October 13, 2013

Five Tools Of Being Sincere With God

Five Tools Of Being Sincere With God
written by Rabbi Noah Weinberg
[source: Aish]

Tool #1: Expect The Good

Anticipate that God wants to help you. Anything that you could ask Him for is infinitesimally small compared to what He has already given to you.

If you don't expect the good, God is not going to invade your space. He wants you to connect to your Father in Heaven. Yet He wants you to work for that understanding.

By not answering you, God is telling you that you've got a problem, that you need to change. That's doing us a big favor. Because if He wouldn't do that, we'd just remain stuck in our illusions, unclear on the idea that God can do it all.
You're 22-years-old and driving through Manhattan in rush hour in the middle of July. Red lights... Gridlock... Honking... Summer heat... A-g-g-r-a-v-a-t-i-o-n.

What if your father was in charge of all traffic lights in New York City and was able to track your location at any given time? He would arrange for green lights all the way! Green light! Zing... green light! Ding... green light!
The Almighty can arrange it for you. He created the universe. Traffic in Manhattan is not overly taxing for Him.

So here you go. Green light, green light, green light, green light. You say to yourself: This is too good to be true. I don't deserve this.

Red light.

If you don't anticipate God's help, then you have lost sight of God as your Father. So God breaks the flow in order to realign your focus.

Focus on the fact that the Almighty wants everything good for you. When you do that, He'll move mountains to answer your prayer.

Tool #2: Be Shocked If You Don't Get It

Nothing God does is by accident. If things don't go smoothly for you, your first reaction should be: "What's going on? Why is God doing this? Why is He trying to get my attention?"
An uncle wrote newsy letters to his nephew at college. After six months and numerous letters, the nephew hadn't written back once.

In the next letter, the uncle wrote his standard letter. But this time, he added a P.S.: "I've enclosed a hundred dollar check for you." Then he deliberately mailed the letter without a check.

The nephew received the letter and (of course) couldn't find the check. As expected, the uncle immediately got a letter in return: "College is great... I like my dorm room... I'm taking physics. By the way, you forgot to enclose the check. Love, your favorite nephew."
The Almighty knows how to get our attention. When we forget that He loves us, He sends a red light to refocus us.

But there's one big difference between the uncle and God: God is not hurt when we ignore Him. We are. God has no needs and doesn't need a relationship with us. It is we who need a relationship with Him. Our greatest pleasure is being in touch with God. That's why He arranges small mishaps to get our attention. All for our own benefit.

Tool #3: Listen To God's Lessons

If you are serious about a relationship with God, then you understand that God is always teaching you.

When life is suddenly full of inconveniences thrown your way, stop and ask: Why is He trying to get my attention?

When the problems are larger than minor inconveniences - i.e. an auto accident or financial stress, then God is calling out to you on a different level. There is something deep within yourself that you need to rectify.
A young man came into Aish HaTorah to meet with me. "Rabbi," he said, "I've got news for you. I don't need a yeshiva. You see, God and I are very close. God does miracles for me."

I looked at him a little suspiciously. "Would you mind illustrating a miracle or two?"

"Sure. Once I was riding my motorcycle up a winding mountain road. A truck came around a curve and swerved into my lane. My only choice was to either smash into the side of the mountain, or to go off the cliff. Next thing I know, I'm flying through the air with nothing but rocks beneath me. I screamed out, 'God! Help!'

"I hit the ground and it was a miracle. My bike landed between two rocks, which acted like shock absorbers and cushioned the impact. I was gently tossed off my bike into a hedge of bushes. I didn't get a scratch! So you see, God does miracles for me."

I looked at him and said, "Tell me, my friend. Who do you think pushed you off the cliff?!"
God is not Superman. He doesn't wait until you stumble off a cliff so He can fly in at the last moment to save you. He controls everything in your life: the troubles and the solutions.

Don't wait for God to push you off a cliff and catch you. Pay attention now and ask: "What do you want from me, God? What is the message? And if You want to get my attention, please do so without too steep a cliff!"

Tool #4: Focus On What You Want

To get our prayers answered, we have to be clear that what we are requesting is really the right thing ? and not just some momentary whim.
When I was 8-years-old, the World's Fair came to New York. My whole class decided they were going to play hooky one day and go to the World's Fair. But there was one condition: Everyone had to bring a dollar. No freeloaders allowed. If you didn't have a dollar, you couldn't come.

I didn't have a dollar, and the only way I could get a dollar from my father was to learn a chapter of Mishna by heart. But there was no way I could pull off a whole chapter on such short notice. So I figured I might as well go to school that day. I'd be the only one there ? a hero!

I started walking to school, when it suddenly occurred to me: Keep your eyes on the pavement, Noah, maybe you'll find a dollar!

I started looking. One block. No dollar. Two blocks. No dollar. I started to pray, "Almighty, a dollar bill... You have them around the street all the time. Just this one time, let me find a dollar bill."

Two more blocks, no dollar. I thought maybe God wants something from me. So I said, "Almighty, I'll take out the garbage. And I won't fight with my sister." I was determined to strike a deal.

No dollar.

Finally, I round the corner and the school is in sight. The moment of truth. "Almighty, give me one dollar, and I'll never, ever do anything wrong again for the rest of my life."

And then I caught myself. "Noah, who are ya kidding? If you find the dollar, you're gonna play hooky!"
Many times the Almighty sends us what we truly need, but we don't recognize it because we haven't done the work of clarifying our needs! God's answer ? whether yes or no ? always tells you something important about yourself.

So before you ask, make sure it's good for you.

Tool #5: Make An Effort

Prayer is not an escape from personal effort or responsibility. It is a vehicle for us to refine our choices, and to realize that God is the source of all that we accomplish.

Prayer focuses us on reality, and keeps us in touch with where our life is heading. It's not just a pipe dream. You have to work for what you want. If you're half-hearted, you're not serious about it.

When you pray, reevaluate every step of the way:

Do I really want to accomplish this?

How much am I prepared to sacrifice for it?

Is it worth the price?

Are my goals realistic and right for me?

Am I getting there?

The purpose of life is growth. Prayer is not a magic button to escape that process. By compelling us to make an effort, God gives us the means to truly grow.

God is always waiting for your call. The lines are open. Toll-Free. Pick up the phone today.

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