Excerpt from Gerda Weissmann Klein’s autobiography, All But My Life ©1957:
But later, much later, I thought about my way of praying. It started in school with a play about ancient Egypt. Each character uttered a prayer: the mighty Pharaoh prayed for a victory, his opponent asked for his own success, a sick man begged for health, the doctor asked for people to be ill, and each prayer, clean and swift, like a white bird, shot upward. In Heaven, it met with the other prayer that had asked for just the contrary. They turned against each other in bloody battle, and usually both fell back lifeless to the earth. A large number of girls had taken part in that play. I thought I had a beautiful role. I was a poor little boy, the son of a fellah. My mother told me to pray, but I didn’t know how. I had no wishes, so I just looked at the river that fertilized our field, at the warm sun, at the ripe fruit in our garden, and I said, “Thank you, God, for the warm sun, for the blue Nile, for my father and mother,” and my little-boy prayer, like the others, sailed straight up to the throne of God. Nobody defied my prayer, and nobody else thanked the Maker. They were all asking Him for things. He turned his face upon the little barefoot boy…
I was about twelve years old at the time. From then on I had always thanked God for the gifts He bestowed upon me, and they were many.