Morning Prayers 

Pray Hard Or Go Home

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Time For Saturday Mornings Prayer Of The Day

“Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord?

And who shall stand in his holy place?

He who has clean hands and a pure heart,

who does not lift up his soul to what is false

and does not swear deceitfully.” – Psalm 24:3-4

 

What specific triggers or “pressure places” throughout your week can you count on to reveal the true contents of your heart?

 

For some, it’s getting stuck in rush hour traffic after a long day at the office.

 

If you have small children, it might be the not-so-simple but oh-so-sanctifying process of getting your family ready and out the door for church on Sundays.

 

Maybe it’s interacting with a difficult person, the impossible management of an over-packed schedule, or other chronic pressures of life that, over time, can cause an eruption of ugliness – as much as we hate to admit it – from the overflow of what’s really in our hearts.

 

If you are in Christ, you have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus (1 John 1:7,9). Your sins are forgiven. You are a new creation, with a new heart. When God looks at you, He sees the righteousness of His perfect Son (Ezekiel 36:26-27; 2 Corinthians 5:17, 21; Ephesians 4:24; Romans 4:5). This mercy… this love. Oh, may we never get over such amazing grace!

 

So where do we go from here?

 

With all of that good news and new morning mercies – while we live in this world – still the daily battle in the fight against sin remains (Galatians 5:17). We WILL have to deny ourselves today. We WILL have to choose to take up our cross and follow Him (Matthew 16:24). With our identity secure in Christ, let’s stay on top of purity “heart checks” as we grow in Him. Glory to God, we’re not left to do this on our own. The same God who saves us, empowers us by His Spirit to be transformed more and more into His image (Romans 12:2).

 

Are you desperate for a fresh start? You’re not alone.

 

Today, by the power of Christ in us, let’s decide to pursue a pure heart with everything we’ve got. We won’t hit the mark perfectly, but we can pursue it passionately as we walk confidently in His grace. It starts with a willingness to surrender – not my will but Yours, Jesus (Proverbs 3:5-6).

 

Here are five prayers you can pray (and verses you can memorize!) as you seek to grow in purity of heart this week:

 

Search me; Lead me: “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” – Psalm 139:23-24

Draw me close; Cleanse me: “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” – James 4:8

Help me to guard my heart: “How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word.” – Psalm 119:9; “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.”– Proverbs 4:23

Help me to delight in truth; Teach me wisdom: “Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.” – Psalm 51:6

Help me to love like You: “Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from a pure heart.” – 1 Peter 1:22

This week I’m going to write one of these verses down on a note card, and place it in one of my “pressure places.” Want to join me? Share in the comments your verse selection and “pressure placement,” and let’s fight the good fight together!

 

Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

 

Zarah Sultana to attend event claiming ‘thousands’ killed by Israel in Gaza war

Coventry MP will appear at next week's The World Transformed festival in Brighton during the Youth Rising For Palestine event

 

An event advertised for next week’s pro-Jeremy Corbyn The World Transformed festival in Brighton is falsely making the claim that “thousands” of Palestinians were killed by Israeli airstrikes in Gaza last May.

 

Exodus 33:14“My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

 

Leviticus 25:4 “But in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to the Lord. You shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard.”

 

Psalm 73:26“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

 

Psalm 61:1-4b “Hear my cry, O God; listen to my prayer. From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I. For you have been my refuge, a strong tower against the foe. I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of your wings.”

 

Psalm 62:1-2 “My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.”

 

Isaiah 40:28-31“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

 

Hebrews 4: 9-11“Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience.”

 

Hebrews 4:15-16“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”

 

Matthew 11:28-29“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

 

Psalm 127:1-2 “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord guards the city, the guard keeps watch in vain. It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives sleep to his beloved.”

 

1 Peter 5:7 “Casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”

 

Psalm 62:5“Yes, my soul, find rest in God: my hope comes from him.”

 

Psalm 116:7 “Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.”

 

Mark 6:31“Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

 

1 John 3:19“This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence.”

 

1 Peter 3:4 “Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.”

 

Psalm 131:2 “But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content.”

 

Proverbs 19:23” The fear of the Lord leads to life; then one rests content, untouched by trouble.”

 

Philippians 4:12“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.”

 

1 Timothy 6:6 “But godliness with contentment is great gain.”

 

John 14:27“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.”

 

John 16:33“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.”

 

Philippians 4: 6-7 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, shall guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

 

Story Of The Day

 

Labour MP Zarah Sultana is listed as being amongst the speakers at the Youth Rising For Palestine event next Tuesday, which being backed by the Young Labour organisation and the Palestinian Solidarity Campaign.

 

Alongside the hugely inflated death toll resulting from the latest conflict between Israel and Hamas, an advert for the event also makes the claim that “the British political establishment seeks to suppress Palestinian voices and those acting in solidarity with them.”

 

The World Transformed was an event set up under Corbyn’s leadership of Labour to coincide with the party’s annual conference.

 

While hugely supportive of Corbyn when he led the party, TWT is now openly hostile to current leader Keir Starmer.

 

Next Tuesday’s meeting, at Friends Meeting House, is promoted with the text:”May 2021 saw thousands of Palestinians killed by Israeli air strikes in the Gaza strip, in the wake of a wave of protests against violent evictions in Sheikh Jarrah and across occupied Palestine.

 

The six weekdays and Shabbat are interconnected. Just as one has a body and a soul, so, too, the week has a body (the work days) and a soul (Shabbat). Just as a wholesome person’s body and soul work together harmoniously – the body receives spiritual inspiration from the soul and in turn serves as the vehicle for the soul’s expression – so, too, an ideal week is one in which Shabbat and the weekdays are closely linked. During the week we prepare for Shabbat, thus elevating and sanctifying the weekdays, which draw their value from Shabbat.

 

The Sages recount that Shammai would always eat in honor of Shabbat. When he saw a fine animal he would say: “This is for Shabbat.” If he found an even better one, he would eat the first one and leave the better one for Shabbat (Beitza 16a). In other words, all week he would eat lower quality food, always saving the best for Shabbat. In this way, whenever he ate he honored Shabbat and considered how he could honor and sanctify it. Hillel possessed a different trait. All his actions were undertaken for the greater glory of God. He would make a point of honoring and sanctifying the weekdays as well as Shabbat, thus fulfilling the mandate to “Bless God every day” (Tehilim 68:20). Therefore, when good food came his way during the week he would eat it, trusting that just as God made sure he had good food during the week, He would make sure that he would have even better food for the holy Shabbat. Thus Hillel honored and valued each day (Rashi ad loc.; Ramban, Shemot 20:8).

 

According to halakhic authorities, even Hillel agreed that for most people it is preferable to act like Shammai and designate the best food for Shabbat. However, Hillel’s trust in God was exceptional, so he was certain that God would provide him with better food for Shabbat. One who does not possess this degree of faith must follow Shammai and honor Shabbat by designating the best food for Shabbat (MB 250:2).

 

Nowadays, this law is almost irrelevant. There is such a vast selection of food in contemporary supermarkets at all times that there is no reason to think that if one eats a particular food during the week, he will not be able to find food as good for Shabbat. Therefore, today one must simply plan his shopping such that the foods for Shabbat will be the best.

 

While shopping for Shabbat, it is most proper to articulate that “this shopping is to honor the holy Shabbat,” thus fulfilling the commandment of Zakhor (Ramban op. cit.). It is also good to taste the food being prepared for Shabbat in order to season it correctly and enhance the pleasure of Shabbat (MA 250:1 in the name of Arizal; MB 250:2).

 

 

The six weekdays and Shabbat are interconnected. Just as one has a body and a soul, so, too, the week has a body (the work days) and a soul (Shabbat). Just as a wholesome person’s body and soul work together harmoniously – the body receives spiritual inspiration from the soul and in turn serves as the vehicle for the soul’s expression – so, too, an ideal week is one in which Shabbat and the weekdays are closely linked. During the week we prepare for Shabbat, thus elevating and sanctifying the weekdays, which draw their value from Shabbat.

 

The Sages recount that Shammai would always eat in honor of Shabbat. When he saw a fine animal he would say: “This is for Shabbat.” If he found an even better one, he would eat the first one and leave the better one for Shabbat (Beitza 16a). In other words, all week he would eat lower quality food, always saving the best for Shabbat. In this way, whenever he ate he honored Shabbat and considered how he could honor and sanctify it. Hillel possessed a different trait. All his actions were undertaken for the greater glory of God. He would make a point of honoring and sanctifying the weekdays as well as Shabbat, thus fulfilling the mandate to “Bless God every day” (Tehilim 68:20). Therefore, when good food came his way during the week he would eat it, trusting that just as God made sure he had good food during the week, He would make sure that he would have even better food for the holy Shabbat. Thus Hillel honored and valued each day (Rashi ad loc.; Ramban, Shemot 20:8).

 

According to halakhic authorities, even Hillel agreed that for most people it is preferable to act like Shammai and designate the best food for Shabbat. However, Hillel’s trust in God was exceptional, so he was certain that God would provide him with better food for Shabbat. One who does not possess this degree of faith must follow Shammai and honor Shabbat by designating the best food for Shabbat (MB 250:2).

 

Nowadays, this law is almost irrelevant. There is such a vast selection of food in contemporary supermarkets at all times that there is no reason to think that if one eats a particular food during the week, he will not be able to find food as good for Shabbat. Therefore, today one must simply plan his shopping such that the foods for Shabbat will be the best.

 

While shopping for Shabbat, it is most proper to articulate that “this shopping is to honor the holy Shabbat,” thus fulfilling the commandment of Zakhor (Ramban op. cit.). It is also good to taste the food being prepared for Shabbat in order to season it correctly and enhance the pleasure of Shabbat (MA 250:1 in the name of Arizal; MB 250:2)

 

n the Torah, night precedes day for all matters. This is derived from the description of the world’s creation, about which the Torah states: “And there was evening and there was morning, day one” (Bereishit 1:5). This tells us that each 24-hour day begins at night, and thus Shabbat, the seventh day, begins at night. An important concept is enfolded within this Jewish outlook – night and darkness precede day and light. First questions and dilemmas arise and one is mired in darkness and uncertainty, but from this answers emerge and light shines upon him. This is also true of our history. At first we were enslaved to Pharaoh in Egypt, but from there were freed, received the Torah, and entered Eretz Yisrael. This is how it always is for the Jewish people – darkness and troubles are followed by light and redemption. First we must deal with our problems, but from within them we are elevated and refined.

 

In contrast, when it comes to the nations of the world, day precedes night. Nation after nation ascends the stage of history, makes a vast noise, and shakes up the world. But when difficulties arise and problems begin, the night draws nearer, and finally the nation declines and disappears. It happened to the Babylonians, the Persians, the Greeks, and the Romans. The secret of Jewish immortality is connected to the fact that for us, the night precedes the day.

 

Since the night precedes the day, the seventh day begins at the beginning of the night. But the Sages were uncertain as to exactly when night begins. Is it when the sun sets and is no longer visible to us, or is it when it becomes dark and three medium-sized stars can be seen in the sky? In other words, are day and night defined by sun or by light? In Eretz Yisrael, about twenty minutes separate sunset and the emergence of the stars, though this interval fluctuates based on the time of year and the particular locale’s elevation above sea level, as explained in n. 1 below.

 

Another unique feature of Judaism is that not every question has an absolute answer. Doubt and uncertainty occasionally play a role, and the present halakha is an example of this. The time between sunset (shki’at ha-ĥama, or “shki’a”) and the emergence of stars (tzeit ha-kokhavim, or “tzeit”) is classified as a time when it is uncertain whether it is day or night and is called “bein ha-shmashot.”

 

In practice, for all Torah laws, including Shabbat, we follow the well-known principle: “Safek de-Oraita le-ĥumra,” that is, we rule strictly when in doubt about Torah law. Therefore, Shabbat begins at shki’a and ends at tzeit.[1]

 

It is a mitzva to study a great deal of Torah on Shabbat. The Sages stated: “Shabbat and Yom Tov were given solely to study Torah on them” (y. Shabbat 15c). The Sages also stated:

 

The Torah said to God: “Master of the Universe, when the Jews enter the land, this one will run to his vineyard and that one to his field; what will become of me?” God responded “I have a partner with whom I will pair you. Its name is Shabbat, on which they do not work, and thus can engross themselves in you.” (Tur §290)

 

The Sages also stated:

 

God said to Israel: “My children, did I not write to you in My Torah ‘Let not this book of the Torah cease from your mouths, but recite it day and night’ (Yehoshua 1:8)? Even though you labor for six days, you shall dedicate Shabbat to Torah alone.” Based on this, the Sages advise people to always rise early and study on Shabbat, go to the synagogue and to the beit midrash, read the Torah and haftara, and then go home to eat and drink, thus fulfilling the verse: “Go, eat your bread in gladness, and drink your wine in joy” (Kohelet 9:7). (Tanna De-vei Eliyahu Rabba 1)

 

The Sages tell us that we must divide our time on Shabbat. Half of it should be spent studying Torah in the beit midrash, and half should be spent enjoying Shabbat through food, drink, and sleep (Pesaĥim 68b). Some maintain that it is only on Yom Tov that the division is meant to be even, but that on Shabbat, which is designated for Torah study, one must dedicate more than half of one’s time to Torah study (Baĥ, based on Rambam). However, most poskim maintain that on Shabbat too one should divide the time evenly, with half one’s time spent on Torah and half on physical pleasures. It would seem then that the obligation is to dedicate about 12.5 hours to Torah study, since Shabbat with its tosefet lasts approximately 25 hours. However, in practice, it would seem that we can be lenient and leave out of the calculation the seven hours one needs to sleep each night. There are then 18 hours remaining. Of these, one should dedicate nine hours to Torah and nine hours to enjoying Shabbat with food, drink, and the pleasure of extra sleep. Although Torah study is the primary spiritual component of Shabbat, according to a number of poskim one may be lenient and include in these nine hours of Torah the time spent in prayer, on condition that the prayer service is not too drawn out. We see then that in practice one must dedicate at least six hours to Torah study every Shabbat. Adding this to three hours of prayer, we reach a total of nine hours.

 

While an even split between spiritual and physical pleasures is the general rule, the specifics of one’s situation can alter the balance somewhat. Torah scholars, who tend toward the ascetic during the week while they diligently study should add a bit more physical pleasure, whereas working men who are not able to study properly during the week should add a bit more Torah study (y. Shabbat 15c; Pesikta Rabbati, end of ch. 23; Beit Yosef 288:1). Similarly, Rema writes:

 

Working men who do not study Torah all week should study more Torah on Shabbat than scholars, who study Torah all week. Torah scholars should indulge themselves a bit with the pleasure of eating and drinking, since they take pleasure in their learning all week. (290:2)

 

The logic behind this is that Shabbat is meant to help people reach absolute perfection both spiritually and physically. People who work all week need to perfect themselves through more Torah study, while Torah scholars who weaken their bodies all week while they diligently study Torah need to perfect themselves in the physical realm. In any case, both groups must seriously endeavor to enjoy Shabbat spiritually and physically, as the combination of the two makes each more productive. Thus man reaches perfection, and merits a deep and true oneg Shabbat.[1]

 

The Torah commands us to refrain from melakha on Shabbat: “But the seventh day is Shabbat of the Lord your God; you shall not do any melakha” (Shemot 20:9), that is, any of the 39 types of melakha done while erecting the Mishkan, as explained to Moshe at Sinai (see above, 9:1-2). The Sages added safeguards (“fences”) so that no one would do anything that might then lead to the violation of a Torah prohibition (see above, 9:3-4). There is an additional commandment in the Torah to rest on Shabbat: “Six days you shall do your work, but on the seventh day you shall cease” (Shemot 23:12). The point here is that in addition to avoiding melakha on Shabbat, we are also meant to cease and rest from toils and troubles. Thus one should not open his store or move heavy objects in preparation for the workweek. Even though these are not included in the 39 prohibited categories of melakha, nevertheless acting in these ways negates the mitzva of resting on Shabbat (Ramban, Vayikra 23:24; see MT 21:1 and the next section below).

 

Continuing with this line of thought, we find the prophets enjoining us to preserve the holy and sanctified atmosphere of Shabbat, a day on which one must avoid mundane activities. One who is careful to follow this merits great rewards, as Yeshayahu proclaims:

 

If you refrain from trampling the Shabbat, from pursuing your affairs on My holy day; if you call Shabbat “delight,” the Lord’s holy [day] “honored,” and if you honor it, and not go in your own way, nor look to your affairs, nor speak of them – then you will seek the Lord’s delight. I will set you astride the heights of the earth, and let you enjoy the heritage of your father Yaakov – for the mouth of the Lord has spoken. (Yeshayahu 58:13-14)

 

The Sages derive many guidelines about Shabbat from this verse, and the common denominator is that one should not behave on Shabbat as one does during the week. The Gemara elaborates:

 

“Honor it” – your Shabbat clothes should not be like your weekday clothes…. “Not go in your own way” – the way you walk on Shabbat should not be like the way you walk on weekdays. “Nor look to your affairs” – it is forbidden to look after your own affairs on Shabbat, but one may look after the affairs of heaven [i.e., religious matters]. “Nor speak of them” – your speech on Shabbat should not be like your speech on weekdays. Speaking [about mundane matters] is forbidden, but thinking about them is permitted. (Shabbat 113a).

 

These directives have a higher status than general rabbinic enactments since they are rooted in the Torah’s commandment to rest and are elaborated upon by the prophets.

 

We have already explained the mitzvot connected to honoring and delighting in Shabbat (chs. 2, 4, 5, 7). Honor (kavod) is expressed by wearing special Shabbat clothes, showering, cleaning the house, and lighting candles. Delight (oneg) is expressed by making Shabbat enjoyable through meals, sleep, and Torah study. In this chapter, we will explain the mitzvot and the rabbinic safeguards meant to protect Shabbat’s atmosphere as a holy day of rest. These mitzvot are at the root of everything that the Sages through the ages forbade as a weekday activity. Any activity that is unquestionably mundane is prohibited on Shabbat. This includes ball-playing for adults, swimming, working out, and bike-riding. To protect the spirit of Shabbat, the Sages also introduced the prohibition of muktzeh (as explained in the next chapter) and ordained that one may not play musical instruments (sections 17-19 below).

 

Even though the mitzvot to preserve Shabbat’s spirit and avoid weekday activity (uvdin de-ĥol) are of a higher status than the safeguards of the Sages, nevertheless the halakha is stricter in demanding adherence to the safeguards, such as the prohibition to do melakha with a shinui or to ask a non-Jew to do a melakha, which are forbidden even for the sake of a mitzva (as explained above 9:3-4, 11), whereas the prohibitions connected to preserving the spirit of Shabbat may be disregarded in the service of a mitzva (as explained below). There are some prohibitions that are comprised of both of these elements: if prohibited solely to preserve the spirit of Shabbat, it might have been permitted for the sake of a mitzva, but since the Sages decreed that it is prohibited, it remains prohibited even for the sake of a mitzva.

 

That Is Just Some Of The Rituals A Jewish Person Goes Though

 

 

 

According to the Torah, Shabbat commemorates the day that God rested from creating the world; the word Shabbat literally means “he rested.” Exodus 34:21 states: “Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest.” Shabbat is considered a day of peace and holiness.