The Shema is the centerpiece of the Hebrew prayer life. Shema means “Hear,” and it is the first word of Deuteronomy 6:4, “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one,” a prayer many Jews utter twice daily, their first words in the morning and final words before bed. A daily reminder that there is one, and only one, God, and he is our God and we are his people.
The Shema is the predominate sense of the Psalms. “The Lord is my light and my salvation; The Lord is the stronghold of my life” (Psalm 27:1). The Lord our God, the Lord is one. But more than that, the Lord is not only one, he is number 1. When that’s true, our Sunday morning language changes from “Do we have to go to church today?” to “Do we get to go to church today?”
One thing have I asked of the Lord,
that will I seek after:
that I may dwell in the house of the Lord
all the days of my life,
to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord
and to inquire in his temple. ~Psalm 27:4
How many walk into church as if God should be glad they are there? David sought God’s permission to enter!
Our social apps invite us to check in at the places we visit. One family checked in to church on a Sunday morning and commented, “God 1st.” Later that afternoon, the family checked in again, this time at Oracle Park, “Baseball 2nd ~ Go GIANTS!!!” Wrong team (Go DODGERS!), but they got it right. God is One. Everything else get in line.
God, my Savior, I offer myself, body, soul, and spirit, as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to You. I love You, heart, soul, mind, and strength. Transform me, God, to reflect Your glory, to resemble Your Son.
You would rather I obey than play religion. My obedience is not a demonstration of my righteousness, but a sign of my love. I want to know Your Word, follow Your ways, and live in Your love. God, my strength comes from You; my life centers around You. Nothing more, nothing less.