Open My Lips for Prayer

By Rabbi Jill Maderer

This Friday, we continued our Shabbat summer series “Spiritual Power in Prayer” with a text that focuses on the one-line introduction to the Amidah: “O Lord, open my lips and let my mouth declare Your praise.”  The commentary teaches:

“As a person begins to pray, reciting the words: ‘O Lord, open my lips and let my mouth declare Your praise,’ the Presence of God comes into him. Then it is the Presence herself who commands his voice; it is she who speaks the words through him.  One who knows faith that all this happen within him will be overcome with trembling and with awe”  (Your Word is Fire: The Hasidic Masters on Contemplative Prayer, Arthur Green and Barry Holtz.).Our discussion focused on the curious statement that God helps us recite our prayers.  Perhaps, God is the Source of all—even the source of the words of prayer directed to God.  We also noted the use of the term “Presence” meaning Shechinah, which is God’s feminine Dwelling Presence described in mystical literature.  In your own reading of this text, how do you think it can add meaning to the recitation of “Eternal God, Open my lips that my mouth may declare Your praise?”  Join the discussion here and join it next Friday, August 14, for a study of the theme of awesomeness and the Givurot prayer.