Pauca Verba is Latin for A Few Words.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Synagogue Evening Prayer

THERE ARE GOSPEL SCENES where Jesus is present in the synagogue, the local meeting house of the Jewish community: a place for study, prayer, court and communal gathering. By contrast, the temple was the singular house of worship in Jerusalem where sacrifices took place. Below is a Jewish Evening Prayer prayed in the synagogue. Perhaps Jesus would have heard and prayed a prayer like this:

Grant, O eternal God, that we may lie down in peace, and raise us up, O Sovereign, to life renewed. Spread over us the shelter of Your peace; guide us with Your good counsel; and for Your Name's sake, be our Help. Shield us from hatred and plague; keep us from war and famine and anguish; subdue our inclination to evil. O God, our Guardian and Helper, our gracious and merciful Ruler, give us refuge in the shadow of Your wings. O guard our coming and our going, that now and always we may have life and peace. Blessed be the Lord, Guardian of His people Israel forever. Amen.


  1. Jackie ColasantiJune 3, 2014 at 9:34 AM

    Thanks for sharing this Jewish prayer. Not so very different from our own prayers asking for God's protection.

    1. The Jews are our "older brothers and sisters" in faith. "Abraham our father in faith," the Roman Canon prays. We would have gotten these prayer ideas from them. Too many Christians forget the Jewishness of Jesus, Mary, Joseph and the Apostles.

    2. This is something that I have always wondered and never thought to ask. Maybe you could tell me Father. Once the Apostles became Christians and were baptized and spread the word of Jesus, did they still practice their Jewish customs. For example, Jesus made them priests and gave the gift of the Eucharist at what was their seder dinner for Passover. Would they still have celebrated the passing over of the Angel of Death as part of their history? This might sound a trivial question, but I have always wondered what kind of traditions they might have held on to and what rites they established as Christians. Thank you.

    3. Not a trivial question at all. Read the first few chapters of the Acts of the Apostles. It's a good read and lays out the growing self-awareness of the early Christians - what they kept of the ancient Jewish law and what was abandoned or changed.