(c) 2000 Dr Hendel; 1st appeared in Torah Forum (c) Project Genesis

Date: Wed, 22 Jul 1998 21:49:20 -0400
From: rhendel@mcs.drexel.edu (Russell Hendel)
Subject: Re: Davening (Praying)

Yaakie and Gershon Dubin [TfV4N18] raise the question of what you should
think during Davening of shmoneh esray.

First let us recall (Rambam: Prayer, Chap 1, Par 1-5) that Biblically
Prayer must come from the heart. The only required structure is * first
acknowledge you speak to God, who is King * ask about your daily needs
(like a servant before his master) * thank God for what he has done for you

The current shmoneh esray (according to the Rambam) simply CONVENIENTLY
LISTS IN HEBREW the MAJOR THINGS that people ask God about (Wisdom,
..,health, livelihood..). >  >  They are chapter headings for major needs
(which I guess we should fill in)<  <

So it is clear what you SHOULD think about: Think about those things you
need. If you pray ATAH CHONAYN (the first blessing, asking for
understanding) youthink of those particular needs of yours for
understanding: E.g. success in a school test, or success in a business
negotiation, or an interview, in negotiating a mortgage, in learning torah
etc. Whatever you need in understanding that is what you should think about

This is clearer in the 4th blessing..It is traditional when praying for
healing to think of some sick person you know (or even mention his/her name)

I hope this helps on this very important mitzvah.

Russell Jay Hendel;Phd ASA
Rhendel @ mcs drexel edu