I forgot my prayer book

Illustration by Ken Crane

A Jewish peasant boy came to the big town to celebrate Rosh Hashanah.
But found himself without his prayer book.

The wheel of his cart had come off right in the middle of the woods and it distressed him that this day should pass without his having said his prayers.
He thought:
“The Holy One blessed is enthroned in the heavens and we pray all year long to Him. We especially pray during these two days of Rosh Hashanah when the whole world is being judged and each person is being judged for the rest of the year.
“But I forgot my prayer book”.

So this is the prayer he made:
“I have done something very foolish, Lord.
“I came away from home this morning without my prayer book and my memory is such that I cannot recite a single prayer without it.
“So this is what I am going to do:
“I shall recite the alphabet five times very slowly and you, to whom all prayers are known, will put the letters together to form the prayers I can’t remember.”

And the Holy One said to his angels,
“Of all the prayers I have heard today, this one was undoubtedly the best because it came from a heart that was simple and sincere.”

story takem from The Hasidic Stories Home Page


  1. karina says:

    Qualquer oracao agrada a Deus se for com fé , amor e por aqueles que necessitam mais que nós mesmos…
    Quando oramos dilatamos o nosso coracao e acendemos uma velinha que nos ilumina em primeiro lugar e assim estaremos nos elevando a Deus e iluminando os espacos que Deus virá ocupar no proximo…

  2. Naseer says:

    irrespective of religion this is a wonderful feeling being heard your prayers and the loveliest is you feel so comfortable being protected by God, at least i always feel the warmth around me when i have such feelings around me.

  3. cynthia says:

    That boy is wise…and the story is truthly sweet

  4. Yan says:

    That reminds me of a Buddhist story:

    A monk is traveling around as he saw a beautiful mountain which is surrounded by harmonious and sacred white clouds. He knew, there must be a holy person who lives here.

    He visited the mountain, and found an old woman who was reciting her prayers. The harmonious atmosphere is no doubt the result of her pure heart. She must have been doing the same thing for decades.

    However, as the monk listened to her prayers, he found out some mistakes in her words. He pointed them out, and then left the old lady.

    As he almost reached the bottom, and turned back to admire the mountain again, he surprisingly found that the sacred clouds disappeared and all he could feel is sorrow and regret.

    He realized that he made a huge mistake and went immediately back to the old lady, and said: “I am so sorry to have made a big joke with you. All you prayers are correct, and you will be always blessed by Buddha. ”

    So, whether we make a perfect prayer or not is not that important, what really counts is whether we do it with our true hearts.



    1. aparna says:

      thanks for the beautiful story…

  5. Marie-Christine says:

    Thank you. I like that very much.
    The alphabet is the basis for a good foundation of words and its appreciation.
    They are the sounds that flood your imagination.
    With love

  6. Tiger Lily says:

    Simplicity is still the best policy.

  7. Kuldeep Kaur says:

    Reading the holy books make no difference to God only the prayer which comes from the heart is listened by Him, so be good to His creation, have compassion and love and He will reply, that’s my belief.

  8. David says:

    We all spell wrong.
    He puts it right.
    He is the Right,
    ‘we are imperfect…
    We are created,
    He is the Creator.

  9. pranav says:

    a simple story and shows faith……but also true that the world is full of pain…..!!!!

  10. Jerry Benjamin says:

    A similar story is told about the Baal Shem Tov. In our church we sand the middle hymn, :A, B, C, D EFG, etc. after the story. God hears.

  11. Myriam says:

    Dear Master of Life, Sir Paulo,

    Thank you, for this so wonderful deep story you share with us, and for all those you shared, will share, and also those you wrote so inspired for nurishing us. LIke a fire on the mountain beside…

  12. Anna says:

    I love any prayers. I talk to God like you. I ask God to show me the way what is for me. I thank God I`m alive.

    1. Naseer says:

      That’s always lovely to be closer to God no matter whatever the religion you follow

  13. Shiva says:

    Yes, indeed!

  14. Shruti says:

    @sushma: no prayer goes unanswered my dear.. Just wait for ur answer..

  15. Marina Scanlan says:

    Beautiful wish I could believe in God but this world is full of sufferring and there is no juistification for it. ( Bambi stuck in a fire in the woods for example.) Prayers do not seem to be answered sorry x

  16. vilma says:

    Que bonito mensaje las palabras mas bonitas son cuando a las personas le salen del corazon y con sinceridad a veces los seres humanos son tan hipocritas que se olvidan de lo verdadero del ser humano asi se equivoquen lo critican y no lo ayudan a salir del problema en que se encuentre se debe dar la mano al projimo asi sea con palabras sinceras o un consejo…….por eso no cobran cierto…………

  17. levi says:

    I think the Lord is telling me the same message… thanks Paulo Coelho… :)

  18. jackienoriega says:


  19. Gerry says:

    The Holy One in this story is THE god who I have imagined. :)

  20. Sonia says:

    I believe in what he writes as i feel the essence of its beauty.

  21. sushma says:

    True this prayer came from the depth of the heart but my prayer went unanswered may be—-

  22. Anagha says:

    So sweet…loved this one