from the heart
Part 1 – The Concept of Prayer
Prayer is also referred to as, service of the heart, it takes time and commitment each day to stop, meditate and offer honest prayers from the heart to the Almighty Father. Prayer isn’t supposed to be whatever hits the brain, or a list of requests, but rather a spiritual dialogue with Heaven. All of our prayers are going to be different, we are all created uniquely, this is why just praying from a siddur (pray book) or following memorized prayers is only a very small part of the potential of prayer. Don’t you hate those canned prayers that always start with… “Dear Lord, blah, blah, blah… and halfway through you’ve got a good idea how it’s going to end. That’s not prayer, it’s just filling dead air space, or a traditional need to pray at certain times of the day. A lot of people were told how, when and what to pray, then they grew up and taught their children the same traditions, rather than learning how to pray themselves. Prayer is vital, but it’s not cut and dried pre-memorized talk. I also like my food hot, so I’m happy with a short thank you, but after eating it’s also very wonderful to enjoy a time of prayer and thanksgiving.
There are certainly times when we need to make specific prayers, on Shabbat when we read Torah, when we are together in worship with others and those emergency prayers when we have the greatest needs. There are prayers our forefathers have been saying for millennia, they are wonderful, beautiful prayers that are based on Scripture, and we do well to remember these prayers as well, but PRAYER from the heart, is the kind of prayer that Yeshua taught us about.
“But when you pray enter your inner room and close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret and your Father who sees in secret He will reward you in open.” Matthew 6:7
It’s doubtful that many Believers had an “inner room” in their house back then, like an old attic, or study, office, computer or sewing room. The majority of souls lived in very small stone houses, they didn’t have the luxury of privacy as many have today, if you’ve viewed some of the archeological sites in Israel, then you have a good idea that most homes only had one or two rooms. Many houses were simply three walls and roof, they built a house against an available wall, they were small dwellings back then. What Y’shua was teaching us about is intimate personal prayers.
Yeshua set the example for us, “And when he dismissed the crowds, he went up to the mountain alone to pray.” Matthew 14:23, this was something Yeshua did frequently, whether he refers to the “inner room” of a building, a closet, or the inner room of your heart, the principle is the same it’s between us and YHWH. The Master shows us that we not to be distracted by external things, or even by the distraction of putting our minds through “canned prayers” where we can’t have a dialogue in our spirits.
Our Father in Heaven knows our hearts before we pray, but WE also need to hear His Voice. We have a standing offer to enter into the Kingdom of Elohim and know Mashiyach within us, and have Him counsel us regarding our thoughts and needs and the direction of our lives, so we can learn to judge with righteous judgment and have discernment of His Ways.
We need Mashiyach to help us train our thoughts and discipline us according to his Righteousness. Maybe it’s not easy, but it’s not impossible either. During prayer there are times I’ve found myself asking YHWH to forgive my distracting thoughts, but the more we pray and meditate on the Word of YHWH, the less we struggle to keep our minds stayed on Him. When it comes to prayer, we receive much more from our Father than we put in, we hear His Wisdom from outside of time and space and we access knowledge and understanding that is Eternal and Perfect. It’s not just a thing we do, it’s a dialogue we experience, we must hear the Master YHWH speak in our neshama (spirit) when we pray, otherwise we are not really in prayer.
Perhaps the word “PRAY”, doesn’t suggest a dialogue, but it seems that many don’t hear from YHWH because they don’t expect to hear anything! If we have no expectation, why would the Ruach haKodesh (Set Apart Spirit) want to speak to us? What would you think if someone were talking to you as though you were not listening and they poured out their hearts, asked some questions, and then just walked away? At times, having prayer with some “believers” is a waste of time because many have religious traditions about prayer that determines how and when to say prayer, what to say, and where to pray. At times if we want to discuss the things of prayer, some believers get offended, clearly some people know they don’t have a prayer life and they don’t want others to know that. They are offended with the idea of investigating the intimate elements of their prayer life.
YHWH is the Living Elohim, He is our Father, His Mashiyach is our Friend who is closer than a brother. We wouldn’t even treat a stranger with such hostility as some “believers” treat YHWH and His Mashiyach! If we really believe YHWH created us and gave us life, shouldn’t He command the lions share of our lives including our thoughts and words? It is to privilege to pray and meditate on Yahweh’s Word! It’s wonderful to enjoy an entire Shabbat for doing just this, the essence of Shabbat is prayer and hearing from YHWH. The Shabbat is a time to enter in to Mashiyach and experience simcha (joy) and oneg (delight) with the Spirit of YHWH in our souls.
Prayer is never going to be fully satisfying to us unless we walk IN Mashiyach according to the Word of YHWH. We are called to live as Mashiyach lived and be ambassadors for Yeshua as he demonstrated to his talmidim, so prayer without obedience is a sad situation. Obedience means that we keep the Commandments like Yeshua taught.
According to Psalm 110, King David knew Mashiyach, but so did all our Forefathers and each of them prayed to YHWH through Mashiyach. Mashiyach is the Word of YHWH who represents everything in time and space. YHWH is Ein Sof. He is without end. HE is infinite so therefore Mashiyach bridges the gap between infinity and the finite creation. Y’shua is the Torah Mashiyach, it is through Covenant and Righteous Judgment of Torah that we learn about Perfect Justice and in which we can make our appeals to YHWH for direction and discernment. Melech Shlomo wrote,
“He that turns away his ear from hearing the Torah, even his tefilah (prayer) shall be abomination unto YHWH.” Mishlei/Proverbs 28:9.
If a person has little or no intention of observing YHWH’s Torah, or if they prefer to live in willful sin, prayer is going to be an inconvenient thing to do because it will bring very little joy. If we don’t do YHWH’s will there isn’t much point in making long prayers. YHWH knows our hearts and thoughts, prayer is meant to grow our spiritual man, not a way of excusing sin or being forgiven of sin.
Part 2 – How to Pray
Prayer is a dialogue, so we must also learn how to listen. Liturgy and use of a Siddur can bring joy and peace from the Ruach, and praying both individually and corporately can focus our minds on YHWH. But we must guard ourselves from falling into the trap of putting a ceiling on our prayers. Throughout Yeshua’s life he lived and taught a lifestyle of freedom, justice and righteousness for everyone. Yeshua taught us that the Way of YHWH is Judgment (Justice), Mercy and Faith, and that we are to show love and compassion to others beyond any religious or traditional values man had previously known. Yeshua taught his talmidim to make prayer to “our Father” and His Father YHWH, never to himself. He taught us that His Father is accessible and has created us in His Image, so that we are called to be like Him spiritually, and seek His wisdom for our own lives and others. Yeshua prayed daily and he taught his disciples how to pray.
Rav Shaul (Apostle Paul) spoke of praying in Messiah’s stead (2 Corinthians 5:20) and that we are “ambassadors of Mashiyach“. The Ruach haKodesh communicates to us according to prayer. Prayer denotes a spiritual level of communication, our neshama (spirit) also connects with our soul (nephesh), and as we pray we send and receive spiritual messages that our souls encode. Because of our Father’s Mercy He makes Himself available to all of us, unless we have habitually spurned our Father and repeatedly break His Word and choose to neglect Him and avoid Him.
From New Testament writings, at the stoning of Stephen, theologians have made up doctrines that prayer to Yeshua was normal among his disciples. Stephen had just finished informing his accusers that he “saw the Glory of Elohim and Y’shua standing at the Right Hand of Elohim“, the next thing he saw was a stampede of religious fanatics coming at him, to kill him. Put yourself in Stephen’s shoes, if you can. Stephen didn’t say he saw a vision, he said he saw “the Glory of Elohim and Y’shua…” Imagine that like Stephen, you lived and learned directly from Y’shua Mashiyach, but then Mashiyach was put to death by religious fanatics, yet you still walked with him inside of you. If you were Stephen, and you saw him next to “the Glory of Elohim”, how would you respond? “YESHUA! IT’S YOU!” Whether you lived or died at the moment wouldn’t be a big deal, your spiritual eyes saw outside of time and space, you know Mashiyach and nobody can change your mind! So then Stephen prays,
“Our Master Y’shua receive my spirit“, and
“Our Master do not cause this sin to stand against them!”
But of course when Stephen was saying this, he was in the middle of being murdered for his Faith in Yeshua! So for Stephen to cry out “Our Master Y’shua receive my spirit!“, should be of no surprise! But then religious folk made a doctrine about this is being evidence that we should pray to Yeshua. No, that is simply religious tradition, again trying making a physical body into a spiritual being. It’s not every day that someone is recorded praying as they are getting murdered, especially right after seeing Y’shua at the Right Hand of Elohim.
As Y’shua taught us, we pray to Yahweh as our Forefathers and the Prophets have done from the beginning of time. Now that Mashiyach has been revealed, we come to YHWH in the name of Y’shua because he made the perfect offering for our transgressions. It’s really not as complicated as a lot of people make it out. The Father YHWH knows the end of all things from the beginning. He knew His only begotten Son would triumph as the Son of Man. Yeshua taught his disciples not to pray to him.
“And in that day you will not ask me anything. Amen, amen I say to you that everything that you ask of my Father in my name, He will give it to you!” John 16:23
Yeshua asked his Father to forgive those who tortured him and those who put his body up on the stake. By praying to YHWH in the name of Yeshua we are recognizing the awesome value that our Father has put upon our lives, the redemption price He paid for us cannot be matched by anything else on earth or in heaven. Mashiyach Y’shua came to redeem YHWH’s people, this is also how we have the confidence that our prayers will be heard. See how much our Father YHWH has loved us.
What Y’shua did for us was to release us from the bonds of man made religion and paganism. Y’shua opened up the Kingdom of Heaven so that you and I could pray and seek the Father and hear His Voice. If we all could hear the Father and we all chose to love Him and be obedient children there would be no such thing as poverty and wars on this earth. Religion either tells us how to pray or what YHWH says to us according to religious traditions. It is common in some circles to “hear the Word of the Lord” but in these same circles obedience to Torah is strictly prohibited and not discussed. Religion has put a cap on peoples individual relationship with the Father which is why YHWH tells us to come out of religion (Revelation 18:4).
There are things that we will only understand after we have chosen obedience to the Word of Yahweh, we can pray all we want, as long as we want, we can climb concrete or stone stairs on our knees until they bleed but that isn’t going to draw us closer to the Father. When we are obedient we draw closer to the heart of the Father and we hear His voice louder and clearer. When we resist religious traditions that stroke the carnal religious flesh then we make room for a relationship with the Father. Let’s face it, religious traditions are only done to “fear men” or be accepted by the status quo, and those religious traditions are very often the trade off that people make rather than hearing the Father’s voice in their lives.
Yeshua said, “Therefore, you pray like this:
Our Father in heaven Hallowed be Your Name Your kingdom come Your will be done As in heaven so on earth Give us the bread of our need this day And forgive us our offences as we also have forgiven those who have offended us. And not bring us into trial, but deliver us from the evil one for Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever.” Matthew 6:9-13
Within this beautiful prayer we approach the Creator of the Universe as our Father and we Set Apart His Name as we begin to pray. Our Father has a Kingdom that is not of this world, His Kingdom is within us when we pray and recognize His Voice. Our Father’s will is revealed in His Word which is Torah. Without having Torah written upon our hearts we will never know His will, we will only know some religious ideas about what others think His will is. As in heaven so on earth tells us that Heaven is His throne and that earth is where we His people are to become subject to His Torah and His Mashiyach.
He gives us the bread of our need each day and He ministers to us by His Spirit and causes us to be conscious of our offences towards Him and one another so that we can make forgiveness and restitution and atonement. We pray that he not have to bring us into trial for our disobedience and lack of ability to hear His Voice. We know that if we choose to ignore the Spirit of the Living Elohim in our lives that YHWH might well choose to send the evil one to make trouble for us and cause us to return to YHWH. At times we are buffeted by messengers of YHWH to help us stay on the paths of righteousness.
Ultimately whether we stay strong and free in YHWH and keep His Commandments and delight in Him or whether we fall short and need disciplining we recognize that YHWH is the Kingdom and Power and Glory and there is no other Father and Creator but He alone.
We’re not going anywhere in this life without prayer and hearing from the Father!
May our prayers be as the morning and evening sacrifices unto YHWH
that are ordered and presentable, and pleasing unto him,
as a sweet smelling aroma, even like incense.
May our prayers be acceptable and pleasing to YHWH.
Baruch Ben Daniel