What to Pray

For What To Pray

Ask for Ultimate Goal

During personal prayers, ask for the ultimate goal of what you seek, not for the means of getting there.


  • Ask to find an appropriate spouse very soon (rather than praying to marry a specific person).
  • Ask to get a good job (rather than praying to get a specific job for which you will interview).

Praying for a Miracle

You may not pray for a miracle or any occurrence that would require a large deviation from nature.

Where To Add Personal Requests in Amida

You may add personal requests to the amida on weekdays (not Shabbat or Jewish festivals) in these prayers:

  • For livelihood:
    • In the amida's 9th paragraph (bareich aleinu), between mi'tuvecha and u'vareich shnateinu.
  • For a general request:
    • In the amida's 16th paragraph (shema koleinu), before ki ata shomei'a.
    • Even better, just before saying yihiyu l'ratzon.

Yehi Ratzon of Refa'einu for a Sick Person

To pray for a sick person, say the yehi ratzon inserted into the refa'einu (8th) paragraph of the amida on weekdays (but not on Shabbat or Jewish festivals) either:

  • When saying the amida (add your request after "makoteinu"), or
  • After reciting Tehilim (Psalms) for the sick person.

Praying for a Very Sick Person

When you have been praying for a sick person who might have died: assume he or she is still alive until you know otherwise.

Praying for a Sick Non-Jew

You may pray for a sick non-Jew to be healed.

Note: Use his or her normal (first and last) names in any language he or she uses.  It is customary to use the sick person's mother's name.

Copyright 2015 Richard B. Aiken. Halacha L’Maaseh appears courtesy of www.practicalhalacha.com Visit their web site for more information.