A Thought About Messianic Jewish Prayer and a Prayer

I’m offering two things for your reading today. First, I want to pass on a thought about Messianic Jewish prayer that made an impact on me at this year’s Union of Messianic Jewish Congregations conference (umjc.net). Then I want to offer a prayer that came out of a sermon I am writing on Revelation 4. Maybe you will use the prayer. You can see my sermons (with a few week delay after I deliver them) at hopeofdavid.com.

Rabbi Michael Schiffman was speaking on Messianic Jewish prayer. He noted that many people have trouble integrating the Siddur (Jewish prayer book) with their faith in Yeshua. For some, years of praying in evangelical churches before coming into Messianic Judaism causes a disconnect. Evangelical prayer is generally spontaneous and has its own unwritten liturgy (e.g. begin with and frequently repeat your traditional prayer title for God (e.g. Lord God), end with “in Jesus’ name, amen!”).

The evangelical praying the Siddur finds it difficult that the prayers do not reference Yeshua directly. It almost seems they are not real prayers. For many, the Siddur’s use in the service is part of the Jewish flavor spread thin over the service. The real prayers are when we depart from the Siddur and pray spontaneously in Jesus’ name (or in Yeshua’s name).

For others, an uncomfortable relationship with the Siddur can be summed up by the simple question: where is Yeshua in it?

Rabbi Schiffman said something that went inside my spirit and stuck, enhancing my prayer life ever since. In Messianic Jewish doctrine, Yeshua is God the Son, part of the total being of God. He is the Word who was with and who is God (Jn 1:1). He is the first and the last (Isa. 41:4 compare Rev. 1:17). When we pray to HaShem, we are praying to Yeshua along with the Father and Spirit. Yeshua is right in the Siddur. We praise the Creator in the Siddur and we are praising Yeshua. We exalt the King and we are exalting King Messiah along with our Father in Heaven who is King over all.

A mature Messianic Judaism finds Yeshua in Judaism. Immature Messianic Judaism sees it as Judaism with Yeshua added. Let this principle guide our prayer life and let the Siddur richly bless our prayer.

******************************
Now, for a prayer. I was meditating on Revelation 4:1-11, which I am speaking on this Shabbat. Early in my thoughts I struggled with this sermon. I was busy and had little time to think. What kept occurring to me was, “People want application, not just theology in a sermon. The concept of God’s throne is more theology than application. How will I do a good job of bringing the throne of God into daily life?”

My creative processes were not yet going. Then I had an experience of God that can only result from driving alone in a car (for rare silent time) and listening to one of my favorite poet-musicians (Keith Green). The details of how I was able to connect with God do not matter, but the point is that we all need to get some silent time apart from the usual distractions.

As I began thinking, I started writing (not while I was driving, though I’ve done that before). At the end of some writing, a prayer came to mind. I offer it for whatever it is worth. Perhaps you would like to pray it along with me:

God of Israel, you are the Mighty King.
You rule the Cosmos and you are Master of my life.
I am not innocent before you.
Have mercy, my King.
I am not wise with your wisdom.
Show me your way, my King.
I am not entitled to blessing and peace.
Grant me undeserved blessing, my King.
I cannot save myself and the world.
Send your Messiah, my King.

Derek

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About Derek Leman

IT guy working in the associations industry. Formerly a congregational rabbi. Dad of 8. Nerd.
This entry was posted in Messianic Jewish, Messianic Prayer, Prayer, Theology, Yeshua. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to A Thought About Messianic Jewish Prayer and a Prayer

  1. Jeannie Smith says:

    Glad to know I’m not the only one that can be uncomfortable with Siddurs! I guess that’s what happens when you grow up secular Jewish and become evangelical Christian as a teenager. I’m so used to praying spontaneously, which tends to be more “me-centered.” Or, at least, more “current-events-centered.” That habit makes praying from the Siddur a really difficult thing for me, because I have to concentrate hard and read a prayer multiple times before I actually mean it from my heart. But once I do, it’s powerful – because it is magnifying God with some of the same praises from thousands of years ago. I wonder how these same prayers echo in His heart now…

    At the same time – I can still lose concentration quickly, because saying the same prayer every week can sometimes be, well, monotonous! If my husband read the same praises to me once a week, I might feel a disconnect. But I think the key is to have both Siddur prayer and a set-aside time for personal prayer during worship.

    I have to admit, the comment about immature Messianic Judaism = Judaism with Jesus added – I struggle with this. It’s getting better with time and study, and I hope that your series in February about Yeshua being Messiah will help me along to a more mature Messianic Judaism.

  2. Dan Benzvi says:

    Why recite prayers that were written by people who deny my Messiah?

  3. Dan:

    Your question assumes many things. First, it assumes that the prayers of the Siddur were written by non-believers. This is true of part of the tradition, but not all. For example, the Kaddish and Amidah pre-date Yeshua. Second, you imply that something might be wrong with the prayers because Jews who reject Yeshua wrote many of them. Yet anyone who reads the Siddur knows that the prayers are mainly scriptural citations and allusions. Third, you seem to find no place for Jewish tradition in God’s continuing plan. I disagree. God said that Israel is still his people, even the ones who reject him (Rom 11:28-29). I believe God has been working through Judaism and still is, as a human institution ordained to preserve the Jewish people. The Siddur is evidence of God’s work. Finally, Yeshua used Jewish prayer traditions and many other post-biblical traditions such as the Seder and blessings over bread and wine and the Lord’s Prayer, which is very much like the Kaddish and Amidah.

    Derek

  4. "A Simple Jew" says:

    Derek:

    A mature Messianic Judaism finds Yeshua in Judaism. Immature Messianic Judaism sees it as Judaism with Yeshua added. Let this principle guide our prayer life and let the Siddur richly bless our prayer.<<<<<

    As I referenced earlier, Dan Juster is on record as REQUIRING that significant portions of Jewish liturgy be amended to reflect “New Covenant realities”.

    What do you and others think about this?

  5. MIke Scott says:

    You are spot on brother. We help to lead a Messianic fellowship in the UK. Some time ago Stuart Dauerman came to talk to us in London to encourage us Brits in our endeavour to develop Messianic Jewish Liturgy based on many traditional elements. This the Lord has enabled us to do over the years and it has been a blessing to many.
    Yeshua is all in all even when his enemies seek otherwise- eg. when the High priest himself speaks in John 11:49-50! The Lord appreciates irony. Even Balaam intending to curse Israel spoke the words that are integrated in the Ma Tovoo -the very opening prayer of the Shul. It contains – from Psalm 69, a Messianic psalm in itself that foreshadows Golgotha -‘With your great mercy, answer me with Your sure Salvation (Ishecha= your Yeshua). Yes, we know scripture is inspired by Adonai- such as Isaiah, whose name as I understand it means ‘Yeshua is G-d’,and who writes the name Yeshua three times- Holy Holy Holy! -in Is 12:2-3. If he can direct the hand of the Prophets before His Son’s coming, he can do so in the prayers of his people after it, even without them knowing! May I recommend this site to you: http://www.sa hebroots.com/moshiach.pdf Shalom, Mike Scott

  6. "A Simple Jew" says:

    Mike:

    I would wonder with all the work that Stuart and others are doing why this problem persists in MJ. This is a serious problem locally where Dan is quite influential. One would think that the issue of freedom of conscience and practice for Jews within MJ would be taken for granted but it is not. I urge that the RC and others should pass some sort of resolution on this matter.

  7. ihsomiet says:

    You say a mature Messianic Judaism finds Yeshua in Judaism. Immature Messianic Judaism sees it as Judaism with Yeshua added…. But what if someone sees both as two sides of the same coin?

  8. cindybythesea says:

    1 Corinthians 13: 10 ~ 12
    …10 but when the perfect comes, the partial passes away. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I set aside childish ways. 12 Now we see but a dim reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known…

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