28th August 2017

Not The How But The Who!

“This, then, is how you should pray: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name…’”
Matthew 6:9 (NIV)

I’m sure that most of us have seen on television Orthodox Jews praying at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem, but have you ever wondered what the leather bands wrapped around their arms and the small box strapped to their foreheads are for?

These are called Phylacteries and are the result of the Jewish literal interpretation of God’s command to remember his commandments when he said—“Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:8-9). There were two of these phylacteries; one is bound around the left arm and the other around the forehead, and both have a small box made of metal containing scriptures, one from Exodus 13:1-10 about remembering the Exodus from Egypt and the other is Deuteronomy 6:8-9, quoted above. Probably only the most orthodox Jews wear them, feeling they are required as the “How” to pray.

Many of the Jewish customs arose out of their sincere desire to faithfully worship God. However, in the time of Jesus he took the Pharisees to task and pointed out very forcefully that with certain individuals “Everything they do is done for men to see: They make their phylacteries wide and the tassels of their prayer garments long…” (Matthew 23:5). They loved to be seen!

Prayer is, of course, about the “who of prayer,” Jesus taught his disciples to pray in a very intimate way, beginning ‘Our Father,’ and he didn’t add any extra information about dressing up or dressing down. No shrines or special places, just a very intimate connection with our Father, and it can happen anywhere—in the car, sitting in our garden, walking around the supermarket, it doesn’t matter because it’s about the “who” and not the “how”!

It is really a conversation with a Parent, a special whisper to someone who loves us more than we can ever comprehend, with a love that never grows cold, never fails. A love that never had a beginning and will never have an end! It’s a ‘come as you are’ invitation! Give it a go—you’ll be pleased that you did.

Our amazing Father, thank you that we can approach your throne any where and at any time, not restricted by any special ways to get noticed by you; because your eyes are always on us and you delight in us.

Study by Cliff Neill


About the Author:
Cliff Neill is an Elder in Grace Communion Church Luton.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion Church Luton
Farley Hill Methodist Church
North Drift Way
Farley Hill

Meeting Time:
Saturday 10:30am

Local Congregational Contact:
Harry Sullivan
Phone: 01908-582222
Email: harry_sullivan@wcg.org.uk

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