The Role of Liturgy in Worship & Prayer


And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. (Acts 2:42)

We see in Acts 2:42 a snapshot of the early Messianic community in Jerusalem, and we see that they were continuing to keep the service of “the prayers” (a shorthand way of referring to the liturgical prayer service in the temple/synagogue).

We also see all throughout the Gospels that our Master Yeshua worshiped in the context of the synagogue and temple service, including the liturgical prayer service, so it comes as no surprise that his disciples continued in that way after he ascended to the Father.

As disciples of the Master ourselves, we here at Kehilat Yeshua believe in the value and meaning of the Jewish liturgical prayers.

Where Does the Liturgy Come From?

The prayers originated with the daily offerings that were brought in the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. The Torah ordains that one lamb was to be offered in the morning and a second lamb in the afternoon (Numbers 28:4). This was done every day without exception. These daily offerings were the service and worship of God. Along with these sacrifices, prayers were offered.

Appointed Times

We know the term “appointed times” as referring to the holy days set aside for celebration and worship in Leviticus 23. But did you know that the times of daily sacrifice are also appointed times?

Command the people of Israel and say to them, ‘My offering, my food for my food offerings, my pleasing aroma, you shall be careful to offer to me at its appointed time.’ And you shall say to them, This is the food offering that you shall offer to the Lord: two male lambs a year old without blemish, day by day, as a regular offering. The one lamb you shall offer in the morning, and the other lamb you shall offer at twilight. (Numbers 28:2-4)

Just as the holy festivals are appointed times for us to meet with HaShem on an annual basis, the two daily sacrifices are appointed times for us to meet with Him on a daily basis.

Relevance For Today

The prayers that accompanied these sacrifices have been preserved, passed down, and recited throughout the generations and are now compiled in the Siddur (Jewish prayer book) as the Shacharit, Minchah, and Ma’ariv prayers. We can still participate in this rich and ancient tradition – a tradition and service of worship prescribed by the Holy One, Blessed be He!

By uttering these prayers, we not only present God with a pleasing offering of our lips, but we also join in the generations of Israel past and present, as we follow the Master Yeshua’s example, and worship God in the same manner the disciples did in the First Century.

Liturgy at Kehilat Yeshua

At Kehilat Yeshua, we incorporate the two most central prayers fo the prayer service into our Shabbat morning worship: the Sh’ma and the Sabbath version of the Amidah (Shemoneh Esrei). We also bless the Lord before and after the reading of the Torah, and close our liturgy with the Aleinu. {You can download a pdf of the prayers we recite –here-.}

Minyon

We do not yet have a minyon of men to do the complete liturgical service, but we plan to add the complete prayer service when our group becomes larger.

Prayer at Home

We highly recommend incorporating the liturgical prayers into your private prayer life. Mark did a teaching on this that you can listen to –here- and you can download a pdf of a simplified version of the weekday prayers –here- to help you get started (Large print version –here-).