Image: A woman in a minyan, praying. (Yochi Rappaport/Wikimedia)
There are a few prayers I have found particularly helpful in my Jewish journey. I share them with their Hebrew names and English translations. Links in the titles will take you to the Hebrew text.
Elohai neshamah (My God, the soul)
My God, the soul which you have placed within me is pure. You have created it; You have formed it; You have breathed it into me. You preserve it within me; You will take it from me, and restore it to me in the hereafter. So long as the soul is within me, I offer thanks before You, Lord my God and God of my fathers, Master of all creatures, Lord of all souls. Blessed are You, Lord, who restores souls to the dead.
Also: Thanks for Life and Breath is an alternative translation that focuses on the fact that “soul” and “breath” are both neshamah in Hebrew.
El nah, refah nah lah (Please God, Please Heal Her)
The brevity of this little prayer makes it very easy to learn, in Hebrew or in English. It is easily adjusted for situation:
El nah, refah nah lo – Please God, please heal him.
El nah, refah nah li – Please God, please heal me.
It also works as a mantra which can be repeated or chanted. It can synchronize with one’s breath.
Asher Yatzar (Who fashioned)
This prayer from the medieval period was originally intended to be said after using the bathroom, in gratitude for the working of the body. In Asher Yatzar: Prayer for the Body, I offer one plain translation and one modified translation for those of us whose bodies are hurt from illness or injury.
Rofeh HaCholim (Healer of the Sick) (Also known as MiShebeirach)
MyJewishLearning.com has a wonderful article on this prayer, along with a translation and an explanation. Normally we say this prayer for others but we can also say it for ourselves. The opening words are a reminder that as Jews, we are not alone even if we feel alone. Click the link above for the text and more about this wonderful prayer.