Jewish prayer uses the idiom of the Hebrew Bible. A person may choose his own words when praying to God; but when he uses the words of the siddur, he becomes part of a people. Our liturgy unites Messianic Jews and Messianic Gentiles who are one in Messiah Yeshua everywhere because we speak the same words and express the same thoughts.1
This is not a complete list of the liturgy used at Rosh Pinah Synagogue. Some of the blessings and prayers have been modified to work in a Messianic Jewish worship setting. The purpose of this document is to assist you in learning and absorbing the truth and joy of liturgy that spans across the centuries and rejoices in the God in Israel.
Barchu - Bless
Bless the LORD who is to be praised;
Bless the LORD who is blessed for all eternity.
Barchu means to bless. It is a call to worship. To move us from the ordinary to extraordinary. It brings us into the realization that we are in the presence of the Creator of the Universe, The God of Israel.
Mi Khamokha – Who is Like You? (Exodus 15:11)
Who is like You among the gods, O LORD?
Who is like You, LORD there is none else.
You are awesome in praises, working wonders, O LORD.
Who is like You, O LORD?
We sing Mi Khamokha to recall the astonishing moment when God saved the Israelites from sure death by creating a passage through the sea, and to remind us to be grateful for freedom from many kinds of narrow places. It reminds us that the God of Israel is a force that is stronger than any ocean or enemy2
The Blessing of The Messiah
Blessed are You, LORD our God, King of the universe, who gave to us the way of salvation through the Messiah Yeshua.
Yeshua said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” Yochanan 14:6. “Of all the various berachot (blessings), this is one of the most important of all, since we come to be in a right relationship with God - the Father of Glory - by means of salvation through Yeshua the Mashiach. This simple Hebrew blessing expresses our thanks to the LORD for the way of salvation given through Yeshua the Messiah.”3
V’shamru – “You shall observe” (Exodus 31:16, 17)
The children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath and observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as an everlasting covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever. For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day He ceased from work and rested.
V’shamru is taken from Exodus 31:16-17. Shabbat is created to give us rest and to restore the soul. “Vayinafash” is from the Hebrew word “nefesh” (soul). Shabbat is the promise that there will be a time of peace for all people. As God guards us, we guard Shabbat.4
Amidah – Avot (Fathers)
Blessed are You, LORD our God and God of our fathers, God of Abraham, God of Isaac, and God of Jacob; the great, mighty and awesome God, the Most High God, who bestows steadfast love and goodness and is Master of all. You remember the kindness of our fathers, and lovingly bring redemption to their descendants for the sake of Your Name.
O King, Helper, Savior, and Shield. Blessed are You, O LORD, Shield of Abraham.
In the Avot, by calling the LORD "our God" we identify ourselves as His faithful followers. Our connection and blessing come from the promises made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The promises are realized through Messiah Yeshua.
Amidah – Gevurot (powers) – Shortened version
You O LORD are mighty forever. You raise the dead, for You are mighty in salvation.
In the second blessing called, Gevurot we extol God's greatness in giving life, in restoring life, in providing the necessities of life. We realize that it is the God of Israel that raises from the dead. Yeshua was the first fruits of those who rise from the dead. Death does not have victory over us because of Yeshua’s resurrection that brings Life!
Shema (Deuteronomy 6:4)
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one!” Blessed be His name whose glorious kingdom is forever and ever.
The Shema is not a prayer in the ordinary sense of the word, but for thousands of years it has been an integral part of the prayer service. The Shema is a declaration of faith, a pledge of allegiance to One God, an affirmation to the God of Israel.
V’ahavta (Deuteronomy 6:5-9)
You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. And these words which I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, when you walk by the way, when you lie down, and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.
In the V’ahavta we are commanded to love God. Typically love is an emotion. But, the love in the V’ahavta is a love not of feelings but action. The Mishnah says that to love God “with all your heart” means with the impulses of the heart and "with all your means" means with all your wealth or with whatever God has allotted you (Berakhot 54a). Love of God must be unconditional, in times of blessing and in times of suffering. Love of God expresses itself best-as in all love-by a willingness to sacrifice and to do things on behalf of others. It implies the readiness to sanctify His name, which means to behave in ways that make God beloved to people. 5
Blessed are You, O LORD our God, King of the Universe, who creates the fruit of the vine.
HaMotsi - Blessing over the Bread
Blessed are You, O LORD our God, King of the Universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.
1. Hayim H. Donin. To Pray As A Jew
4. Hayim H. Donin. To Pray As A Jew
5. Hayim H. Donin. To Pray As A Jew