A Hasidic story tells of a tailor who approaches his rabbi and says, “I have a problem with my prayers. I am a tailor, and from time to time people compliment me on my skills. It is very satisfying to hear their praise. One kind word can keep me going for a week. But if people came to me all day every day saying, “Mendel, you are a wonderful tailor”, “Mendel, you are a wonderful tailor”, “Mendel, you are a wonderful tailor” it would drive me crazy. It would get to the point I wouldn’t want to hear another compliment every again! I would tell everyone to go away and leave me to work in peace. And this is what bothers me about prayer. If just once a week we told God how wonderful he is, and just a couple of us did this each week, that is all God would need. Is God really so insecure that he needs us all to praise him morning, noon and night? Hundreds, thousands, millions of people praying, all praising him. Surely this would drive God crazy?!”

The rabbi smiled and said, “Mendel, you are absolutely right. You have no idea how difficult it is for God to listen to all our praises, day in, day out, 24 hours a day. But God knows how important it is for us to offer our praise, and so, because of God’s great love God tolerates all of our prayers”

Topics: prayer, praise, worship
Source: Told in H Kushner, Who Needs God (Fireside, 1989)