Spiritual disciplines are simply those aspects of being Yeshua’s disciple that require some intentionality. They are "disciplines" because they require self-discipline to do regularly and well.
Disciples study their master’s lifestyle, worldview, use of scripture, ahavah Yisrael (love for Israel, the people and the land), and methods of worshipping. Through these methods we learn to pray, to fast, to study, to love a life of simplicity, solitude, submission, service, confession, worship, guidance, and celebration.
The idea of prayer to many people does not even occur to them. To ask God for help of any kind is not something they do. These are the people who see themselves as self-sufficient, and able to take care of themselves. They have such a high view of themselves that they think all their needs can be met through their own wisdom and efforts.
If they only knew that the source of wisdom is HaShem, He wants to help us; He wants to be in all that we do, in every moment of our lives. There is not too large or to small task that we should not involve HaShem. The Besorah Tovah (Good News) says: Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. Philippians 4:6
Within our prayer lives, we need communal and personal forms of prayer, the structure of the Siddur (prayer book), as well as hitbodedut (unstructured prayer). For they all draw us closer to HaShem. And yet, there is something special about our personal prayer times – alone, secluded, without distraction.
Although Yeshua exemplifies the pattern of formal communal worship within the Temple and synagogues, he also teaches us: But you, when you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. For your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. -Matthew 6:6
His brother Ya’acov HaTzaddik says: Ya’acov 4:2-3 "The reason you don’t have is that you don’t pray! Or you pray and don’t receive, because you pray with the wrong motive that of wanting to indulge your own desires."
In addition to regular tefilah (prayer) from the Siddur every day, many Jewish tzadikim (righteous) frequently recited extemporaneous prayers. In fact, our Rabbi, Yeshua exemplified to his Chasidim (his holy followers) that they should spend time in prayer alone each day, talking aloud to God in his own words, as if "talking to a good friend." We learn that the best place to do hitbodedut was in a field or forest, among the natural works of HaShem’s creation. The hours spent in secluded prayer, according to Reb Nachman, were one of the primary ways to build a relationship with God.
Here are some Guidelines of Formal Prayer of the Heart Practice
A. Place: Set aside a sacred space, a quiet place consecrated to your desire for communion with the Father in heaven. Plead with God to draw you closer and let you truly serve Him. This must be done alone, preferably in nature, in any place where you will not be interrupted by others.
B. Time: Choose a time most conducive to silent interior meditative prayer, when you are alert and not likely to be interrupted. For most that is early morning or early evening. An hour daily of prayer of the Heart session is best, with a brief walking meditation in between for more than one session.
C. Speak from the heart: If at times you find yourself unable to speak to God or even open your mouth, the very fact that you are there before Him wanting and yearning to speak is itself very good. You can even turn your very inability to speak into a prayer. Tell HaShem that you feel so far away that you cannot even speak to Him! Ask Him to have mercy on you and open your mouth to tell Him what you need. You should hold these conversations in whatever language you speak best. Our set prayers are said in Hebrew, but if this is not one’s native language, it is difficult to use it to give expression to all one’s innermost thoughts and feelings and the heart is less drawn after the words. It is easier to pour out your heart and say everything you need in your own language.
Go out and seek HaShem today, in the name of Yeshua. Speak to HaShem daily.
Tags: communal worship, confession, disciple, disciples, distraction, forms of prayer, intentionality, personal prayer, philippians, prayer book, prayer times, scripture, self discipline, simplicity, solitude, source of wisdom, spiritual disciplines, submission service, supplication, synagogues
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