We all know someone who wishes to get married, or have a baby, or recover from health problems, or overcome financial setbacks, or… Perhaps that person is you.
When all our efforts and prayers seem to be going unanswered, the great rabbis of Jerusalem have long recommended a more powerful track—40 days of prayer at the Western Wall. Hundreds, if not thousands, of Jerusalemites will testify that their heart’s desires were fulfilled after 40 consecutive days at the Kotel.
In early 2003, Gershon Burd experienced this for himself: At the time, he was learning in a yeshiva in Jerusalem. After five years of searching for his soul mate, he tried 40 days at the Kotel. During that period, across the city, a young woman named Batya, who had not even been dating, suddenly felt that she was ready for marriage. An acquaintance introduced them and they were engaged two weeks later.
In order to bring the power of the 40-day prayer to the world while raising money for needy Jerusalem families, Gershon and Batya Burd started Western Wall Prayers (www.westernwallprayers.org) in 2004. Users sign up online and are invited to request their prayer. They are then matched with a kollel man or wife who goes to the Kotel for 40 consecutive days, giving charity for them each time, and speaks the prayer, word-for-word, asking for Divine Mercy on their behalf.
Meanwhile, the donor prays the same prayer every day along with their agent, creating a potent partnership and growth experience. In return for spiritual services rendered, the donor gives a minimum $90 donation to support needy kollel families in Jerusalem.
“Under Jewish law, if you appoint an agent to do something for you, it is exactly as if you are doing it yourself,” says Batya Burd. “The donation is a material blessing that we connect to the spiritual blessing of praying at the Kotel. It’s prayer and charity in one—a blessing for all involved.”
Obviously, Western Wall Prayers is not guaranteeing answers to every person’s prayers, as all is ultimately in G-d’s hands. But the Western Wall Prayers website lists 110 “success stories,” from the cute to the downright miraculous.
Brooklyn’s Ella Sanders had been on the shidduch scene for five years when she heard about Western Wall Prayers. When she asked that her agent pray that she marry the man that she was then dating seriously, she was advised to make her prayer more general. “Well, that shidduch didn’t work out,” says Sanders. “Instead, I met another man, with incredible midos, and we got married a few months later! It was amazing. We now have a baby boy.”
After Eli P., of Chicago, was diagnosed with colon cancer, his son contacted Western Wall Prayers and asked them to pray 40 days for a complete recovery. “On the 36th day, the doctors operated and were astounded to find nothing but a small wound,” says Eli. “I was also surprised until I found out that my son had sponsored a prayer agent for me.”
Other notable stories include Dr. Stephen Finstein, of Dallas, who credits the 40-day prayer with the safe return of his son from 12 months in Iraq as an infantry soldier. Paulina Aguilar, of Chile, says that she gave birth to her daughter exactly one year after her agent began praying that she become a mother. Lisa M. says that her mother’s wondrous recovery from cancer has her doctor “looking to the Heavens for an explanation.”
To sign up for prayers for yourself or a loved one, fill out a form online at www.westernwallprayers.org.