Now I am a fully committed, fully believing, fully proud to be a, Jew. I know who my G-d is and I love Him. I fully agree with the customs and rituals of Judaism, well, for the most part that is. I know this to be true. However, I currently find myself in a Bible Study with a great group of Christian women. We are slowly making our way through Pricilla Shirer's book, Fervent. And it is a good one. I mean, I have to skim over the references to Jesus and the Devil, but for the majority of the book I feel her message is one that I can receive deep within my heart.
This week we are discussing knowing your true identity. For it is the Yetzer Ha'ra'ah's job to blur that knowledge, to dull your understanding of who you truly are, and to make you wage battle against superficial things and people. Shirer claims that "fervent prayer keeps your true identity in focus. Reminds us who we really are and taps into the power we really have in" G-d. It is when we lose our focus, lose our intention that our prayers become muddled and focus on the surface, neglected the nitty gritty, deep down and dirty. But, if we really keep praying it will "keep the truth about our real identity in constant, unbroken focus before us."
Shirer talks a lot about truth being the undergarment around which all our other "armor" (or weapons against the Yetzer Ha'ra'ah) is layered. And truth, she says, is G-d's views about us, not our own. Truth is necessary to equip us with the tools we need to truly see ourselves as we are, beautiful and perfect in G-d's eyes.
I'm working on my commitment to prayer, mainly because of this Bible Study. It is refreshing to be able to take such an active role in my praying. I am used to reading the words in the siddur and possibly adding some personalized prayers for other people in my life. What I am learning through reading Fervent is that it is okay, even preferable, to make all prayers personalized. I mean, of course I'm going to read the prayers from the siddur. But I will also add some of my own requests, both for friends in need and for myself.
I'll leave you with this last quote from chapter three: "No matter what is against you, it is no match for the power and authority He's given you access to. There may be armies standing against you, but they're only waiting to become an unwitting witness to the overcoming power of G-d and the overriding ocean of His grace. [And] prayer will open your eyes so you can see it--can see who you really are, that you are alive indeed, and that divine resources and riches and solutions are on your side, assets that make you 'more victorious' through the sheer size of His love. This is the belt of truth."