Teshuva in Personal Prayer
Breslev Israel is delighted to present our readers with a condensed and practical guide to personal prayer based on the teachings of Rabbi Shalom Arush shlit'a…
A condensed Guide to Personal Prayer based on the teachings of Rabbi Shalom Arush shlit'a, part 3
Following our warmup (part 1) and our initial expressions of gratitude (part 2), we now move on to the third part of our personal prayer – teshuva.
By searching for our good points we open the gates to Teshuva.
“Hashem, enlighten me as to my wrongdoing I have been punished for (for example, by becoming a debtor) and grant me the privilege to repent and make a spiritual rectification. Help me repent daily for this wrongdoing until it is fully atoned for.”
The four steps of teshuva:
1. Confession – telling Hashem what we’ve done wrong.
2. Remorse – we feel sorry for going against Hashem’s will.
3. Asking forgiveness – we ask Hashem’s forgiveness like a child would ask forgiveness from a loving parent.
4. Commitment – we commit to do our utmost to improve in the future, and not to slide back to our old ways.
Daily teshuva is the best preventative medicine in the world for suffering and tribulations, and a guarantee of happiness.
Remember this important rule: The Evil Inclination isn't interested as much in the transgression as he is in the sadness and depression that immobilize a person after the transgression.
With teshuva, we disarm and neutralize the Evil Inclination. Rather than sinking into despair, we use our misdeed as raw material that can be refined with teshuva and converted into a stepping stone to getting closer to Hashem.
Four guidelines for judging ourselves:
1. Hashem wants teshuva, not depression – The fact that I am aware of my problem is already 50% of the solution!
2. Hashem doesn’t give us a test we can’t pass– that means I have the ability to overcome it. We can’t blame our misdeeds on anyone or anything else.
3. With prayer we can accomplish anything – we should pray to Hashem to help us become stronger and to observe the particular mitzvah we’re having trouble with.
4. Remember we don't deserve anything! We can’t take Hashem’s forgiveness for granted, but literally beg Hashem to forgive us for our wrongdoing and to help us in the future. We must approach Hashem with humility, and not with demands for instant gratification. When we speak to Hashem modestly, and ask Him for a gift,our prayer become much more cogent.
Teshuva Prayer: "Hashem, please forgive me, for I unwittingly slipped up and (describe whatever you did wrong). Please don't be angry with me, and help me atone for my sins. Please be patient with me and don't punish me, because I'm sincerely trying my best to do better. I know that I still have a long way to go in overcoming my bodily appetites and bad habits that cause me to sin repeatedly. But believe me, Hashem, I didn't do this intentionally, and the last thing in the world I want to do is to sadden or disappoint you. I'm truly ashamed of what I did, and I beg your forgiveness. Please give me the inner strength and courage to do what's right, and to avoid making the same mistakes in the future. Hashem, please don't hide your Divine Presence from me.”
“Hashem, I’m only flesh-and-blood. My evil inclination always seems to know when to hone in on my weaknesses. I feel like a glass maker that works for days on a fine crystal goblet – with one thoughtless nudge of the elbow, the goblet is smashed into smithereens on the floor. Hashem, I have such a tremendous desire to do your will, but I repeatedly crash on the floor like broken glass. Please pick me up and help me start anew. Bring me close to You. Please help me overcome my evil inclination and to do Your will so I won't transgress anymore.”
Physical or Emotional Pain/Sickness: “Master of the World my body aches (state your sickness – physical or emotional – and what part of your body hurts or fails to function properly). You are surely just in everything You do. If I hadn't sinned, I most likely wouldn't be suffering such anguish now. But please, Hashem, show me what I did wrong and why I'm suffering. Help me correct the root cause and guide me on the path of true and complete teshuva. My beloved father in heaven, please forgive me for my wrongdoing, for the pain of knowing how much I've gone against Your will is even more severe than my bodily pain. Please be patient and compassionate with me, and help me return to You with a pure and loving heart…”
General Teshuva Prayer (Debts): “Master of the World! The wrongdoing, for which I have been punished (with debts), is clear and known only to You. (For our sages have said that there is a wrongdoing for which a man becomes a debtor, but they did not reveal which wrongdoing). Master of the World, please have mercy upon me. Forgive me for my misdeeds. Grant me the opportunity to repent and to atone for them. Please be patient with me.”
To be continued