1 Thessalonians 5:17

New Testament

14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, admonish the undisciplined, comfort the discouraged, help the weak, be patient toward all. 15 See that no one pays back evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good for one another and for all. 16 Always rejoice, 17 constantly pray, 18 in everything give thanks. For this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 19 Do not extinguish the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt. 21 But examine all things; hold fast to what is good. 22 Stay away from every form of evil.

Sotah 40a

Babylonian Talmud

§ The Gemara returns to discuss the response of the congregants to certain parts of the prayer service. While the prayer leader is reciting the blessing of: We give thanks, what do the people say? Rav says that they say: We give thanks to You, Lord our God, for the merit of giving thanks to You. And Shmuel says that one should say: God of all living flesh, for the merit of giving thanks to You. Rabbi Simai says that one should say: Our Creator, Who created everything in the beginning, for the merit of giving thanks to You. The Sages of Neharde’a say in the name of Rabbi Simai that one should say: We offer blessings and praises to Your great name, for You have given us life and sustained us, for giving thanks to You. Rav Aḥa bar Ya’akov would finish the blessing as follows: So may You give us life, and show us favor, and collect us, and gather our exiles into Your sacred courtyards, in order to observe Your laws and to fulfill Your will wholeheartedly, for giving thanks to You.

 Notes and References

"... It is, therefore, not pure facetiousness when, in Fiddler on the Roof, the rabbi is asked, 'Is there a blessing for the Tsar?' and again, 'Is there a blessing [i.e., to God] for a sewing machine?' These Jews, in their Russian village, are reflecting the ancient Hebraic belief that everything is theological. This is the way one stays in touch with the Almighty and a divine perspective on life. It means constantly praising God for all things, with sentence prayers, throughout the day. Abraham Heschel poignantly describes this Jewish mind-set as follows: 'Saintliness was not thought to consist in specific acts, such as excessive prayer ... but was an attitude bound up with all actions, concomitant with all doings, accompanying and shaping all life's activities." Indeed, today's Christians will fail to grasp Paul's admonition to 'Pray without ceasing,' that is, 'Pray continually' (1 Thessalonians 5:17), unless they understand that a main feature of Jewish prayer is its pervasiveness ..."

Wilson, Marvin R. Our Father Abraham: Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith (pp. 157-158) William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1989

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