Messianic Times Review

A Prayer To Our Father
Nehemia Gordon & Keith Johnson
© 2009 Hilkiah Press
175 pages

Review by Gabriel Patton

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy Name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. [For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory for ever and ever.] Amen.

There are a thousand variations in hundreds of languages of the Lord’s Prayer. It is perhaps the most commonly spoken prayer in almost every Judeo- Christian sect on earth. It is the only one ever written by Yeshua Himself, a gift to His people, every syllable full of solemn gratitude and hope. If this last statement is true, how can there be so many different interpretations? Which version is the true original, uttered by Yeshua and spread by His disciples? The most popularly recited prayer in Christianity and Catholicism, it is commonly accepted that these verses of Scripture (Matthew 6: 9–13, and Luke 11:2) are translated from the Greek. But God did not choose to reveal His Word to the world in Greek. He intentionally chose the Hebrew language as the conduit for his message. So what does it all mean?

This is the question that A Prayer To Our Father seeks to answer. More than just a simple exercise in translation and etymology, this book is a journey of discovery, and takes the reader from the United States to the Holy Land, from the locker rooms of the NFL to a secret underground vault guarded for a millennia by Jewish rabbis, a place so highly regarded that not even Prime Minister Ariel Sharon was allowed to see what was inside. It is within this sacred chamber that the true wording and indeed the full meaning of the Lord’s Prayer is revealed.

The authors, Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson, met over a discarded Torah Scroll, became fast friends, and spent years studying the Tanakh with a particular focus on the Gospel of Matthew, written in Hebrew. It is during this time together they embark on their spiritual journey. Nehemia is a Jewish Scholar raised in Chicago and living in Israel. Keith Johnson is a former chaplain for the Minnesota Vikings football team, and an African-American minister living in North Carolina. While they have very different philosophies, backgrounds and cultures, they find the common interest of knowing the full meaning of Yeshua’s message far outweighs any differences they have.

Most impressive is their intense focus on the exploration of the Hebrew origins of the Lord’s Prayer. Once they have resolved themselves to uncover its fullness, they do not stray for a moment. They allow the words from the text to be the mutual witness to each other, never once attempting to proselytize toward any particular denomination. A Prayer To Our Father takes what could have been a rather dry, academic subject and brings it to life with firsthand accounts of answers to prayer and confirmations of faith. This book demonstrates the Word of God can mean different things to many people, but its Divine origin makes its truths inexorable. MT

Printed with permission from The Messianic Times, September-October 2009, page 16.

Television Special on A Prayer to Our Father!

We just finished a great television interview in Odessa, Texas on Prime Time Christian Broadcasting’s program “Light of the Southwest”. The 2-hour television special will air this Wednesday night Aug 26 at 8-10pm (central time) and will be re-broadcast three times on Thursday Aug 27 at 1-3am, 7-9am, and 2-4pm. The program can also be watched at the above times on the station’s website (the link is on the left-hand side under “Watch GLC Live!”). We are excited that this program will be broadcast throughout West Texas and New Mexico as well as via satellite throughout North American, India, the Middle East, East Asia, Eastern Europe, Russia, North Africa, and the Philippines.

Bookstore Event in Charlotte

Things are really starting to happen! Our joint Colorado Springs presentation was a resounding success. After that event, Nehemia went on a 7-state speaking tour and we are now back together in Charlotte. This week we are doing three radio interviews and tonight we have a book event at Joseph-Beth Booksellers (South Park Mall, Charlotte), which is carrying our book. Next week we fly to Texas to film a 2-hour television special on Prime Time Christian Broadcasting.

Speaking in Charlotte

This coming Sunday, July 26 at 4-6pm, my co-author Keith Johnson and I will be speaking on our book “A Prayer to Our Father” at the Doubletree Inn & Suites in Charlotte, North Carolina (6300 Morrison Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28211). The event will be sponsored by “United Israel” of Charlotte and hosted by Dr. James D. Tabor, Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

We will also be doing a live interview on “Charlotte Talks” with WFAE host Mike Collins on Thursday, July 23rd, 9am (90.7FM).

In the coming weeks I will also be speaking in Boulder and Colorado Springs, Colorado, in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in Borger, Texas, and in Pascagoula, Mississippi. Details for these events are posted on the appearances page.

I currently have a few open dates in my itinerary in August so if you would like me to come and speak at your congregation, please contact me.





Keith Johnson’s Sermon

I am currently traveling in the US speaking on my new book “A Prayer to Our Father”. This last Sunday my co-author Keith Johnson and I presented the book at a “Prayer and Reconciliation” meeting hosted by Sanctuary Covenant Church of Minneapolis, MN. The event was attended by 250 people from a wide variety of ethnicities and religious persuasions and denominations. At the meeting, the “Lord’s Prayer” was recited in 5 languages: English, Spanish, Swahili, French, and Hebrew.

Earlier that day Keith gave a sermon at the church based on information in our book. This was actually the first time I had ever been to a church service. I am not exaggerating when I say that Keith’s sermon was the most powerful and moving speech I have ever heard in my life. At several points in the sermon I was brought to tears! I want to strongly encourage both Jews and Christians to listen to this sermon, which is posted on the website of Sanctuary Covenant Church. The sermon is called "Get a Bigger Box" from July 12, 2009.

An mp3 of the sermon is also available.

Nehemia Gordon
Reporting from Charlotte, North Carolina


Jerusalem Rabbi Endorses New Book on the Lord’s Prayer

Rabbi Levi Weiman-Kelman, a Jerusalem-based rabbi, has written a resounding endorsement of the new book “A Prayer to Our Father: Hebrew Origins of the Lord’s Prayer” by Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson. Rabbi Weiman-Kelman is the congregation rabbi of Kol HaNeshama, a synagogue in southern Jerusalem affiliated with the Reform movement. He also teaches prayer and liturgy at the Hebrew Union College, the flagship seminary of the Reform movement, located in downtown Jerusalem. Reform Judaism is the largest Jewish denomination in the world. Here is what Rabbi Levi Weiman-Kelman has written about the book “A Prayer to Our Father”:

“I just finished the book and really enjoyed it. I teach liturgy at the Hebrew Union College so I know how important and difficult it is to teach and write about the topic. A Prayer to Our Father is a multi-layered love story: the love of prayer, the love of learning, the love of the land of Israel, the love of the Hebrew language, and the love of Judaism and Christianity. It is part detective story, part guide-book, part text-study and all love. It is also a fabulous model of chevruta (the interactive Jewish learning model) – two people learning together, challenging each other and inspiring each other. Both Jews and Christians could learn a great deal from this book – about their own and each others traditions. I highly recommend it!”

Rabbi Levi Weiman-Kelman, Congregation Kol HaNeshama, Jerusalem

These and other endorsements are posted on the testimonials page.

The book can be purchased from the order page.

Hebrew Roots Scholars on A Prayer to Our Father

Two experts on the Hebrew roots of the New Testament have given resounding endorsements of the new book A Prayer to Our Father by Nehemia Gordon and Keith Johnson. Jerusalem-based Avi Ben Mordechai is the author of numerous books on the “Hebrew roots” including the famous Messiah series and a Hebraic commentary on Galatians. Brad Scott of Wild Branch Ministry teaches all over the world on the Hebrew meaning behind key New Testament words and concepts. Here is what these Hebrew roots experts have written about the book “A Prayer to Our Father”:

“Coming from dramatically different backgrounds, these two men unite with Biblical truth in mind to reveal the brilliant simplicity of the Hebrew language and culture that has always patiently stood in the shadows of our English versions. Another treasure in the text I highly recommend.”

Brad Scott, Wild Branch Ministry

“A Prayer to Our Father is clearly a book of spiritual insights and interpretive applications to everyday life!”

Avi Ben Mordechai, Millennium 7000 Communications

These and other endorsements are posted on the testimonials page.

The book can be purchased from the orders page.