Lesson 1: Introduction to Jewish Prayer

Course: Introduction to Jewish Prayer
Lesson #1 of 2

Series: Pray Like a Jew

Teacher: Gidon Ariel

636Views | Published: August 20, 2014 | Revised: June 21, 2022

What is the foundational scripture that commands Jews to pray? You may be very surprised!  How often do Jews pray each day, and where did this idea come from in scripture?  What do the prayer books look like, and why are there two of them? Enjoy part 1 of this introduction, as you take your very first first step in understanding Jewish Prayer!

Bob’s Application.   Hi there!  I’m Bob O’Dell, the Christian co-founder of Root Source. I volunteer my time for Root Source because I believe that we as Christians have a tremendous amount we can learn from these Jewish teachers and Rabbis.  And for sure, one of the best parts of this job is getting to hear these lessons before they get posted, and to think how they apply to me as a typical Christian. I shared some of these applications with one of our Christian focus group members and she said ‘Why don’t you write these things down?”  I told Gidon and he said “go for it”. So I’ll try to add a few of my personal notes after some of the various lessons.  Hopefully a few of them might seed some thoughts for you, and I hope you will add your own ideas to mine to make them better still!  Spoiler Alert — You might want to stop reading NOW and come back to this AFTER you watch the lesson.

Without a doubt, the thing that blows my mind on this lesson is to observe an entire culture built around regular prayer. I’ve seen (and participated) in Christian houses of prayer, 24 hour prayer, 40 days prayer, and I’ve known Christian prayer warriors and intercessors whose regimin of prayer far surpasses anything I can really comprehend, let alone imitate.  Yes, I pray most mornings, and yes I pray for well over 2 minutes a day, which I hear is the average for Christians!  But do I do what Gidon does praying 45 minutes EVERY morning — that’s every day of the week, every day of the month, every day of the year. What would Christianity be like if the #1 most important and first thing in my heart and every other Christian man on the earth, was to get up and pray scriptures for 45 minutes? I think it is pretty amazing really.  But if you think I’m mainly amazed at their time spent praying, you have missed my heart — what’s amazing to me is not that Gidon and all Jewish men pray 45 minutes every morning, but that Gidon and Jewish men LIKE DOING IT so much, and that Gidon says he can help enrich our Christian faith by sharing what they pray!  And the other question I keep asking myself is how could any man on earth, let alone any Jewish man, not be greatly helped, even transformed by praying that much scripture day after day like that!?

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2 thoughts on “Introduction to Jewish Prayer”

  1. Interesting. Thank you. Daniel prayed evening, morning and noon. In the New Testament we are told in Acts 3:1 that Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer which was the ninth hour. Was this evening, morning or noon? I understand that the counting goes from evening to evening. I’m trying to figure out the timings throughout the day, i.e.: what would be the hour in the evening, morning and noon–which one is the 9th hour and what is the 1st hour that the “hours” begin–in other words when is the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc? Does it start at 6 in the evening being the 1st hour?. Jesus died around the 3rd hour, is that noon? If so then the 1st hour would be 6 in the morning. I tried to find out on the internet but everybody has a different answer. Thank you and Shalom.

    1. The day starts at nightfall, then the daytime starts at sunrise. Each of those half-days is divided into twelve, and those are called “time-hours.” The important ones are the daytime ones:-). On days that the sun rises at our 6 AM and sets at our 6 PM, everything is neat and tidy, and these time-hours are 60 minutes each. But if the sun rises at 5 AM and sets at 8 PM, there are 15 hours in the daytime and 9 hours at night, so the day’s time-hours are 75 minutes each (and the night’s time-hours are 45 minutes each).

      In any case, the first hour usually means the first time-hour of the day, so during our long day we suggested above, starting at 5 AM and lasting until 6:15 AM. The 3rd hour would start at 9:45 AM.

      If Peter and John were praying at the 9th hour, it was probably the afternoon prayer, “Minchah,” starting at 4:45 PM (correct me if I am wrong:-) in our 5am-8pm day.

      If Jesus died at the 3rd hour around Passover, according to this great site https://www.myzmanim.com/, sun rises around 6:20 AM and sets around 7 PM, so a time-hour is around 63 minutes long. The third hour would start around 8:30 AM and finish around 9:33 AM.

      All this is pretty general, so I won’t attest to it’s absolute correctness:-)

      Hope it helps!

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