This great Biblical Temple Prayer (New Testament and Old Testament) is called “the Shama”, and it, or it’s equivalent, is daily chanted in all Christian Orthodox circles. Some do it twice, some three times per day.
It is a time of reflecting on the #1 commandment and the #2 commandment. It is personal remembrance with God, and setting your day out right. It is part of adjusting like with a compass, to be on the path we have all been created for. The beginning part “Hear” in the Greek and the Hebrew was used for “obedience”, so it’s declaring to your body “Hear O Israel” meaning Respond to what you heard, Obey and Rule with God. That is the meaning in the original, “Shama Israel”, as Christ declared in Mark 12:29.
Below is a handy print you can use for your wall. Frame it or keep it handy to remind yourselves to meditate on the words. There’s a short version and a long version, interchange as you feel fitting in your prayer service.
This is the oldest of all Christian liturgies, straight from the Temple services as reiterated by Christ. It is today in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer (it is accepted and used by all Orthodox) as part of the Communion service. The congregation chants it before the Decalogue (or 10 Commandments). In Rite II the Anglican and Episcopal Church primarily uses this Temple prayer “Hear o Israel” in place of the ten commandments. Many of the Liturgies say “Hear what Christ says” in place of it, which is also the same Temple liturgical meaning or emphasis all along.
Below is a copy of the official Anglican Missal, where it is an essential part of the daily communion service:
This is called “the Shama”. The true Orthodox Culdees have always treated the Shama, together with the Our Father, as a foundation of Christian prayers that are used at the Divine service times (morning and evening). Anglicans do it at the minimum at the midday service during communion. In any case, the standard BCP liturgical books have in the preface that the Bishop can deviate slightly to include or removing some of the festivals for the local needs. This depends also on availability of ministers, of which the Bishop will help in. This makes room for the more orthodox Culdees, and our more literalist Celtic Israelite faith.
We see in the Biblical record that Saint Paul, Jesus (Yahshua), and all the Apostles observed the Temple times of prayer, and did pray these prayers twice daily as is the custom in today’s orthodox church together as found in the Canonical Hours, and used in the time of Sunrise and Sunset still by the Jews.
The Shama is recited together with other Blessings (or together with the Our Father prayer), like Daniel prayed, facing toward Jerusalem at the Morning and Evening services, which is at dawn and sunset.
Paul said that he offered Nazarite vow offerings in the Temple in order to prove that Christianity should follow these ancient ways of prayer (see Acts 21:20-23). He taught that all should follow the law, although it is not a requirement that everyone has to first kept it all perfectly before being eligible for salvation. Twice in the book of Acts he had to correct some Pharisees who said works were a prerequisite for salvation. He then gave an outline of the laws “abstain from idols, things strangled, and from blood” a small outline of the Levitical laws, and said “then ye shall do well” (meaning for their physical health, not eternal salvation)and explained that they could learn the rest of the law in detail in every city where the law is preached every Sabbath day (see the context in Acts 15:21).
We know that good works come more as a product after being saved, not as a prerequisite for our eternal salvation. Only the blood of Jesus Christ can once and for all, upon acceptance, for ever seal our eternal salvation. However, after that, we will abound in good works, and our rewards on top of that sure foundation in Christ will all produce something that lasts into eternity, whether eternal loss or eternal treasure (1 Cor 3:11-15).
The blessings of having the good works such as the daily prayers are evident in all the fruit of having started out the day right with YAHWEH. It is daily renewal of Christ in us, as we pray “for this day’s daily bread” in the Lord’s prayer. Every day may require something new, and we claim each day accordingly. It is an act of faith and a supreme blessing to be starting our day out right, and even together chanting the same words in agreement with two or more. Much more so when when chanted in agreement together with more of His church worldwide!
Prayers together, and prayers in agreement carry a special power. It behooves us then to pray together these prayers, including the whole daily services. If you use our common liturgy widget, then we know which Psalms we are praying and chanting for the day. This is also the basic orthodox practice, a few psalms in the morning and evening as part of the Psalter, Day 1-30 each month. The Common Psalter is included in the Book of Common Prayer. We use the 1928 version for usage in the church overall. When anyone agrees concerning prayers in Christ’s name we have a special promise from YAHWEH that it will be done. The best prayers straight from the Bible are highlighted in our liturgy, and also in the Psalter, which is quite a blessing to chant all the Biblical Psalms through the whole month. In the daily service is also a Scripture reading, which ensures we also go through the whole Bible and our prayers are completely Biblical of Divine inspiration. We provide a public service sermon every Saturday (Sabbath) which is based on the lectionary Bible reading for the day. So daily we can all chant the same prayers, the Psalms, etc, and reflect together on the same verses of the Bible as we endeavor to go through the whole word of God. Man does not live by bread alone, but (lives/prospers) by every word.
However we recommend at least every day, every person should include not only the Lord’s Prayer, but also the Shama. It is recited by the majority of His church and was done more so in the pure Orthodox Celtic church (the Culdees). Recognizing these are all nationalistic (Kingdom) prayers not just for our own selves, but it is a corporate prayer as we are praying to “Our Father” for “Our bread”, “Our forgiveness” and “Our deliverance”. We pray in agreement nationally as His elect government on earth, and that is powerful. It will always produce fruit.
God helps us improve more and more as we daily seek Him, take up our crosses and follow Him. No one will deny that the best way to start our day out is in corporate prayer.
The Shama prayer is from the Bible and from Christ’s declaration below. As a Temple Prayer it was firmly established many centuries before Christ. It was was first instituted by the Patriarchs and formalized by the men of the Great Assembly, which was presided by Ezra the priestly scribe, around the year 450 BCE. THE GREAT ASSEMBLY OF THE 120 MEN OF ISRAEL INCLUDED: • HAGGAI • ZACHARIAH • MALACHI • MORDECHAI • NEHEMIAH • EZRA.
THE FIRST AND GREATEST COMMANDMENT
Jesus the Christ: “ THE DAILY SHAMA”
In Mark 12:29 Jesus quotes the First Century Hebrew
Prayer called the “SHAMA”, of Deuteronomy 6:4.
And Jesus said: “The First of all the commandments is,
HEAR O ISRAEL, YAHWEH OUR ELOHIM IS
ONE YAHWEH. And thou shalt love YAHWEH thy Elohim
with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all
thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first
The full prayer from Deuteronomy 6:4 (in KJV):
“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God [is] one LORD:
And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine
heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.
And these words, which I command thee this day, shall
be in thine heart: And thou shalt teach them diligently
unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou
sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the
way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest
And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand,
and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.
And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house,
and on thy gates.”
The text above is a functional liturgical prayer. For more information on the background of the English Liturgy you can find a great analysis we’ve put together in the following article:
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