by Rabbi Daniel Lapin
Thought Tools 58
A Prayer For Prosperity
February 5th, 2009 11th day of Sh'vat, 5769 Issue # 58
A prayer for prosperity? Some react with instant suspicion. Is this another fast money scam that promises vast wealth for doing almost nothing? And when your new car or hoped-for financial windfall fails to appear, why, it only proves that you didn’t properly apply the secret or you didn’t pray hard enough.
Though there are plenty of fakes out there, the authentic thing does exist. Yes, ancient Jewish wisdom really does teach a prayer for prosperity. What makes this prayer legitimate?
Three crucial characteristics impart genuine efficacy to this prayer.
First, the prayer starts by asking on behalf of others. This powerful prayer principle states that if you pray on behalf of someone else while you yourself are also in need of the same aid, God answers you before He responds to the person on whose behalf you actually prayed. Thus, right from the start, praying connects you to others rather than becoming a self-centered indulgence.
The second characteristic of this prayer is that it contains what golfers call ‘follow-through.’ In other words, I don’t stop my swing as soon as I hit the ball, my golf club follows through and continues swinging way over my left shoulder. (I may be a little out of my territory here since I have never played golf).
In the same way I don’t stop my prayer as soon as I have completed my request. I follow through with a commitment of what I shall do if God fulfills my request. This is not by way of a ‘bribe’—Hey God, give me money and I’ll be a nice guy! It indicates that you have a map. You know where you want to go. The money you need is not the ultimate end; it is but the means to get to where you really want to be.
Lastly, the prayer is not uttered by itself. It is prayed in context. You will see that the closing phrase of the Prosperity Prayer refers to the manna which God sent to Israel in the desert. Immediately after saying this prayer (not thinking it, but saying it loud enough for one’s own ears to hear one’s words) one reads a section of chapter 16 of Exodus which details the account of the manna. Together, this prayer along with the verses from Exodus, comprise a powerful and efficacious spiritual tool.
Let me explain why these two elements combine so effectively. May I use as an example a firearm? An effective weapon contains two elements, a gun and a round of ammunition. Neither is much good without the other.
The round of ammunition has an enormous quantity of energy packed into the shell by a far-away ammunition manufacturer. This is in the form of chemical energy, what we used to call gun powder. The gun can unleash that energy, focus it down the barrel, and shoot the bullet along the desired trajectory.
The Prosperity Prayer resembles the gun in my example. The mysterious manna verses from Exodus (click) resemble the shell. They have been packed with enormous energy by a far-away Manufacturer—God—who created heaven and earth.
The hundred or so words of the Prosperity Prayer possess the capacity to unleash the 3,000 year-old energy within the account of Moses and the manna, focus its intent and send impact into your life.
Ancient Jewish wisdom considers this a particularly effective week for the Prosperity Prayer since this coming Shabbat, February 7th, in synagogues all around the world, the portion of the Torah that will be read is entitled Beshallach and it contains Exodus chapter 16—the account of Moses and the manna.
May it be your will Lord our God and God of our fathers that you provide a living for all your people of the House of Israel along with my livelihood and that of the members of my home included with them, smoothly and without pain, with honor and not with embarrassment, in a legal and not in a forbidden way, in order that we will be able to perform your service and to study your Torah, just as you fed our fathers manna in the desert in a dry and desolate land.
Do you want to try this prayer? It is of course up to you but like chicken soup, how could it hurt? If you do, say the prayer above and then immediately continue with the passage from Exodus.
Over the centuries, this Prayer for Prosperity has acquired the reputation of being helpful.
While we can be confident that all prayers are heard, we aren’t always aware of the response. Sometimes the response is quite different from what we expected. The response may manifest itself in a different place or time. Nevertheless, we are always better off for having prayed because doing so connects us with our Creator.