Hebrew Perspectives
The RX (Prescription) For Today's Christians!

RX 3

Tevye Taught Me To Pray As A Jew

One of the questions I'm asked often by Christians is "How do I pray more like a Jewish person prays?"
To answer this question off the top of my head is so simple now for me, but then again, maybe it's not so simple to answer for those looking for a "really profound theological answer!"

The first thing you should know is: Prayer involves not only ones heart, but also ones mind. The emotions of the "heart & mind" are seen as being one to most Jewish people who are spiritual.

Now comes the simple part...!
Have you ever seen the movie "Fiddler on the Roof"? - Well if you have my answer comes straight from that movie. Praying is in essence simply talking to God! That's it! This is just what Tevye; the star of the movie did.

It is said by the rabbis that study is the highest form of "worship," and both God and I would agree on that point. Why? Because the more you know God and His Word, the more you will fear (revere) Him. Therefore, I believe talking to God as you read His Word is the highest forms of praying a person can do. But don't stop there. Praying to Him 24/7 is what He wants from us!

If you have not seen this wonderful movie, please go rent it to see what I'm talking about. It's a wonderful film and you can learn much from watch it about the Jewish people. Truly this is how we all should pray every single day of our lives, in the fields, in the grocery store, in the bank, in the car and just about anywhere you're going. Remember God goes with you…it is so simple that people trip over its simplicity about just being with God and talking to Him.

Since 1990 I have chosen to live my life and pray this way. All throughout the day and into the night season, I simply talk, talk, and talk some more to God about what's in my heart and on my mind. I tell Him I know He is in full control; I tell Him how much I love Him. I also talk openly and out loud to God about everything when I'm home in that safe place in my bedroom I have made for Him. And the great thing is, God talks back to me as well, throughout the day and sometimes into the night season keeping me up. God often wakes me so I can pray about something or another. Most of the times its in my spirit that I hear Him, but there have been 3, maybe 4 times in my life that I have heard God audibly. I know many people who will believe me about that, but God is a God who loves to speak to His children if they will give Him the Time to do that! But most people just lay out their requests, and then just go about their day...I do not do that. I always try hard to give God TIME to speak His heart to me.

Here is a little prayer I try to pray every morning. Really I sing it, and the words are not all mine, they come from pastor Bob Claycamps song.

I say…So far today Lord, I've done all things right. I haven't gossiped, lost my temper, been offensive, greedy, cantankerous, unreasonable, arrogant, obnoxious or self-seeking. I'm especially glad I've accomplished all of these things by resting in You. But now Father God, I'm going to get out of bed and from that point on, I'm going to need all Your help. So, Hear my hearts sincere when I sing my prayer...

"At the start of each new day,
I will lift my hands and say,
You are worthy Lord of all glory and power.
Unto to You is my desire,
So I come and I inquire,
Of Your will for me today in every hour.

Where should I go?
What should I do?
Lord I desire to follow You.

What should I say?
What is Your way?
Lord I desire to follow You.

At the start of each new day,
I will lift my hands and say,
You are worthy Lord of all glory and praise.
Unto to You is my desire,
So I come and I inquire,
Of Your will for me today in every hour.

Where should I go?
What should I do?
Lord I desire to love You.

What is way?
Show me I pray?
Lord I desire to follow You.

Some of the words of this Original Song from Pastor Bob Claycamp
are different than mine, but the melody I sing is his.

Seeking Him Early
Just the other morning God the Holy Spirit told me "That the totality of the Word of God comes from Genesis Chapter 12, 26, 28." He went on to said, "They are found in the Covenants God made with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob." At first I did not understand Him, then He said in my spirit, "Barbara, add these chapters up." So I did, 12 + 26 + 28 = 66. So the 66 books of the Bible we have been given are to fully teach us that the "Faith Covenant Yeshua reinstituted is the best Covenant of all." Very cool Lord I said, only You could place those Covenant in chapters that would equal 66 in number.

We are told in the New Testament to "pray without ceasing" - and that means "to talk to God about everything day or night time!" (I Thessalonians 5:17) I know of no other way of fulfilling this Scriptures except by talking to God as if He's "there with you and in you, you must know that He hears you."

Tevye also goes through the act of something called "Pilpul" in his every day praying. Pilpul (comes from the Hebrew "pilpel" meaning: "pepper") - a dialectical method given to Biblical and Talmudic study. Pilpul consisting of examining all the arguments pro's and con's in-order to find a logical argument for the application of the Torah (God teaching, guidance and instruction), and at the same time to sharpen the wits of the person doing it. This preferred method of Torah study was to be for partners to join together and discuss the text in-depth, and by "drawing-out" every possibility in the text to its furthest spiritual and logical consequences.

Well it is "God who is your partner in prayer and Bible Study;" it is He who is engaging you by your spirit in pilpul. He wants us to come and reason with Him, many of you are doing this and don't even know that you are doing it! It's a good thing, so keep it up!

But engaging in this kind of prayer, one must have a starting point. The starting point is based on focusing the principle that "any Biblical text" that is deemed worthy of serious study (study is the highest form of worship), must be assumed to have been written with such care and precision by the Amighty God, that every term, expression, generalization, exclusion is significant. The phraseology in which they are dressed or arrayed, is to enter into the reasoning process in our pray life as well. This method is characteristic of the Tannaitic interpretation of the Bible from the earliest times. The belief in the Divine origin, God, and of His Bible is sufficient justification for praying anytime and with all kind of prayers, and reasoning with a God who hear ALL and who is a rewarded of those who seek Him earnestly.

The LORD Himself demands "pilpul" of the prophet Isaiah when He said to him: "Come now (Isaiah), and let us reason together, says the LORD, though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like white wool. (Isaiah 1:18)

The method encouraged by God for us is "PILPUL!"

Serious intercessors, those accustomed to praying reasoning prayers for ages, have used these precise forms of expression when talking to God. Their attitude towards the Word of God and praying is always Spirit driven. I believe this method (pilpul) of praying is the psycho-analysis style of the Holy Spirit of God that is living large in us. - He is always guiding us towards a deeper, richer relationship with the Almighty One of Israel.

Now Tevye would not have called himself a praying man, no sir. Yet Tevye prayers were IN FACT the purest FORM OF PRAYER to God. Tevye was indeed a "praying man" by God's standards. He prayed with great focus as he looks into the heavenly reasoned out things of life with himself, and with his God. In Hebrew if one prays with great focus, it is said that he or she is praying with "Kavannah." Chapter two of Berachot, the first tractate of the Talmud, opens with the following Mishna: "He who was reading in the Torah, and the time for reading [the Shema] arrived, if he has directed his heart, he has fulfilled his obligation." The Hebrew word that best typifies "directed his heart" is kavannah. It's not a commonly used word but its importance in attaining your spiritual depth is enormous. Whether performing Mitzvot, praying fervently, or doing our everyday activities like going to work, caring for the children, accomplishing household chores, kavannah is the art of LIVING in the Moment like Tevye did in the movie.

I ask you this month, if you're praying with an old Greco-Roman mind-set, you should turn it off and try a much simpler Hebraic mind-set and see what happens to your whole prayer life. I'll bet you if you've not heard God, you will hear God this month.

If you have not seen the movie watch it, I believe the movie can really help you see how all this is done. Please do not take what I'm saying lightly; praying is the very heart of this ministry. We take praying to heart!!!

Born in Tel Aviv, Chaim Topol played Tevye in the movie version of "Fiddler on the Roof."
His style of prayer (pilpul) was one of reasoning out his problems with God.

I guess that my answer is to simple an answer for these seekers of truth, those who want to pray more like the Jewish people pray. Something more like a "pattern of praying" is what these Believers are really wanting of me, I'm sure.

I really wanted to write an article which lays forth a "pattern of praying" - but when I came upon brother Dwight Pryor's wonderful article entitled
"Patterns and Principles of Jewish Prayer" - I said why write one, his is great! This article taken from a teaching brother Dwight gave in Britain in 1994 blessed me when I first heard it, now its on-line praying it will bless you also. I found no reason to take the time to write an article when this one says it all. Enjoy!

Patterns and Principles
of Jewish Prayer
By Dwight A. Pryor

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