Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Prayer: The Shema

I was listening this morning to a lecture that mentioned the Jewish morning and evening prayers, so as I was starting to write this post, I looked up the prayer of Shema online.  The source that is linked in the previous sentence says that this is the core prayer.  It has emphasis on the words, "Hear O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one."  There is a six word response which is followed by a reading of Deuteronomy 6:4-9:
Hear, O Israel: The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. Keep these words that I am commanding you today in your heart. Recite them to your children and talk about them when you are at home and when you are away, when you lie down and when you rise. Bind them as a sign on your hand, fix them as an emblem on your forehead, and write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.  
Imagine for a moment what it would be like to recite these words twice a day, every day.  The post yesterday talked about how the primary purpose of prayer is formation.  Imagine how praying these words twice a day would for formative.  I feel like this would really be a way to strengthen faith.  I think we need these kinds of reminders.  And I think that what we repeat every day becomes our faith, and influences the way we live our lives.

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