The tradition has been embraced by many individuals of various faiths around the world. In fact, it is exceptionally common for Christian pilgrims traveling through the Old City of Jerusalem to halt by the Western Wall and leave a note. Millions of people in different religions visit this site and leave a written prayer on pieces of paper wedged into the cracks of the ancient stones.
Personally, as a Christian, I also believe that in this sacred place – in fact, I can truly believe that the Western Wall does not reject anyone regardless of their religion. People may have their differences when it comes to religion and beliefs, but one thing for sure is that people have one common thing that will always ensure that unity of individual – that there is a Lord, our God.
Let me share with you my most unforgettable story about the Western Wall. This occurred when I was a college student, to be more specific, it begun when I was doing an on the job training (OJT) at one of the best travel agencies in Manila. A staff asked me to write a letter of my prayer request on a piece of paper and fold it into a small square. Then, I would hand it over to someone who would often visit the Holy Land (known as Israel). That person will be the one to place it on the Western Wall for me.
As time passed, it was already March 2015, when I got my job at a travel agency and just after six months I traveled to the Holy Land for a pilgrimage tour. This was the first ever country that I went to. I always find myself returning to Holy Land – or at least, up until the pandemic occurred.
During my first visit, I went to the Western Wall and I learned that there was a segregation: one side, was meant only for men to pray and another side solely for women. Upon entering to the women section, I noticed that they were all praying deeply, leaning forward and touching their foreheads to the stones. With their eyes closed, they whispered their wishes and kissed the wall when they were done praying. I also saw other individuals walking backwards, still facing the wall until they left the sacred place. The local guide explained that some Jews do not turn their back to the Western Wall too hastily since they consider it disrespectful. I have also discovered that men should covered their heads with kippah and women should have their legs and shoulders covered before entering the sacred place.
In the year 2018, my realizations suddenly transpired. I clearly remembered my three prayer requests that I wrote in the letter.
First, I wished that I’d be able to maintain my grades and so that I could graduate with honors and march on the stage with my parents during graduation. In fact, I wanted them to be more proud of me. I didn’t want to the emcee to simply state my name in an alphabetically order along with the rest of my classmates. I really wanted to become special for my parents. Once the end of our semester came, the dean of our university posted the list of the tourism graduates and their respective GPA’s. It was at this moment that I nervously searched for my name and silently praying to the Lord. The tip of my index finger finally spotted my name on the list and I have found out that I am one of the Honorable Mention… Yes, I made it! I was really grateful to the Lord that he granted my prayer. On my graduation day back in April 2015, when the school emcee called out my name, I was able to go up on stage with my parents to received my medal and certificate.
My second wish was kind of related to the first one. When I graduated, I was hoping to get a job that would help my family and I financially. I knew to myself that one of the struggles after graduation is getting a job. There were too many requirements for me to obtain, not just paper documents but also myself, as a person. Luckily, God still heard my prayer. The best part? He granted me a bonus other than answering my prayer. Once I graduated, the company I did my OJT in, hired me on the same month of March! I am still working with them up until this day. Imagine, I was able to get a job a month before my graduation, — and yes, that was the bonus!
Lastly, my third prayer was very important to me. Ever since I was a child, my family and I did not have our own house to live in. We used to rent in different cities within NCR and in the province of Bulacan. We also used to live at my grandmother’s house in Cavite. As an eldest child, I started to have big dream, not just for myself but also for my two siblings and my parents. I prayed to the Lord that once I would be financially stable, I would want to buy a house. One that my family and I can proudly call our own. And so I did my part, I worked hard and saved money for it. Until October 2017, I was finally able to get a house for my family located in the province of Cavite. Honestly, I was not yet financially stable by that time, I still had to work hard and save money to settle the payment. And I knew God will always got my back! And the best thing is that He heard my prayer. Currently, my family and I already have our own house to live in.
God really has timing for everything. He knew when to give everything you need and deserve at the proper moment in your life. Though He answered all of my written prayers, I knew that He gave me so much more than what I wished for. He made me feel so loved and blessed. And I am utterly grateful for that…
In return, every time I go back to the Holy Land for work, I always ask my friends to write a letter of their prayer request so that I can put it on the Western Wall.
I hope that my story gave you an inspiration and strengthen your faith in God.