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The Amidah

The Amidah

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Published by M. Baxter

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Published by: M. Baxter on Apr 10, 2009
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09/29/2013

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ancient Christian practices series.
TheAmidah
 Now when Jesus was praying in a certain place…one of his disciples said to Him, “Lord, teachus to pray”…And He said to them, “When you pray, say ‘Father, hallowed beYour name…’”
-Luke 11:1-2
 
History of the Amidah
TheAmidah (“The Standing Prayer”) is an ancient liturgical prayer thatlies at the very heart of Jewish life and liturgy.Observant Jews pray theAmidah at each prayer service of the day –morning, afternoon, andevening.It is also at the center of the weekly Shabbat (Sabbath) service.The Amidah contains 19 blessings (it originally contained 18) and takesabout sevenminutes to recite. However, when it is impractical to pray theentire Amidah, Jews are allowed to pray a shortened version of the prayer.Here are examples of shortened Amidah prayers that Rabbis taught their disciples:
May your will be done in heaven above, grant peace of mind to thosewho fear you [on earth] below, and do what seems best to you. Blessed are you, O Lord, who answers prayer.
1
-Rabbi Elieze
 Hear the supplication of your people Israel and quickly fulfill their request. Blessed are you, O Lord who answers prayer.
2
-Rabbi Yehoshua
The needs of your people Israel are many but they do not know how toask for their needs. May it be your will, O Lord our God, to sustaineach and every one and to supply each person what is needed. Blessed are you, O Lord who answers prayer.
3
-UnknownThese shortened Amidah prayers contain thoughtsthat arestrikinglysimilar to the prayer that Jesustaught His disiciples (often refered to asThe Lord’s Prayer). Jesus, being a 1
st
century Jewish rabbi, would havetaught His disciples ashortened version of the Amidahfor them to reciteduring times when praying the entire Amidah was impractical. Also,Jesus himself would have prayed through theAmidah threetimes a daysince He was an observant Jew living in Israel. It is very likely then thatThe Lord’s Prayer is a shortened Amidah prayer for His disciples to recitewhen praying thefull Amidah is impractical.
1
Bivin, David
 New Light on the Difficult Words of Jesus
, p. 59 (2007)
2
Bivin, David
 New Light on the DifficultWords of Jesus
, p. 59 (2007)
3
Bivin, David
 New Light on the Difficult Words of Jesus
, p. 59 (2007)
Messianic Jews around the world continue to pray the Amidah as donon-Jewish Christians wishing to experience the rich heritage of their faith. Liturgical prayers, like the Amidah, have been foundational toChristianity since the inception of the Church. Make it a habit to praythe Amidah with passion and a desire to enter into the presence of God.
Practice
1.
If possible, stand with your feet together – 
This prayer postureimitatesthe vision of angels thatEzekiel saw (Ezekiel 1:17).2.
Before you recite the Amidah,take three steps backward andthree steps forward
 –The three steps backward represent withdrawingyour attention from the material world and the three steps forwardrepresent approaching the King of Kings.3.
Bowing
 –At four points during theAmidah you will bow, at the beginning and end of the first blessing and the eighteenth blessing.When you pray, “
 Blessed 
” bend your knee, and thenbow your torsowhen you say “
are You”
, and finally standback up when you say, “
O Lord 
.” Worshipers bow because the word for blessed is related to‘knee.’4
. Recite the Amidah silentlyand without interruption
 –Thisreminds the one praying of Hannah’s behavior during her prayer in theTemple (1 Samuel 1:13).5.
Service of the Heart
 –The Amidah is only worthwhile if you focusall your emotion and desireon the words of the prayer. If you findyourself simply praying the prayer by rote, simply restart the current blessing you were praying through.6.
Shortened Version of the Amidah
 –For a shortened version of theAmidah, when it is impractical for you to pray the entire Amidah, seethe back of this prayer guide.
 
TheAmidah: A Christian Version
Adapted fromDavid Bivin’s
 New Light on the Difficult Words of Jesus
, (2007)
1. THE GOD OF HISTORY
Blessed are You, O Lord our God and God of our fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, the great, mighty andrevered God, the Most High God who bestows loving-kindnesses, thecreator of all things, who remembers the good deeds of the patriarchs andin love broughta redeemer to their children's children for Yourname'ssake. O king, helper, savior and shield. Blessed are You, O Lord, theshield of Abraham.
2. THE GOD OF NATURE
You,OLord, are mighty forever, You revive the dead, You have the power to save. You sustain the living with loving kindness, You revivethe dead with great mercy, You support the falling, heal the sick, set freethe bound and keep faith with those who sleep in the dust. Who is likeYou, O doer of mighty acts? Who resembles You, a king who puts todeath and restores to life, and causes salvation to flourish? And You arecertain to revive the dead. Blessed are You, O Lord, who revives thedead.
3. SANCTIFICATION OF GOD
We will sanctify Your name in this world just as it is sanctified inthehighest heavens, as it is written by Your prophet: "
 And they call out toone another and say: 'Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the wholeearth is full of Hisglory.
'"[Isa. 6:3] "
 Blessed be the Presence of the LORD in His place
." [Ezek. 3:12] And in Your Holy Words it is written,saying, "
The LORD reigns forever, your God, O Zion, throughout all  generations. Hallelujah
." [Ps. 146:10] Throughout all generations we willdeclare Your greatness, and toall eternity we will proclaim Your holiness. Your praise, O our God, shall never depart from our mouth, for You are a great and holy Godand King. Blessed are You, O Lord, theholy God. You are holy, andYour name is holy, and holy beings praiseYou daily. (Selah.)Blessed are You, O Lord, the holy God.
4. PRAYER FOR UNDERSTANDING
You favor men with knowledge, and teach mortals understanding.O favor us with the knowledge, the understanding and the insight thatcome from You. Blessed are you, O Lord, the gracious giver of knowledge.
5. FOR REPENTANCE
Bring us back, O our Father, to Your Instruction; draw us near, O our King, to Your service; and cause us to return to You in perfectrepentance. Blessed are You, O Lord, who delights in repentance.
6. FOR FORGIVENESS
Forgive us, O our Father, for we have sinned; pardon us, O our King,for we have transgressed; for You pardon and forgive. Blessed are You,O Lord, who is merciful and always ready to forgive.
7. FOR DELIVERANCE FROM AFFLICTION
Look upon our affliction and plead our cause, and redeem us speedilyfor Your name's sake, for You are a mighty redeemer. Blessed are You,O Lord, the redeemer of all mankind.
8. FOR HEALING
Heal us, O Lord, and we will be healed; saveus and we will be saved,for You are our praise. O grant a perfect healing to all our ailments, for You, almighty King, are a faithful and merciful healer. Blessed areYou, O Lord, the healer of the sick of his people Israel.
9. FOR DELIVERANCE FROM WANT
Bless this year for us, O Lord our God, together with all the varieties of its produce, for our welfare. Bestow a blessing upon the face of theearth. O satisfy us with Your goodness, and bless our year like the bestof years. Blessed are You, O Lord, whoblesses the years.
10. FOR PROTECTION OF THE PERSECUTED
May your hand of protection be upon those who suffer for Your name’ssake, O Lord. They serve you with boldness, with littleregard for their own safety,so that your kingdom may be advanced. Protect and watchover them this day that they may continue to speak Your Word.

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