By Jaron Zanerhaft
I once heard that all prayers can fit into three categories: Please, Thanks, and Wow. When I see something that makes me feel awe, even if it is terrible, I’ll express to God my veneration. When I find myself provided for or encounter a helping hand, my gratitude becomes like prayer. However, it’s not always clear which situations are appropriate to pray for something. How do you know when to ask? If you have confidence in yourself, you will formulate a vision that you believe in. But first, you must be able to compartmentalize the fear of rejection.
Too often our ideas of ourselves keep us from becoming the people that we can be or that we’d like to be. When do you suffer, even slightly, from any type of dysmorphia—the discrepancy between who you are and who you think you are? Clearly seeing who you are and what you have is the first step in harnessing the power of asking.
Even wanting to change a small, single, isolated aspect of your life is enough to start. From there, you can let the detail bleed over into the rest of your life, like the first red rose in a black and white film lets vibrant colors bleed into the rest of the scene.
Remember, nothing you can ask for is too big, nothing unattainable, everything within reach. “Our mistake all too often is not that we seek too much from the Almighty but that we don’t have the sense to ask Him for enough,” says Rabbi Benjamin Blech in his article Insulting God. “If God wants to say no, that’s up to Him. Your role is to make clear you believe in His power to accomplish anything, no matter how difficult.” When we dream big, we show God that we have Faith. The Faith needed to dream is the root of any successful asking process.
Regardless of results, we must always be vigilant, searching for the right opportunity for effective prayer. By asking, we create our own path, determining what we desire from our next steps. The answer may not come as we expect it, but it starts from within. We may never get the chance to grab that record contract, that book deal, or that lush investment opportunity, but as long as we keep in mind what we want and how we’d like to see our lives turn out, we’ll be ready for our chances— or better yet, our answers— when they arise.