Ata Chonen: A Prayer for Wisdom
If we lack powers of wisdom and discernment, no other request of God really matters.
Prayer offers us a daily opportunity to embrace God with words while seeking — through the language of petition and supplication — a way to articulate our most profound needs. It is not in the asking, but in the searching and wrestling that we gain clarity.
This kind of penetrating lucidity is not a regular and anticipated outcome of prayer. It comes in that rare moment – and almost always when we do not set out to achieve it – that we are gifted with an intellectual or emotional breakthrough
The Amidah is the spinal cord of the Jewish prayer experience; all prayer that precedes it is preparation to ask God to meet our needs with a combination of humility and spiritual audacity. In the very first of our requests, we ask for the wisdom to be God-like in the day ahead.
In the blessing known as Ata Chonen we recite: “You grace humans with wisdom and teach humanity perception. Bestow upon us Your knowledge, insight and understanding. Blessed are you the grantor of wisdom.”