First posted on The Times of Israel at: http://blogs.timesofisrael.com/vayetze-focused-prayer/
Baal Haturim Genesis: Vayetze
No steam or gas ever drives anything until it is confined. No Niagara is ever turned into light and power until it is tunneled. No life ever grows until it is focused, dedicated, disciplined. -Harry Emerson Fosdick
In the first and perhaps most famous of the Biblical dreams, Jacob sees a ladder that reaches the heavens with angels ascending and descending. The scene has been recreated in art and literature, has been interpreted widely and has served as a metaphor for connecting heaven and earth.
The Baal Haturim on Genesis 28:12 explains that the sound of the righteous praying constructs a ladder for angels to ascend. He further states that we have it in our power to also create heavenly ladders. All we need to do is focus during our prayers. Our focusing completes the ladder. If we are focused during our prayer then he assures us that our prayers will indeed ascend on these spiritual ladders and reach their destination.
And another source as to the benefits of praying:
The influence of prayer on the human mind and body is as demonstrable as that of secreting glands. Its results can be measured in terms of increased physical buoyancy, greater intellectual vigor, moral stamina, and a deeper understanding of the realities underlying human relationships. -Dr. Alex Carrel
May we make the time to pray and when we do so, may we have the ability to focus.
Mazal Tov to Nadia and Daniel Kacowicz on their wedding. May their focused prayers come true!