power and only her Maker who could ensure the survival of her people.”
“Hmmm…. O.K. I hear that… so what are you saying? That when I am putting in my requests to the Big Guy that I have to fall down onto the ground because only He can truly ensure that I get what I need? I’ve never seen anyone do that. Even the women who are reading their thingys in the park… um… their Tehillim, usually stay on their benches.”
The old man chuckled. “Yes… Good question! Well, the most important part of prayer is what is happening within us. This aspect of prayer called Nipol, falling down, is an inner realisation that there is no one else who can help you. If you aren’t supposed to get something, no one can help you, no matter how influential they are. Only your Heavenly Father can really turn things around for you and ensure you get what you need.”
“Are you saying that the Big Guy is like some big dictator that we have to fall down before. That isn’t such a nice way to think about Him?”
“No, no, no! Not at all! Your Creator created the entire world out of love, for our sakes! Perhaps a better way to think about Him and what this aspect of prayer is all about is to picture a mother with a baby. When the baby is hungry and wants to nurse it cries out for it’s mother. It doesn’t cry out to the plumber who’s fixing the toilet or the painter who’s painting the walls or the electrician who’s rewiring whatever he’s rewiring. They can’t give the baby what it wants. Nipol is knowing that there is no one else, no other options, that there’s only One who can truly help.”
“I hear… But you know it’s hard for me to see the Big Guy as the only one Who can help me. If I meet the right official at the right time, they could turn everything around for me!”
The old man laughed. “I hear what you’re saying and I repeat to you that nothing that happens to you is random. You could find that the official dealing with your case just had a run in with a Jew who crashed into his car and now he’s got it in for any Jew he comes across. Or… You could find that the official dealing with your case is the son or daughter of a lady who was helped tremendously by a Jewish family and now they want to repay that kindness to you, another Jew. In other words, you’re right, if you meet the right official everything could change around for you… But can you guarantee that you’ll meet the right official? And can you guarantee that if you do that they won’t be called away on an urgent matter just after your papers are placed in front of them and that someone else who has no compassion for your situation or who is totally incompetent won’t deal with you in their place?”
“Good point. I hear that… so at the end of the day basically you’re saying that when I pray I need to know that there is no one else who can truly help me. That only the Big Guy can help me with my needs.”
“Exactly! That’s ingredient number 2, Nipol. So let’s do the third ingredient. Are you ready?”
“Great! So there is an aspect of prayer which in Hebrew is called Tachanunim. It comes from the Hebrew word “Chinum” which means “free”. This is a very, very powerful aspect of prayer. Let me explain what it means with a famous Medrash.”
“I don’t really know what a Medrash is. Does that matter?
“It’s fine.” the old man chuckled. “The Medrash talks about one of the times that Moses ascended to heaven. It says that the Creator showed him different treasure houses. Moses was incredibly impressed. He pointed to an astoundingly amazing treasure house. “Who is that treasure house for?” Moses asked. “For those who strived to learn my Torah.” Hashem told him. Moses pointed to another awesome treasure house. “Who is that treasure house for?” he asked. “For those who strived to do kindness.” G-d told him. This repeated itself a few times until finally Hashem showed Moses a storehouse which had no end to it. No limits to what it contained. Who is THAT treasure house for?” Moses asked. “Ahhh!” said Hashem “This storehouse is for those who ask me for matnas chinum” which by the way means for gifts not given based upon what people deserve, but which are simply given because the person praying has asked for a free gift.”
“I don’t get it.” Jamie said. “I’m not understanding.”
“Well…” the old man explained further, “the Medrash is teaching an amazing idea… that, yes, the rewards for anything good that we do is SO great… Hence the wonderful treasure houses in Heaven for each type of mitzvah. But the point is that these treasure houses are proportional to what we have done. If a person learns Torah twice a week, we cannot fathom the extent of what this will mean for him in the spiritual realms, but what he will receive will be proportional to those two sessions a week. He will benefit more from learning five times a week and less for learning once a week. So… If we want Hashem to look at our merits when we pray, they may be great, if we have done much good with our time and our resources, but they will still, at some point, come to an end, be quantifiable, be limited. However, there is something that is not limited and does not come to an end…”
“Let me guess… the Big Guy’s desire to help us and to do kindness with us.”
“Exactly! The Big Guy’s kindness and mercy towards us has no limits. So… When we come to Hashem and ask for something, we don’t want Hashem to look at our personal merits and to base His response to our prayer on these! No matter how great they are, they will come to an end at some point! We want Hashem to simply help us because He is kind and merciful and His kindness and mercy don’t have limits… So even if we don’t deserve what we are asking for from our side, it doesn’t matter. We’re not asking Hashem to judge our request based on our merits. We’re asking Hashem to grant us our request simply because He is kind and merciful and His kindness and mercy have no limits.”
“Oh! I see! Wow! So aspect number 3 is that we should ask for free, undeserved gifts when we pray simply because the Big Guy is kind and merciful. And if I add the other two components, we should also be clear about the fact that there is no one else who can help us, which is like metaphorically falling down before Hashem to help us… And we should keep praying again and again for what we need, like child who doesn’t stop asking for an ice cream.”
“Wow! This is amazing! You know I’m going to try this 3 fold formula regarding my particular visa predicament! I reckon a lot of people would benefit from this 3 fold pray formula! It would be great to find a way to share this information with others!”
The old man nodded in agreement. “Yes, there are a lot of thinking Jews out there. It would be great to share this three fold formula with them too.”
— The End —
By the way this story was based on a true story with a few details changed to facilitate it being written in a story form. You know Jamie did employ this 3 fold formula in praying for a salvation from his difficult visa situation and he and his family did, after many days of prayer see an incredible series of ‘lucky breaks’ and ‘good fortune’ come their way and their visas got 100% sorted 😀.
Do you have anything that you’d like to pray for using this powerful 3 fold prayer formula?
If so… why not give it a shot?! You have everything to gain and nothing to lose! 😀
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This story is dedicated l’ilui hishmat, for the elevation of the soul of Henna bas Avraham