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Feeling like my relationship with God is based off Christian culture

I am a Reform American Jewish college student, studying Jewish history for my degree. I consider myself very connected to Judaism in an academic, cultural, and communal way, but never saw myself as really religious. I find value in going to services and like to wear a kippa, keep kosher, and wrap tefillin, but I never do any of it consistently.

This summer, I developed some really bad health issues that put me in one of the worst spots of my life so far. I don’t want to go into details, but it is a combination of physical and mental issues that are really terrible. I’m probably going to take a leave of absence from college and just feel really lost.

As a result of this, I’ve been trying more to connect to and pray to God. Not that I feel like I deserve anything, but it just feels like the right thing to do at this time. I’m treating my sicknesses, slowly, but know that God has a plan and I want to have a relationship with Them while it’s going on.

But I don’t really know what I’m doing or how I should be doing it. Sometimes I just put my hands together and just say stuff, and sometimes I open my siddur and try my best but I don’t know. Watching Christians pray on TV and talk to God in their own way makes me insecure that I’m not doing it in a very Jewish way. Can Jews just pray to God when they feel like it? Is feeling like “God has a plan/all things happen for a reason” an unjewish concept?

During Yom Kippur services a few days ago, our Rabbi cited a talmudic story that purported that the Gates of Prayer are open to those who are suffering. Does that mean my prayers are like theoretically heard?

I know these questions don’t have clear answers, but I’m interested in hearing a range of perspectives. Thank you everyone.

submitted by /u/chukymeow
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Source: Reditt