Jewish prayer is the heartbeat of Judaism. In the very center of its elaborate liturgical experience lies one prayer that stands out among others – the Amida, literally, “the standing”. The main idea behind its name (“standing”) is the worshiper’s entrance into the presence of the “seated” Heavenly King. God has granted the ultimate audience to the humble worshipper. There is no one greater to meet.

Therefore, while other prayers are extremely important, it is Amida that deserves our closest attention. There is much that can be said about its current form and the history of its development. Together, we will consider those things slowly, step-by-step as we move through it, experiencing its beauty and admiring its depth of devotion.

Final preparations

Even though much preparation for this divine audience occurred in previous prayers, there is one more additional request that is uttered before God, right before the rest of the Amida can be prayed.

  אֲדנָי שפָתַי תִּפְתָּח וּפִי יַגִּיד תְּהִלָּתֶךָ

(Pronounced: Adonai sfatai tiftach upi yagid thilatecha)

“Lord, open my lips and my mouth will declare Your praise.”

The worshiper states that his mouth will announce God’s praise, only if God Himself will grant His permission by opening the mouth of His otherwise silent and submissive servant. Many prayers and praises were uttered prior to this, but none in the actual presence of the King of Kings in His own throne room. The time has come to meet Him and final approval from God to speak in His own presence is requested.

It is presumed that God, in fact, grants this humble request and the Jewish worshiper begins his serenade of praise, petition, and thanks to his Heavenly King and Father.

Blessing #1 (FATHERS)

בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יהוה אֱלהֵינוּ וֵאלהֵי אֲבותֵינוּ. אֱלהֵי אַבְרָהָם. אֱלהֵי יִצְחָק. וֵאלהֵי יַעֲקב

(Pronounced: Baruch ata Adonai elocheinu valohei avoteinu. Elochei Avraham, Elohei Itzhak vElochai Yakov).

“Blessed are You, Lord our God and God of our fathers, God of Abraham, God of Isaac and God of Jacob.”

The standard blessing of “Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe…”, found in most Jewish prayers, is dramatically and purposely exchanged in Amida for “Blessed are You, Lord our God and God of our fathers”. The worshiper establishes his familial right and, therefore, justified privilege to address God in this special and intimate way. Although the God the Jewish worshiper stands before is, in fact, the God of all Nations of the earth, it is this personal family connection with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob that establishes the right and the privilege of Amida. We will soon discover why.

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79 COMMENTS

  1. Lovely. I would say God of Seth, Enoch, Noah, Shem, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, David,The Prophets, and Yeshua. Shalom

  2. the term Jew… comes from word Yehudi… can it be said that it refers to the tribe of Judah? so I’m trying to understand something about finding my roots. most people I try to ask the question, “are all the tribes Jewish”, and they say yes. and if Jew comes from just one tribe, how can the others be Jewish? Ive researched the tribes, and many sources say that the 10 northern tribes didn’t obey God and that’s why they went into captivity first, but eventually the 2 southern tribes did later. Then it gets added that Benjamin is also Jewish and was in the 2 southern tribes along with Judah. So the reason I’m asking all this is that I was informed through a prophet that I had direct ties with Israel, and when looking at the torah code that was done for me, it says I am interconnected to 3 tribes. Judah, Ephraim, and Manasseh. I’m looking at the possibility in moving to Israel, but you have to prove you are “Jewish” and my birth mother was adopted, and all the files were sealed. She is alive but to this day does not know who her birth parents were. So outside of my dad’s side being of German descent, I have no clue who I am. and in articles mentioning how some are making aliyah back to the homeland, some actually take a dna test. but this test really only covers about 40 percent of the Ashkenazi realm. I have done 2 separate tests, and according to their database knowledge, it says I have no connection to the Jewish outline. am I in error on the tribal realm?

  3. My grandfather would tell me that our original family name was Israel (today it’s Rael) and that we were conversos (converted Spanish Jews). I grew up in the San Luis Valley of south Central Colorado, U.S.A. Part of my family has been in this region since the late 1600’s and the other half has been here even longer. There have been articles, studies and some books about what is known as “the hidden Jew” which refers to the conversos and the SLV is home to many families. I had a DNA test done and it basically told me the same thing my grandfather spoke about – I am 60% Iberian Jew, 9% Ashkenazi, 31% Native American (my great-grandmother was Ute). One day if the Lord allows me, I would love to visit Israel. It has been a life long dream of mine.

  4. I must acknowledge that in pray, I have taken for granted that our God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is always there ready to hear my request in Yeshua’s name. I see the respect and honor due to the Almighty God in requesting an audience with Him, asking for His presence. This is a blessing for me. Please pray for me, believed to be Sephardic who’s Jewishness was lost with tons of more due to the persecution of our Jewish linage from Spain, etc.. Robert Robles Flores

  5. Shalom Dr. Eli This pray is what we use when we are taking the Communion at Church. We say to our selves because the Church is a Christian Church and don’t know that blessing. But people behind see us doing it. But we have not had anyone ask us about yet. My husband believes that when he says it that he is blessing the Church with it when we take communion.

    • It is an overstatement, but what is true is that it certainly has roots in Jewish Liturgical Tradition of which Amida is both a part and a later development.

  6. Sometimes I wonder how we miss this very significant text on who is a Jew.. One thing that happens when you are adopted is you are given the persons last name and as a child you begin to conform to your parent’s character & likeness. It is rooted in the blessings of God to make us all Jewish, regardless of the color of our skin…or the language we speak… I think that is one reason for the gift of speaking in tongues gift.

    With that said, Romans 2:29 reads- He is a Jew, which is one inwardly and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit and not of the letter.

    Moses gave us the law but grace & truth came through Jesus Christ.

  7. I did some cursory research and noticed that the Amidah originates both before and after 70 CE, during the mishnaic period. Is this partially correct? Unless it’s an older prayer, how can it originate before and after 70 CE? Is the prayer part of an older one that later changed after the destruction of the second Temple?

  8. I attended a Messianic service which included a lengthy Hebrew liturgy; English shown also. The majority attending came out of Christianity. Only a few were fluent in Hebrew. Later it accured to me that Formerly Catholic Church services were done in Latin even though the majority did not understand it. If done in Italy; fine but why make it hard for English speaking Catholics? To me the same is true of English speaking believers today who are interested in their Hebrew roots, why make it difficult? I did not fit in as they did small bowing, touching Torah scroll. Etc.

    • A Jewish service is a lot different than the average church service. It takes time to learn why everything is done just so.

  9. Dear Dr. Eli,
    Are we praying to the Eternal God or to the God of Abraham, Yithak and Yakov? we read in the holy Torah that Avemalik prayed to the Eternal without adding his name ” the God of Avimalik”. we read in the holy Torah that Hagar, after being dismissed from the household of Abraham, cried out to the Eternal, and the Eternal responded to her. we read in the holy Torah that the Eternal saved the people of Ninewah when they cried out to him for forgiveness and the Eternal forgave them. are we praying to the Eternal?

    • I’m not sure I understand your question. He came to Avimelech in a dream as Elohim, He was known by Hagar because of her master Avraham, Nineveh knew because of the Jewish prophet. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is the Eternal God.

  10. The word “YaHudi (YaHudim, plural) literally means a person who give praise/ thanks to YaH (YHWH). So, in principle anyone (Jew or gentile) who gives worship/thanks/praise to YHWH, is a YaHudi.

  11. Dear Celia Camara, Jesus asked his disciples, who do people say that I am? He asked Peter, who do you say that I am? Peter said, thou art the Christ, the son of the living God. Jesus said, Blessed are you Simon Bar Jonah, Flesh and blood did not revealed this to you but my Father in Heaven. And, upon this rock, I will build my church and the gates of Hell will not stand against it. What is the rock? It is not Peter, rather the revealed truth that Jesus is the son of the living God!

  12. Amida – first time I come across this word. Can someone enter this into Wikipedia? Is it spelt right? Not Amidah? Hew is it written in Hebrew?

  13. I thank you for this teaching.
    The most beautiful part for me is the “coming”to the Throne Room and the knowing…that I enter into the presence of The Heavenly King…Because of what Jesus did for me on the cross…

  14. Would you discuss the “additional section [that] was added” after 70 AD? Last year, at Sukkot, I purposely avoided the Birchat Kohanim at the Kotel because, try as I might to understand, I remain confused about the Birchat ha’Minim. Although done silently, it makes me very uncomfortable.

  15. Thank you Dr for the enlightenment. But if we are the New Testament believers in Yeshua, is it not simpler to call God “Father” as Yeshua Himself said it in Jn.20:17….”touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father; but go to my brethren and say unto

  16. them I ascend unto my Father,and your Father; and to my God and your God”? Calling God Father I think explains better the sonship relationship. What do you thnk

    • It is the first part of the Amidah prayer which dates to the time of Ezra. It comprises almost exclusively scriptural passages, and Jews have been praying it over 2200 years.

  17. My gosh is this interesting and informative. Wish I had enough smarts to really understand all of it. Thank you so much Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg

    • Thank you, Grace, for reading these free insights. I hope they continue to bless and challenge you.

  18. Dr. Eli Lizorkin-Eyzenberg, I’m hoping you can help me, I know this is off the subject that you’re on now. I just hope that you could tell me who owned a slave, and paid the slave to learn the Torah, and had the slave teach him! I can’ Remember,

    • Not sure, Joseph. The Talmud (b.Ketubboth 28a) actually says that a slave is not permitted to learn Torah (unless he is doing it of his own desire).

      • so too is how salvation is obtained , only if one believes in his heart and then confesses that believe. not by belonging to some region or church

  19. Biblical (New Testament) Christianity does not have a pope, past, present, or future. Jerusalem (the entire city), AND NOT ROME is the City of our Great God and Savior Jesus Christ.

  20. I would prefer Jews praying in Christian manner, not vice versa.
    Jesus himself gave a prayer – just as good example.
    By the way: Jesus avoided the name of the jewish god, Yahweh, he spokeonly from the “father”…

  21. Lately, God has laid it on my heart the importance of recognizing, as with the Amidah, that when we WORSHIP we are to behave reverentially, knowing, as you said, we are in the presence of the seated Heavenly King. Western Christianity has lost its sense of awe. Thank you.

  22. As a gentile connected to the God of Abraham, Isacc and Jacob through Jesus, I find the Amida a blessing and whoa, what a way to go before God..Thank you Dr Eli.

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