The ‘prayer struggle’ is real. I mean the HOW TO’S of prayer seem essential to the Follower of Messiah. Let’s look at a Hebrew word that will give us some insight, some helpful instruction, kind of PRAYER FOR DUMMIES.
The Hebrew word kavanah is essentially MINDFULNESS in the words we pray. It is the word in Judaism used to describe HOW one prays/petitions either alone, or in a group. Kavanah is focused, intentional, directed, and purposeful praying.
It is having one’s emotions invested in one’s words. But it is far more than just for our words. It is for our LIVING.
Kavanah: Imaginative Prayer and Petition – Intentional, focused experience. It is to be REVERENTIALLY AWARE OF WHOSE PRESENCE we are standing in, kneeling before, whispering to, and thinking in.
KAVANAH is more than intentional, thoughtful prayer and petition. It is a lifestyle of REVERENCING THE NAME.
“Da Lifnei mi atah Omed”
I love the above quote that is often written above the Holy Ark that carries the Torah Scroll in synagogues. I love it because it reminds us while INSTRUCTING us: ‘KNOW BEFORE WHOM YOU STAND’.
It’s NOT a question ‘do you know…?’.
It’s a B O L D STATEMENT.
Kavanah, or Intention! In the words of one sage, “Prayer without kavanah is like a body without a soul.”
Wouldn’t you agree that voicing matters in ‘prayer mode’ according to the world’s definition and practice, without being MINDFUL and PRESENT with humble REVERENCE, reduces this Holy Experience to nothing more than acting, remaining masked and pretending while speaking to an imaginary being?
Kavanah is the wholehearted devotion gained through experiencing Another. It is learned through PRACTICE. All of LIFE, after all, is practicing ‘something’ – either good or bad (that makes us pros at something!).
We were created to practice GOOD, however, and to be AWAKENED and AWARE of The Magnificence of ADONAI’s Great Name, His Presence and Power at work in this world HE is redeeming in and through those who hear His Voice.
The bottom line is that the Holy Spirit teaches us how to pray, how to talk with HaSHEM, and most importantly how to talk with others. Yeshua’s talmidim said ‘Teach us to pray!’ (Luke 11:1 – CJB):
One time Yeshua was in a certain place praying. As he finished, one of the talmidim said to him, “Sir, teach us to pray, just as Yochanan taught his talmidim.” 2 He said to them, “When you pray, say:
May your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come.
3 Give us each day the food we need.
4 Forgive us our sins, for we too forgive everyone who has wronged us.
And do not lead us to hard testing.’”
I would think that learning mindfulness in PRAYER (self-examination Before His Face) and PETITION (compassionate intercessions for others) is learned as it’s practiced. But most importantly it teaches us that that every moment we breathe, live, speak, move and think is The Moment to ‘Da Lifnei mi atah Omed!’.