Before the start of each day, I say the prayer Modeh Ani Lefanecha, and in so doing make the ultimate statement of certainty. Modeh ani lefanecha – “I give thanks before You – I give thanks in Your presence” – is a clear and strong statement of divine relationship. In it one speaks directly to the divine, acknowledging the daily presence of the *Spirit in our lives, the divine role in creation, and the divine aspect of ourselves created in the image of God. This story illustrates Certainty of God.
Back in 1893 there was a reading contest in London. People gathered to hear Shakespearean actors read Psalm 23, “The Lord is My Shepherd”, competing for the substantial prize to be awarded for the best recitation.
As the evening progressed, it seemed fairly clear that a young actor from the English countryside was going to win. He had read well and projected properly, moving his audience with his diction and nuance. The applause following his last reading made it clear that he was the audience’s favorite. As the final candidate stepped down, and the judges were preparing to award the prize to the young actor from the English countryside, a small, slightly-stooped old man appeared at the back of the auditorium, approached the judges and said,
“Excuse me. If you wouldn’t mind, I would also like an opportunity to read the psalm.”