THE EMMAUS PRAYER PLAN
The Emmaus Prayer Plan
consists of three readings from scripture for each day of the week.
The first reading
is based on the weekly readings from the first five books of the Bible in the same sequence that Jews, since Old Testament times, around the world continue to maintain to this day. Each reading is given a name taken from the opening words of the weekly portion. This name is written at the top of each week’s readings. The sequence begins each New Year with Genesis
. The Jewish New Year begins on the first day of the month of Tishri, which is in the month of September. The feasts of New Year (or Trumpets), the Day of Atonement, and the feast of Tabernacles, cover the first three weeks of the year. The Bible commands that the feasts were to be kept in their seasons so the lunar calendar was adjusted as described below. The first reading, called Bereshit
, for the year begins on the first Shabbat after the eighth day of the feast of Tabernacles. This eighth day is also a feast called Rejoicing the Torah
. Dates for the start of this first yearly reading over the next several years are given in the Appendix at the back of the book.
The parashah or portion for a particular week is typically read in its entirety in the synagogue on Shabbat. This portion is divided into seven sections. The Emmaus Prayer Plan
assigns each of the seven sections to a day in the week beginning with Shabbat, which always falls on a Saturday. The sections then follow in turn each day until the following Friday when the last is read.
The second reading
is taken from the Gospels. The Gospel reading is intended to match some aspect of the reading from the Torah
. Not all aspects can be covered by one selection from the Gospel. The description alongside each reading is meant to indicate what the passages have in common. The gospel focuses on the life of Yeshua who is the focal point of history. He is concealed in the Old Testament and revealed in the New Testament. The Testaments become one in Him. He was the one who fulfilled the law on our behalf because we could not do so.
The third reading
is taken from Acts
and the Epistles. These readings pick up on themes in the first reading and show them lived out in the New Testament Church. Jesus had promised to send the Holy Spirit so that His disciples would go out and be His witnesses throughout the world. Acts and the Epistles show the outworking of the Holy Spirit according to the promise of Jesus. Jesus is the link between the Jewish Tanach
and the Church of the New Testament. The Gospels show predominately the work of Jesus. The Acts
and the Epistles show the work of the Holy Spirit. One may like to think of the Old Testament where God the Father is the focus. The Father sent the Son, who in turn promised to send the Holy Spirit. This pattern is reflected in the choice of the three readings for each day.
THE PURPOSE: TO RECOGNIZE JESUS
On the very day He arose from the dead Jesus appeared to two disciples walking the eleven kilometres from Jerusalem to Emmaus. (Luke 24.13 – 31).Jesus taught the two disciples about Himself beginning with Moses and all the Prophets. The Psalms also are included: “All things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the Prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me.” (Luke 24.44)
One of the very first things Jesus did on rising from the dead was to give two disciples a Bible study. The effect was to cause their hearts to burn within them when he opened the scriptures to them.
We learn from this that the scriptures, the Old Testament or Tanach
, as the Jews say, were so important that the risen Christ Himself taught them on the road to Emmaus. The opening of the scriptures was a prelude to the opening of their eyes to recognize Jesus in the breaking of bread. The purpose of studying the scriptures is to recognize Jesus. First came the revelation of Yeshua in the scriptures teaching and then came the revelation of Yeshua in the breaking of the bread. Note how the sharing of the scriptures leads the disciples to issue the invitation to have Jesus commune with them. That is surely the purpose of all Scripture reading, including the readings in the Emmaus Prayer Plan
SCRIPTURE READING PRACTICE
What were the passages of scriptures that He used on the road to Emmaus? We are not told. However, we do know that Jewish people have a practice of reading the scriptures throughout the year. The practice of public reading from the Torah
(called the Pentateuch
by Christians) dates back at least to the time of Ezra.(Nehemiah
8.1). Each week they read a portion of the first five books of the Bible in the synagogue on Shabbat. This portion, or parashah, as they call it, is followed by a reading from one of the prophets. The entire portion is read in the synagogue on Shabbat. This portion is divided into seven readings followed by a reading from one of the prophets. This final reading is called haftarah
, or completion.
Luke describes, Luke
4.16 – 17, how Jesus went into the synagogue as was his custom on Shabbat. On this particular occasion he was handed the scroll of Isaiah
to read. This was the haftarah
A PRAYER PLAN FOR COUPLES
PRAYERFUL SOLIDARITY WITH THE ROOT STOCK
WHICH PARASHAH TO READ AND WHEN
THE BIBLICAL LUNAR CALENDAR
THE BIBLICAL FEASTS
SCHEDULE OF FEASTS
IDENTIFYING LEAP YEARS
THE JEWISH CALENDAR MONTHS
Kevin D. Vincent, All Rights Reserved. Readers are free to print off individual pages for their own use but not to sell them to others.