Realizing the benefits, power of prayer |

Realizing the benefits, power of prayer

Amy Snelson
Contributed photo |

Traditionally I have thought of prayers in terms of hope and requesting a favor from God. However, I now am using prayer more often to give thanks. I’ve never been one to get down and pray. During services I will participate in the blessings over the challah, lighting the candles and the wine shared by all. But the Hebrew prayers are often left unspoken by me. I simply don’t believe in reciting other people’s words for something that is supposed to be so personal. However within the last two weeks I became an unknowing witness to the personal power of prayer, not just a witness, but also a recipient. And the prayer wasn’t even my own.

Without going into too much detail, the other week I was hospitalized with dehydration. No big deal, but an uncomfortable annoyance nonetheless. While in my hospital bed I got an unexpected visit from our very own Temple Bat Yam Rabbi Evon Yakar. I should have been expecting it since it’s just that sort of personal care that I’ve come to associate with the temple and its members. It was all the more meaningful because of all the many tasks our rabbi does, and he still set time aside to visit me. While there he asked permission to say a prayer of healing. “No foul, no harm,” I thought. “Sure,” I said, “have at it. Might as well get all the help I can.”

It was one of those prayers I mutter at every service for those in need of healing. Prefabricated and rote – or so I believed. Somehow hearing the Rabbi chant the prayer, inserting my name in the space provided, made a big impression on me. My entire being lit up to think that I could matter so much. I felt like I had a revelation.

I’m happy to report that I had a speedy recovery and that the very next day I was released from the hospital to return back to my normal life. Coincidence? Maybe. No doubt the doctor’s care put me back on my feet, but I also came out believing that prayer in of itself is powerful medicine, too, and can change the outcome.

I walked out of Barton with a new lease on life. But not without having learned a few lessons. Drink plenty of fluids and believe that positive thoughts channeled through prayer can make a difference in one’s outlook and therefore overall health.

Doctor’s bad news

Mr. R goes to the doctor for a check up. The doctor tells him “I’m afraid I have some bad news for you. You only have six months to live.” Mr. R is dumbstruck. After a while he replies “That’s terrible doctor. But I must admit to you that I can’t afford to pay your bill.” “OK” says the doctor, “then I’ll give you a year to live.”

Amy Snelson is a resident of South Lake Tahoe and a congregant of Temple Bat Yam. She can be reached at

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