The Siddur (which in Hebrew means “order” and refers to the Jewish prayerbook) has been used for centuries by Jewish people to help worshipers offer prayers to God in a way that is consistent with the teachings of the Torah and other sacred Jewish literature.
רבון כל העולמים
.לא על צדקותינו אנחנו מפילים תחנותינו לפניך כי על רחמיך הרבים
“Master of the world,
It is not on the basis of our righteousness that we lay our requests before Your presence, but because of Your great mercies.”
This prayer (among many others) shows that the Judaism which emerged after the destruction of Temple in 70 CE continued to uphold this basic Jewish teaching – that keeping the commandments of God, although very important, is not the basis for the covenantal relationship between God and His people.
The Apostle Paul, expecting a positive response, reminded Peter that it was common knowledge among the Jews that Torah-keeping was not the basis for right standing before God. In so doing, he challenged Peter to accept Gentile God-fearers who believed in the Jewish Messiah as citizens in the Kingdom of God alongside Jews, without going through a conversion. We read in Galatians 2:15-16:
“We are Jews by birth and not sinners from among the Gentiles. We know that a man is not justified by the works of the Torah but through faith in the Messiah Jesus.”
The modern Jewish Siddur, therefore, holds this in common with the Jewish Apostle Paul — that the basis for a right relationship with God is not Torah (no matter how wonderful and good it is!), but the grace and mercy of Israel’s God.
A proper understanding of grace is essential to understanding how God relates to each of us.