As Reconstructionists and followers of Kaplan who live in a naturalist universe, we often ask ourselves how a person can pray when no one is listening. For us there is no supernatural God out there who hears our prayers.
Yet we only need one example of a Reconstructionist prayer in order to understand what prayer might mean to a follower of Kaplan. In Or Chadash, the prayer book of the Renewal Movement fashioned by the life and thought of Reb Zalman Schachter-Shalomi and his disciples, we find a prayer for healing that perfectly fits our needs. It illustrates the primary meaning of prayer for us, which is a mobilization of the self toward our ideals. We need to move from where we are to where we know we should be. Prayer can help us in that journey to the transcendent.
Rabbi Rami Shapiro, a great liturgist, is the author of this prayer:
“May those whose lives are gripped in the palm of suffering … discover through pain and torment the strength to live with grace and humor. May they discover through doubt and anguish the strength to live with dignity and holiness. May they discover through suffering and fear the strength to move toward healing.” [Adapted from Or Chadash (draft edition 1989), page 315.]