A typical day for me begins like this: The alarm clock goes off, and I wake up still tired because I went to bed too late the night before. My dogs jump onto my husband and I, licking our faces to convince us to get up already and let them outside. I turn off my alarm and check my email, only to find that it’s 9 a.m., and I’ve already gotten a slew of messages for that day.

I start my day stressed out, and it usually progresses thatI take a deep breath and close my eyes. It works way until bedtime. I’m a self-employed writer. I have a husband and pets and a house to take care of, and I live in the chaotic, expensive city of Los Angeles. I’m usually able to keep it all together, but it’s far from easy. There are moments when I think about all of it—everything I have on my “To Do” list, all my expenses, all my goals I have yet to accomplish—and feel overwhelmed.

And so, I set aside a few minutes to pray, and it gives me the ability to put things in perspective.

When I pray, I connect to G‑d. I have the opportunity to thank G‑d for everything in my life, as well as learn a little bit of Torah in the process. It shows me that my life is really in G‑d’s hands, and that I shouldn’t worry because G‑d has always taken care of me.

It also shows me that there is a bigger force than myself at work. I can’t control everything, so I’m able to let some of that stress go. I know it doesn’t matter how much I worry because it won’t change anything.

At the end of a busy week, in the middle of making Shabbat dinner—when I’m simultaneously answering emails on my phone and my husband is scrambling to get his work done before sunset—I take a moment to think of what this scene might look like from above. It’s utter lunacy.

I’ll grab a siddur (prayerbook) or free-form talk to G‑d, and ask Him to help me just be still. I take a deep breath and close my eyes, and ask Him to help alleviate my worries. It works. I find that prayer always has the transformative power to calm me down.

Before I acknowledged the existence of G‑d, I was an atheist gentile. When I began the conversion process to Judaism seven years ago, I learned that G‑d was the ruler of the world, which has helped me take everything in stride.

Yet it wasn’t enough to have this belief. I discovered that G‑d wants a relationship with all of His creations, and that a great way to connect is through prayer.

I think of G‑d as a parent. When I eat a meal that my parents make, it would be ungrateful of me not to thank them. That’s why I always remember to bless my food before eating it.

I thank G‑d every morning for giving me life for another day and say the Shema to affirm my belief in Him. I pray before I go to sleep for giving me another day to fulfill my life mission and time to spend with my husband, my family, my friends and my pets. I pray in synagogue on Shabbat to thank G‑d for allowing me one day of rest, when I can be at peace and take a break from the toils of daily life.

Prayer is the conduit for strengthening my relationship with G‑d. When I feel closer to G‑d, I also feel more at ease because I know that everything will be OK. It helps me worry just a little bit less.

I didn’t always have a good attitude towards prayer. For aWhen I feel closer to G‑d, I feel more at ease long time, I didn’t know what was going on in synagogue, and I was too embarrassed to ask questions. When you’re in the midst of converting or becoming religious, it can feel a bit uneasy to ask for help when it seems like everybody else knows what he or she is doing. I learned not to worry about them, and to focus on my own prayers and do my best.

I also learned with the help of a chavruta, a study partner. And this year, my husband surprised me with my own personal siddur, which I carry on me when I go to synagogue to ensure that I can always follow along.

I’m still working on learning all the necessary prayers, and my Hebrew isn’t so strong. I get lost sometimes, especially during the holidays, but I know that I’ll eventually catch up. I’ve realized that the synagogue is not a classroom. G‑d is not grading you on the pronunciation of your Hebrew or on how loud you sing to Him. All G‑d wants is for you to try.

For the rest of my life, I will continue to try.