The Shema (Deut. 6:4–5) is the most foundational and beloved prayer in the Jewish faith. The prayer commands us to love the Lord with all that we are. The Messianic version: Yeshua He (is) the Messiah He (is) (the) Lord of All, as well as in the V’ahavta (a continuation of the verses in Deuteronomy), add the second greatest commandment to love your neighbor as yourself.
The Hebrew word Shema means “to hear,” as in, “Hear O Israel.” If you think about it, this makes so much sense. While fear is central to this world’s culture, faith is a catalyst in the Kingdom’s culture, and faith comes by hearing (see Rom 10:17). What a blessing it is to bookend our days with this gracious command to “hear.” Not only does hearing cultivate faith, but hearing is also crucial to humility. The decision to genuinely listen to others before we speak for ourselves is a beautiful expression of humility, and God “gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6). How would your spiritual and social life be impacted by a fresh influx of faith and humility?
When we pray the Shema, we are declaring that God alone is King, that He alone is worthy of our worship. It’s like a pledge of allegiance to the Lord, who is “one.” And when we pray the Shema, we take our prayer to another level. The V’ahavta gives guidance on how central the Shema should be to our lives. If Yeshua-Jesus prayed this prayer every morning and every evening, shouldn’t we as well declare our love, devotion, and adoration to the ONE who is worthy of all?
Grounded in Psalm 122, many believers rightly pray for Israel and the “peace of Jerusalem.” But we can add another dimension to that—don’t just pray for Israel, pray with Israel. When you pray the Shema, you join with millions of Jewish people worldwide and participate in the chorus whose history goes back to Moses. Additionally, you’re praying the prayer that our Messiah Yeshua prayed daily.
How To Pray the Shema, with Rabbi Jason Sobel
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