Earlier today, I was reading a fascinating article by Kylie Ora Lobell, named ‘Why I Pray Every Day’. I felt that I could relate to Kylie’s emotions on every level; although, unlike her, I am not a convert, I feel that, as a baalas teshuvah, I had encountered much of the same uncertainty and confusion. What’s more, her hurried days, beginning with oversleeping and ending with a feeling of stress and a glance at the to-do list sounded so much like my own that I could hardly believe it.
Lately, I’ve been waking up feeling overwhelmed and anxious about the day ahead, spending much of the day- like Kylie- trying to balance housework, writing and a number of other tasks, and going to bed late feeling both exhausted and stressed and yet as if I’ve accomplished nothing. There’s never a moment when I’m not thinking about what I need to do next, if I’ve done enough, if there’s something else to tick off.
Other than when I daven.
Yesterday, I was so busy that I almost forgot to daven. I ended up davening a ‘Belzer mincha’ at an extremely late hour. As I remarked on this, someone else told me that I wasn’t obligated to do such a thing. Very true. But, as a woman- in spite of, or perhaps because I’m not obligated- I derive a great sense of peace from prayer. Admist the hustle and bustle of the day, I take a few minutes away from the tasks and lists and stress and worry and simply talk to my Creator. Yes, I use a siddur, but as I say Tehillim and speak to G-d, my words are anything but rigid and structured.
It’s life changing.
Since I became observant, I took on many things, all of which have helped me in one way or another, if only through bringing me closer to G-d. Tznius, for example, something which was always at least slightly important to me, has given me a greater amount of self-esteem and confidence since I began observing it fully. Torah study, meanwhile, has expanded my knowledge and effected me intellectually as well as spiritually. But there’s nothing quite like davening. Nothing which has enriched every single day of my life in such a unique and special way.
Truly, prayer has changed my whole life.