Tuesday, 2 May 2017
It is important for Messianic Jews to seek a balance between the values of tradition and that of spontaneity. We must neither fall into rote traditionalism not contentless emotionalism in worship. We must flow with the Spirit while allowing the richness of the biblical and Jewish heritage to take root among us. Those with differing gifts can blend harmoniously. The modern guitarist can be used as well as the cantor to bring an offering in righteousness to the Lord. The spontaneous, when really of the Spirit, is very impacting, especially when it plays off of the normal flow of familiar material.
A few words should be said about the specific nature of prayer in the Jewish tradition. The pre-second century Jewish tradition is well in accord with Philippians 4:6-9, which teaches to give thanks in all things. Hence, the basic form of Jewish prayer is the benediction which begins with this opening: "Blessed are you, O Lord our God, King of the universe, who..." and then adds the content of the praise or the request. The prayer closes with a seal, which repeats the "Blessed are You, O Lord, king of the universe..." and ends with a phrase in accord with the basic prayer. If the blessings are part of one prayer - as in the great prayer known as the Amidah - an opening will suffice for a whole group of blessings and only the seal will be included to end the blessing before new content begins the next blessing. Ancient Judaism's prayers were faith confessions. God is not just requested to heal the sick; He is blessed as the healer of the sick: It shall be done, since it is according to God's character and promise. God is not just requested to restore Jerusalem, but is thanked for that restoration since it is assured in His promises.
Jewish Roots, Chapter Nine: Jewish and Biblical Worship