Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple


Muttering to God

posted by Mark Herringshaw

Every day in great Cathedrals, in automobiles, restaurants and school libraries millions upon millions of people around the world recite “The Lord’s Prayer.”  I said it myself this morning. It is perhaps the simplest, most direct, most encompassing prayer ever cast in human language. 

 

But while the simple words themselves provide a wonderful form for the function of prayer, the ideas behind the words can open a wider world for communication with God.  “The Lord’s Prayer” is more than a rote intercession.  It is also a template for prayer.  More than a score for an intricate symphony, it is also a chord chart for a jazz improvisation, setting the tempo, key, and basic progression for a free-flow of expression.  For anyone, asking, “teach me to pray” this simple pattern provides a beginning. 

 

Jesus was a rabbi. Rabbis of Israel in his day had (and still have today) a particular way of teaching their “talmidim” (students) to pray.  Their method is called “haggah,” a Hebrew word usually translated in English “meditate.” 

 

When most people think of meditation they envision a sophist or guru sitting passively in an incense-filled room.  But “Haggah” meditation is more than silent contemplation.  The word literally means to mutter, or to speak aloud quietly.  When a rabbi would teach his students to pray “haggah” he would begin by reciting aloud a short portion of holy text, a Psalm or a prophecy or a portion of the Torah, the Law. 

 

Following the scripture patterns the students would corporately but personally “mutter” to God his own thoughts and feelings about this text, amplifying the meaning with specific details relevant to his own life and the immediate situations in the world around him.  This would continue for a few moments.  Then just as the wave of “haggah” would begin to subside the rabbi would quote aloud the next portion of scripture.  Again the student would expound the scripture back to God. 

 

This seems to be how Reb Yeshua bar Yosef taught his followers to pray using the phrases of what we now call the Lord’s Prayer. He may well have started: “Our Father, you who make your dwelling in the heavens, your name is holy…”  The disciples would then “haggah” by praying personal details in their own words… “You are my Father, my provider and the one who grants my identity. You are making your home in Heaven a place to welcome me…” And more…  

 

We can each do the same here and now.

 

Take up the “Lord’s Prayer,” and say the words quietly under your breath.

 

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver from the evil one” (Matthew 6:9-13).

 

Pause at each line and amplify how that phrase fits your needs today…



  • http://www.netzarim.co.il Anders Branderud

    You write: “Jesus was a rabbi. Rabbis of Israel in his day had (and still have today) a particular way of teaching their “talmidim” (students) to pray.”
    (le-havdil)
    The first century historical man Ribi Yehoshua from Nazareth (the Mashiakh; the Messiah) was a Ribi and he taught in the Jewish Synagouges.
    To you who want to follow him: A logical analysis of the first centuries Hellenistic and Jewish documents and archaeology shows what he taught and how to follow him.
    Learn more here in the extensive and eye-opening research at: http://www.netzarim.co.il
    Anders Branderud

  • http://LOM.ministries@gmail.com lom.ministries@gmail.com

    Hey Herringshaw … this is what I teach!! Man do I miss you. How yah all been bro. Check out my videos at the web site …

    http://www.LightofMenorah.com – pick Bet Midrash and the video study room

    John Ferret

Previous Posts

If You Dare, Make This Your Prayer
Here I am Lord, send me. (Isaiah 6:8) Prayer is a gift, isn’t it?! We connect in simple words to the Creator of creation. That alone is astounding. We stand together to offer up our praise and our needs, and here we discover truly what human relationships are intended for. It’s an honor to pr

posted 1:37:48pm Jan. 23, 2015 | read full post »

A Prayer for a Renovated Soul
Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me now let me rejoice. Psalm 51:7 The bad news comes before the Good News. It must. But now we turn that corner. We ask God for blessing, but we first recognize

posted 8:04:34pm Jan. 21, 2015 | read full post »

How Can God Know Us? Search Me!
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.  Psalm 139:23-24.  Nothing hinders God’s love; but I can hinder my own capacity to accept grace. Today we admit this and pray

posted 1:33:43pm Jan. 20, 2015 | read full post »

University of the Word, Communication 101
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and

posted 1:00:21pm Jan. 16, 2015 | read full post »

Restoring the Presence of God in our Marriage
“It is time to bring back the Ark of our God, for we neglected it…” 1 Chron. 13:3 “The Ark of God remained there in Obed-edom’s house for three months, and the Lord blessed the household of Obed-edom and everything he owned.” 1 Chron. 13:14 King David realized that the valuable Ark of

posted 10:28:50am Jan. 15, 2015 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.