So, with this post we start to become regular partners. I’ve lived up to my end of the deal by making a second post and adding content especially to the “Prayers” page. How are things going on your end? Again let me encourage you to go to the PRAYERS page and download The Shema. Say it with your family at breakfast or dinner, or use it as a bookmark in your Bible or that book you are reading with the kids so that you remember to pray it together. You will have to work a little harder than they will to memorize it, but don’t let their fresh, young minds intimidate you.
Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
Hear will be our focus today. This is an English translation of the Hebrew word Shema, the first word uttered by Jews when they pray this prayer each day. In addition to “hear”, this word can also carry the weight of “listen” or “obey.” Let’s consider each.
As parents we hear a lot. Every mother has had days when she tired of hearing her title…”Mommy, Mommy.” To hear is the most passive translation of this word, yet for us to even hear God in the midst of the loud cacophony in which we live is a significant accomplishment. Do your family a favor this week and introduce them to a moment of silence in which God’s voice can be heard. Pause for 30 seconds before or after you repeat the Shema together in silent reflection. Kids may resist silence at first, but often, with practice, they will come to crave it.
Listen ratchets up the demand on our end. It requires us to plug one ear, so that, what comes in one won’t go out the other. Listening requires attentiveness, a conscious silencing of the other noise. As you repeat the Shema this week listen to the words – not just with your ears but with your heart. Ask yourself and your children, “How is God speaking afresh to us today through these ancient words?”
Obey is the ultimate intended result of our hearing and listening. Appropriately, we usually associate obedience with action. However, realize that sometimes God calls us not just to go and do, but often first we must come and see. As you listen to God this week what are you learning about him, your relationship with him, and your relationship through Him with the rest of his creatures and creation?
Practice the obedient action of hearing and listening this week. Enjoy repeating the sacred, ancient words of the Shema with your children, reminding them that Jesus spoke these words every day of his earthly life. Let’s pray that God speaks to and conforms their hearts and ours into the image of our Lord Jesus Christ this week as we seek to live more completely…