One of the trends of the present Hebrew Roots movement is the recovery of the Sabbath day, which is being observed by many Christians, including the festive Friday night “Erev Shabbat” (Sabbath evening, or welcoming of the Sabbath) meal.
It’s difficult for Christians to live in Israel and not become accustomed with the rhythm of keeping the Sabbath as the day of rest. In fact, many Christians in Israel and around the world observe the Sabbath as a day of rest, but they also feel free to worship the Lord in services on Sunday, the day of the resurrection of Jesus.
Both Jesus and St. Paul were Sabbath-keepers, but Paul also noted in Colossians 2:16 that nobody should be judged by what day they decide to keep as a Sabbath.
While many followers of Jesus (Yeshua) are not legalistic about keeping the Sabbath, nevertheless they are enjoying celebrating the Sabbath in unison with our elder brothers and patriarchs in the faith, the Jewish people.
I enjoy very much the Friday evening to Saturday evening day of rest as well as the fellowship meals with both Jewish and Christians friends.
It’s always a joy to sit at the Sabbath table of my great friends Merv and Merla Watson who came to Israel from Canada. The Watson’s festive table is a bridge between both Jewish and Christian worlds.
Merv and Merla are professional musicians who have ministered in over 50 countries. In Israel they conceived and spearheaded the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem (ICEJ), as well as the Christian Celebration during the Feast of Tabernacles, an annual conference lasting a week, which draws 6,000 evangelical Christians from 108 different countries.
The Watsons were among the first to restore Hebraic style music, pageantry and spiritual dance into Christian worship. Their prophetic work explores the Jewish roots of the Christian faith. In Canada, they established a fellowship and several offshoot groups called R.O.O.T.S. – (Recycling Of Old Testament Secrets).
With Merla’s permission, this is her beautiful prayer that she wrote for the Friday evening Shabbat meal; it covers a lot of territory and much present day truth. Copies are distributed at the table for their many visitors from around the world:
EREV SHABBAT PRAYER by Merla Watson
Father in Heaven, we praise You, that we have been grafted into the commonwealth of Israel through the shed blood of Your most precious Son, Yeshua, HaMashiach. We thank You that we are no longer aliens, strangers, and foreigners, but fellow citizens, and an integral part of Your plan for One household of faith, with You as the only Shepherd and Bishop of our souls. We thank You for revealing to us Your truth about the observance of this day, which has been so long negated, ignored, substituted, adjusted, abandoned, or forgotten by our forefathers, and by many of us today called by your Name! As we gather here tonight, we want to say that we treasure Your Sabbath on the seventh day, which You have hallowed and sanctified, as this is when You created the magnificent world we now live in, and it was on this day that Your servant Moses was directed to command the children of Israel to rest on it as an eternal ordinance. You never change – You are the same yesterday, today, and for ever! Amen! ~ We intercede for our families, that all of them will be prepared for the soon return of Your Son. We pray that Your covenant, protection, provision, favour, and success will rest upon all our family members, close friends, and other ministries in this Land and back in our home countries. May we be aware of Your blessing and Presence with us at all times, and may we flourish and be recognized as Your sons and daughters. Amen! ~ May we each examine our lives and behaviour so that in us You will find no fault. We beseech You, Almighty and merciful God, for healing of our spirits, minds, souls, bodies, and relationships – that You would deliver us from the power and harassment sent from the evil one to discourage or even annihilate us. We ask You to heal us of all our diseases and afflictions, and that You will deliver us from all fear, want, and oppression. May we be considered worthy to escape the time of sorrow soon to come on the earth, or be given strength to endure even through intense suffering. May we never deny Your Name! Forgive us for the many sins of commission and omission which we constantly do in spite of our longing to do otherwise. Fit us for Your Kingdom! Amen! ~ We long for Your full restoration of all the things that Your law and prophets spoke about. Father, may we walk in them, and be nourished daily by them. Restore Your ancient paths to us as we humble ourselves to learn from Your Torah the principles of Godly living. Amen! ~ We pray for the peace of Jerusalem, Your Holy City, and for the whole nation of Israel, that You will bring to a downfall all corruption in the government, and raise up men and women who recognize Your supreme authority. We implore You to soon cause the spirit of supplication to emerge from this Land, bringing people to their knees to repent of sins which You hate so much, and showering them with righteousness. We bless you for Your infinite mercy and profound Love which never fails. We pray for the building up of Zion, that Your truth will emanate from Jerusalem, reaching to the four corners of the earth. Amen! ~ May this Sabbath Day be blessed with joy, peace, relaxation, fellowship, and rest in You, knowing that You have all things under Your control. We worship You, exalt You, and bless Your holy Name – both now and forevermore! Amen and Amen!
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