Contributed by: Rabbi Haim Shaul
Shlomo Hamelech in Mishleh writes, "Have you shown weakness on the day of adversity" Then your real adversity was your lack of strength" (24:10).
Life has many challenges and adversities and the verse in Eyob tells us that this is the lot of mankind, as the verse states "man was created to struggle" (Eyob 2:7).
However, many of us are unaware of our strengths and are left crippled and disabled by the challenges we are faced with during our lifetimes.
One of our greatest strengths is the power of prayer that each one of us posses. A man complained to a Rabbi about how many problems he had. The rabbi told him to pray and Hashem will help him. "But how do I know to pray properly" the man asked.
"Then that is your real problem," the rabbi answered. It is easier to blame our difficulties in life on external problems rather than on our own shortcomings. We then try to fix the external things while we remain the same, whether regarding problems at work or problems in our married lives. Changing our external circumstances leaves the "self" unchanged, and this manipulation of our environment rarely results in lasting relief.
The greatest adversity is not outside of us, but rather lies in our failure to fully develop our inner strength. And that is an important part of prayer, for the word "prayer" in Hebrew is "Mitpalel" which translates literally to mean to "judge oneself"; we must judge ourselves to see if we are on the right track and pray to receive help from Hashem in correcting ourselves.