Contemporary Prayer
Oil on canvas, 60 H x 80 W cm / 23.6 H x 31.5 W in
Created by Ofir Hirsh under the Terrenero identity in 2013.

It is challenging to discuss the essence of prayer without delving into an exhausting philosophical debate. I aim to live a conscious life full of meaning, but at the same time, I realize how tiny I am, and how insignificant we humans are in this universe. There are many things we can do, but so many things we cannot. When I pray, I recognize my inability to shape the outcome of a certain event, and I ask for help from a higher authority, whom I believe has the power to make it happen. Childish? I agree. On the other hand, realizing that there are certain things that are out of my control is quite realistic.
Since I was a child, I have used to go to the Synagogue, the temple that some Jewish people visit, to worship God and pray. I quite liked it, especially because the quality time I had spent there with my loving father. In between the prayers, we used to discuss our history and the nuances of our belief. We also dwelt on the meaning of the ancient words and phrases. Yes, they are all old prayers, that were written way back in history, in biblical Hebrew. Some of them are still relevant, as they deal with the very basic human behavior and values. Others are entirely out of date, but no one will dare to edit God’s words nor God’s messengers’ words.
When I grew older, I still enjoyed the happening in the synagogue with my old man, but I became a bit tired of the repetition. While many things in our life constantly change, we are supposed to repeat the same prayer throughout our lives. I was also fed up with the generalization. One prayer for all; young and old, religious or not etc. While I kept singing with everyone else the traditional prayers, I considered them more as an entertainment and a social matter. For my own purposes, I began to develop my personal way of praying; a free style, direct conversation with God. I always had either something to ask for, or something to thank for. I could do it whenever I needed it, from wherever I was; The beach, mountains, in bed, while driving, or during a flight. God never punished me for missing an appointment, disappearing for a while, or for praying undressed. My prayers gradually became an important part of my life, and a compass to the intentions of my heart.
When my girlfriend and I wanted to have kids together, my prayers became more frequent and intense. Only God knows how long and challenging was our journey, and while in it, I tried to be a supportive and calming companion. As most of the tasks were out of my jurisdiction, and since I am a believer, I took charge of the prayers department. I was praying my free style prayers to God every day. It wasn’t really begging, or a giving direct order like : “Bring me a baby right now! Please please please!!!”, but more conversational type of requests like: “If you think this is the perfect timing, and if you foresee a happy and healthy future for this baby, please bring it on. I trust you.”
When we did become pregnant, I thanked him a lot, but I knew that it was too early to celebrate, and indeed, the complications arrived quite soon. Then, I prayed again, and prayed some more. I wouldn’t exaggerate if I’d say that I spent a few hours a day in conversations with God, or as I call them contemporary prayers.
In “Contemporary Prayer”, the work above, I prayed through painting. I painted myself, kneeling on my knees. My arms are raised towards the sky, and my body turns feminine, as I am so deeply involved with this pregnancy. I prayed to God for healthy results, and God has heard my prayer!