PHOTO: Worshipers Pray at the Western Wall in Jerusalem, Israel

Worshipers at Western Wall in Jerusalem pray and stuff prayer-filled notes into cracks in the wall

When I posted on Facebook that I had seen the Western Wall in Jerusalem, my friend Judie messaged me right back. “I hope you put a prayer into a crack in the wall.” I had no idea what she was talking about, so I turned to my guide. “If you write a prayer on a scrap of paper and shove it into a crack in the wall, your prayer is guaranteed to be answered,” she explained. “Of course, there is no guarantee when it will be answered,” she added mischievously.

Both Jews and Arabs consider the Western Wall in Jerusalem to be a holy site. King Herod built the wall to shore up the steep hillside known as Temple Mount. This allowed him to create a massive platform at the top, upon which he built the Second Jewish Temple. When Herod’s temple was destroyed by the Romans in AD 70 during the First Jewish-Roman War, the wall was the only structure to survive. Though all four sides of the wall remain to this day, the Western Wall was closest to the temple, thus it is considered the holiest place to pray.

Not one to pass up a spiritual opportunity of any kind, I returned a few days later, armed with paper and pen. I scribbled my prayer on the scrap of paper, descended to the courtyard, and stood with my nose to the immense limestone blocks. Squeezing my eyes shut, I prayed for what I always pray for. Peace. And health. Then I shoved my piece of paper into a crack with a thousand other notes, allowing my hand to linger on the cold limestone for just a few moments more. An immense sense of peace came over me as I turned toward the exit. I don’t know when my prayers will be answered. But I have faith that they will be.

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