To Pray is Human
One of the many revolutionary aspects of the message of Jesus was the immediacy of friendship with God. Until Jesus’ arrival, the thought of being in a one-to-one relationship with the God of their Ancestors, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, would never have occurred to the Jews of the day. Judaism’s fiery, passionate connection to Yahweh had cooled to formalized, hierarchical, elitist administration, with the ‘professionals’ - the Scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, and Chief Priests, carrying out the inner, sacred workings. This mission drift relegated the non-priesthood Israelite to the lesser status of obedient synagogue attendee. Prayer, done ‘properly,’ was priestly work. Jesus, however, was presenting radical teachings, inviting everyone to come near, to be real, to receive affirmation of their worth, to offer themselves in truthful transparency.