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My Prayer at the Wailing Wall

In this excerpt from Daily Guideposts 2013, Guideposts‘ editor-in-chief Edward Grinnan shares his moving experience of praying at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.

Edward Grinnan, Guideposts editor-in-chief
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And since we know He hears us when we make our requests, we also know that He will give us what we ask for. —1 John 5:15 (NLT)

I’d always been curious to visit the Western “Wailing” Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem. I didn’t expect how deeply moved I would be. Built as a retaining structure on the western flank of the Temple Mount by King Herod two decades before Christ’s birth, the wall has taken on tremendous significance in the centuries since.

Jews came here initially to lament the destruction of the temple by the Romans.  Now, the wall is a place of prayer. Pieces of paper with prayer requests are slipped between the cracks of the ancient stones.

At the last minute, I decided to write out some prayer requests of my own, filling up a scrap of paper at lunch with the Guideposts Holy Lands Tour group. I carried the paper with me all afternoon, to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, believed by many to be the site of Golgotha, and down the Via Dolorosa, the path along which Christ carried His Cross. It was dusk when we arrived at the Temple Mount. Across a great courtyard the wall stood, illuminated, a fifteen-story relic of an ancient time. Yet it felt so alive and contemporary.

I was uncertain of the protocol. Orthodox Jews were bowing and praying rhythmically. Finally, I walked up and tucked my prayer requests deep in a crevice. Then with my fingertips I touched the stones.

A tremendous peace swept over me. I bowed my head and let the feeling take me, a sense of reassurance and love utterly unexpected in its power, both a whisper and a roar. Finally, I stepped back. I looked up and saw the prayer requests in every nook and cranny, hundreds, maybe thousands. And I thought about how long this wall had stood, like God’s hand, taking our cares from us.

Lord, I pray at a wall that has survived for two thousand years and heard the prayers of millions. Let my humble prayers join that chorus praising Your goodness.

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