A woman proudly hung on her mantelpiece a plaque that read, “Prayer Changes Things.” A few days later, the plaque was missing from its place. The woman asked her husband if he had seen it. “I took it down, I didn’t like it,” he replied. “But why?” the woman asked. “Don’t you believe that prayer changes things?” Yes, I honestly do,” her husband answered. “But it just so happens that I don’t like change, so I threw it away.”
Over the next several days together, we will ask God for change; change in our lives, change in our communities, and change in our world. Some of those changes will occur, and others will not. Some changes will be acceptable to us, and other changes we will protested.
The words of the machzor remain the same year after year; the sound of the shofar, Avinu Malkeinu, Unetaneh Tokef. Will we permit those words to pierce our hearts and create change? In Musaf, we will recite ochila lael, God, give me the permission to pray, to open my mouth with words of supplication. May we each have the strength to take these words, look at that plaque on the wall, and comprehend that prayer truly can change us, when we give prayer a chance.