Background and History
O Israel, return to HaShem your G-d, for you have stumbled because of your iniquity; take words with you, and return to HaShem. Say to Him,
“Take away all iniquity; receive us graciously, for we will offer the sacrifices [par = bulls] of our lips.”
It has been taught: To love HaShem your G-d and to serve Him with all your heart. What is Service of Heart? You must needs say, Prayer.
Our Duty to Pray
- What is prayer? Is it only requests, or is it a form of worship as well?
- Ex 25:9: the purpose of the Tabernacle and Temple was so that G-d would “dwell among us.” The Tabernacle/Temple was 100% about fellowship and worship.
- ‘Service’ [avodah]; ‘continually’; and ‘daily’ are loaded words in Scripture. When we see them in the Apostolic Scriptures we should ask if there is a Temple reference at work.
- Daniel, exiled from the Land, patterns His prayers after the service in the Temple. 2 offerings (morning, afternoon), and the end of the day (evening) (Dan 6:5; 10). It was something he learned while there was still a Temple.
- Yeshua, as the Master, taught His disciples how to pray, and taught that they should pray. His disciples patterned their prayer lives after His. The “Avinu” [Our Father] prayer found in Matt 6:9-13 is directly related to the Shemoneh Esrei [18 Blessings].
- Acts 1:14: “continued” and “one accord” are key words. When linked with what in Greek is called, “the Prayer” we see that they were praying systematic corporate prayer in the upper room (Acts 2:1; 2:15; 2:42; 2:46; 6:4; Rom 12:2; Col 2:4)
- The early followers of Messiah not only prayed corporately and systematically, they prayed liturgically and at set times, like Daniel – to them it was their duty and an act of worship. (Acts 2:15; 3:1; 6:4 “the prayers”;10:2-3)
The Pattern of the Prayers (Content)
- Prayer as an act of worship, follows the Tabernacle/Temple service. The earliest prayers were the Psalms and other Scripture passages.
- The Psalms were composed originally as Tabernacle/Temple corporate liturgy.
- Most of the liturgical prayers of Yeshua’s day were already many hundreds of years old, and many predate the first Temple itself. Most are direct Scripture passages.
The Pattern of the Prayers (Time)
- The Temple service was arranged around the main offerings. The first offering of every day was at the 3rd hour (9 am). The last offering of every day was at the 9th hour (3 pm). These two offerings are called the tamid [continual]. All other offerings were put on the altar between these two.
- Before and after each of the tamid, there were blessings and prayers of worship.
- Anyone in Jerusalem who wanted to participate in these two main worship services could enter the Temple and sing and pray along with the ministering Kohenim [descendants of Aaron] and Levites.
The Direction of the Prayers (Where)
- 2Chronicles 7:14-16: G-d promises that His Name will be perpetually on “the Place” [Jerusalem Temple]. This is why Daniel prayed “facing” Jerusalem. Remembering that it was there G-d had placed His Name.
- After Yeshua ascends, His disciples remain somewhat hidden. No doubt, in the upper room facing the Temple Mount for their daily prayers.
- At the “3rd hour” of Shavu’ot [Pentecost] they were in the Temple itself. There after, they put fear aside and went to the Temple daily for prayer.
The Participants of the Prayers (Who)
- In Acts 1:14; 2:1; 2:13; 3:1; 10:2-3 etc. we learn that disciples of the Master made it a point to participate with Israel at large in continuation of “the Prayers”.
- Although they can be prayed individually, the model of the Tabernacle/Temple was corporate - in “one accord.”
- Gen 18:23; 32: For the sake of ten. A minyan [literally ‘counting’] is the minimum desired for a full prayer service. So important is the minyan to replicate the Tabernacle/Temple prayer service, only certain portions can be prayed without a minyan (i.e. privately).
- Yeshua always had at least a minyan with Him in His twelve disciples.
What We Lost; How We Gain
- The Temple was the place were we had the dwelling and abiding Presence of the Almighty. Because of sin, it was destroyed. The “Place” for prayer – which was to be a place of prayer for all nations was destroyed.
- Our Master, Yeshua, is away – but will one day return to establish His Kingdom in Jerusalem.
- All the world will attend His royal court and will worship in His Temple in Jerusalem (Is 2:2-5; Ezek 40-48).
- Our prayers, “the Prayers” are focused upon worship, and begging for the coming of the Kingdom, and for Messiah.
- G-d always answers the prayers that are in line with His will. G-d will, without a doubt, answer these daily prayers.
Happy is the King
- A traditional insight of our duty to pray:
R. Yose says, “I was once traveling on the road, and I entered into one of the ruins of Jerusalem in order to pray. Elijah of blessed memory appeared and waited for me at the door till I finished my prayer. After I finished my prayer, he said to me: ‘Peace be with you, my master!’ and I replied: ‘Peace be with you, my master and teacher!’ And he said to me: ‘My son, why did you go into this ruin?’ I replied: ‘To pray...’
He further said to me: ‘My son, what sound did you hear in this ruin?’ I replied: I heard a divine voice, cooing like a dove, and saying: “Woe to the children, on account of whose sins I destroyed My house and burnt My Temple and exiled them among the nations of the world!”
And he said to me: ... “Not in this moment alone does it so exclaim, but three times each day does it exclaim this! And more than that, whenever the Israelites go into the synagogues and schoolhouses and respond: ‘Y'hey sh'meh raba m'varach!’ [‘May His great Name be blessed!’, from the Kaddish prayer] the Holy One, blessed be He, bows His head and says: ‘Happy is the King Who is thus praised in this house! Woe to the father who had to banish his children, and woe to the children who had to be banished from the table of their father!’” b.Berachot 3a