DayBreaks for 3/17/20: Berakah Praise
From the DayBreaks archive, March 2010:
I recently preached a sermon on Jesus as the Master of Prayer. We sometimes can start to think of Jesus as too much of a 20th century Gentile man. He was anything but. Jesus lived as a Jew, was born and raised as a Jew, educated as a Jew, knew their customs and traditions and practiced them up to a point. And the Jews had certain beliefs about prayer that we find hints of in Jesus’ recorded prayers.
First: the Jews had a practice called Berakah. Every devout Jew was expected to say 100 praises a day to God. These praises had a very common form to start with before branching out into the rest of the prayer. They went something like this: Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe… After that beginning, they would start to offer specific praises, such as Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, for the harvest of grain that feeds our bodies or Blessed art Thou, O Lord our God, King of the Universe, for the dawning of this new day. One hundred times a day such a praise was to be uttered. When you consider that the typical person is only awake for about 16 hours a day, that comes to about 1 praise every 7 minutes. I don’t know how successful the Jews were at keeping this practice, but it is a good one and one that we might do well to resurrect.
If your prayer life is like mine, more of my prayers have to do with requests rather than blessing and praising God. Recently, one of my littlest grand daughters wrote about why she loved Jesus and God and said it was partly because they gave her he “wishes”. There’s honesty – and we’re all somewhat like that, aren’t we? While I know that God welcomes our requests, we are also told to give thanks in everything. The Jews believed it was appropriate to do so because God was in charge of everything.
I’ve launched an effort to try to offer berakah praises to God throughout the day. It is interesting: I already find that at the end of the day, my spirits are brighter and I am more thankful for things than I otherwise might be. Want to join me in this practice? Let me know how it is going for you!
PRAYER: Tune our hearts and our lips to sing Your praises, O Lord our God, King of the Universe! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Link to video with facts, symptoms and prevention tips about coronavirus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AITtaAAAdYc
Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>