Something magical happens in our home on Friday night. The bustle of the week stops. The noise of dinner time fades away. The iPad powers down (at least for a while).
What changes everything, however, is the moment we put our hands on our children and say a blessing over them. The blessing is short, personal, and changes every week. Its impact, however, is almost always the same: a smile, a hug, and a relaxed look of joy.
It’s not the words themselves that are magical. It’s words together with the mood and the people.
What Prayer Does
The old saying goes “A family that prays together stays together.” While experience and reflection make that statement seem simplistic for me, the truth is that prayer creates a unique feeling of kinship and joy.
It helps children feel connected and secure, and it reminds adults that there is more to life than constant activity. Prayer puts life in perspective.
Pray for Ourselves
Some might object that the purpose of prayer is not to make us feel better. It is to speak to God. This view of prayer is far too limiting.
In fact, the Hebrew word li-hit-palel means “to pray,” and it falls into the category of what linguists called “reflexive verbs.” That means that the direct object of the verb “to pray” is ourselves. When we pray, we are shaping ourselves.
In this time of holiday celebration, let us remember the power of prayer. It’s not just something we do in a church or synagogue. It’s something we can do in our homes, with our family and friends, and with all those we love.
By Evan Moffic,