Tens of thousands have had their davening transformed through the bestselling Praying with Fire series. Now, it’s time for teens to enhance their tefillos. ArtScroll spoke with Rabbi Heshy Kleinman, author of the Praying with Fire books.
AS: What makes this new book especially for teens?
RHK: The scenarios and stories we use to illustrate the concepts of tefillah were revised to relate to the experiences of teens and young adults. In this way, the teen reader gets a direct sense of how the concept can help him or her. We also used the more concise, direct writing style that younger readers prefer. And we added new material that opens pathways for finding an emotional connection to Hashem through prayer.
AS: Can teenagers really change the way they daven in just 5 minutes a day?
RHK: Of course! Both teens and adults benefit from small daily doses of learning. This method gives the reader time to more fully focus on and absorb what he’s learned and to try putting it into practice. The words on each page are like a powerful multivitamin; if you took the whole bottle in one day, your body couldn’t stand it. Small daily doses, on the other hand, make a noticeable difference over the course of time.
AS: We know davening is important, but what are the benefits teens will see in their everyday lives if they learn to connect to Hashem through tefillah?
RHK: In Tehillim we say, “Gam ki eilech b’gei tzalmoves, lo ira ra ki Atah imodi,” – Even if I go through the most frightening experience, knowing Hashem is there with me prevents me from feeling panic and despair. A person who learns to connect with Hashem through tefillah feels the comforting presence of his loving Father in every situation. There is not a more valuable acquisition for a teen or young adult — or anyone.
AS: Did you have input from teens as you wrote the book?
RHK: Much of our input came from the tefillah program we are already successfully running in both boys and girls high schools, which is currently available by request. The overwhelming majority of these students wanted a book that would make a positive difference in their lives. This book is our response. We are confident that they will grab this opportunity and use it to bring yeshuos and berachah to themselves and to all of Klal Yisrael.