רַבִּי שִׁמְעוֹן אוֹמֵר, הֱוֵי זָהִיר בִּקְרִיאַת שְׁמַע וּבַתְּפִלָּה. וּכְשֶׁאַתָּה מִתְפַּלֵּל, אַל תַּעַשׂ תְּפִלָּתְךָ קֶבַע, אֶלָּא רַחֲמִים וְתַחֲנוּנִים לִפְנֵי הַמָּקוֹם בָּרוּךְ הוּא, שֶׁנֶּאֱמַר (יואל ב) כִּי חַנּוּן וְרַחוּם הוּא אֶרֶךְ אַפַּיִם וְרַב חֶסֶד וְנִחָם עַל הָרָעָה. וְאַל תְּהִי רָשָׁע בִּפְנֵי עַצְמְךָ
“Rabbi Shimon said: Be careful with the reading of Shema and the prayer, and when you pray, do not make your prayer something automatic, but a plea for compassion before G-d, for it is said: ‘for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in kindness, and renouncing punishment’ (Joel 2:13); And be not wicked in your own estimation.”
The question of how a Noahide should pray is frequently asked.
A Noahide is obligated to believe in G-d and acknowledge Him as the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, and consequently of every human being. When a person believes in this and knows that G-d is in control of everything and that all that happens is under His control, he wants to connect with G-d and praise Him, ask for help, and thank Him because he trusts Him. This is accomplished through prayer.
Opinions differ on whether Noahides are obliged to pray or not. This is not strictly required for non-Jews because they were not commanded explicitly in the Seven Noahide Commandments to observe this. Rabbi Nissim Gaon implies such an obligation, writing:
“Not all of the Seven Laws and their derivations require [Divine] revelation. For example: the obligation to recognize G-d, to obey Him, and the obligation to serve him – all of which are rational and can be logically derived.”
The Hebrew term used by Rabbi Nissim for serving G-d, le-avdo, usually refers specifically to prayer.
Rabbi Moshe Weiner writes in The Divine Code:
“The main part of this service of the heart and mind is prayer. Therefore one should always pray before G-d, to make requests to Him for all of his needs, and he should thank and praise Him always according to his ability. Another goal of this prayer and contemplation is to bring the person to know that there is nothing worthy of complete trust except the One G-d, Who is King of the universe.”
From the above points, we have now seen some key points how we should pray.
Do it with attention.
- The recommended order of prayer: Praise G-d, make your requests, thank G-d.
It is good for Noahides to start their day with the Modeh Ani prayer. This prayer acknowledges G-d as the eternal King, Who returns our souls every morning after sleeping. We should be grateful to receive a new day of life and to be rested to face the day with renewed energy.
The Modeh Ani prayer:
מוֹדֶה אֲנִי לְפָנֶיךָ מֶלֶךְ חַי וְקַיָּם שֶׁהֶחֱזַרְתָּ בֵּי נִשְׁמָתִי בְּחֶמְלָה. רַבָּה אֱמוּנָתֶךָ
Transliteration: Modeh ani l’fonecha Melech chai v’kayom, shehechezarta bi nishmasi bechemlah. Rabah emunashecho.
Translation: I offer thanks to You, living and eternal King, for You have mercifully restored my soul within me. Your faithfulness is great.
• When you want to say the Modeh Ani prayer in Hebrew, make a slight pause between the words “bechemlah” and “Rabah“, because there should be two separate sentences.
Questions regularly asked are:
- Should Noahide pray in Hebrew?
- Can I pray while lying in my bed?
- What should I wear?
- Where should I pray?
- A Noahide may pray to G-d in his own language, in his own words, at his own time. Noahides have no standard liturgy. However, there are prayer books that can be used by a Noahide if one finds it convenient. In addition, the Psalms can be said, which are all prayers to G-d that were composed with holy inspiration.
- The Modeh Ani prayer can be said in bed, provided one’s private parts are covered.
- For all other prayers, one should be decently dressed. Beyond that, modestly dressed for a Noahide woman means that the clothing covers the entire torso up to the collarbone, and the sleeves come up to over the elbows and the legs are covered at least past the knees.
During prayer, it is decent to wear something on your feet, as you would if you were standing before a king.
Head covering for a married Noahide woman is not obligatory, but it is proper to cover her hair when outside her house or in the presence of men other than her husband. Noahide men are not required to wear a head covering, but it is especially recommended when one is in a synagogue or other Jewish holy place.
- One should pray in a decent room, where there is no unpleasant smell, no idols or people who are not decently dressed.
It is advisable to have a fixed place and time for prayer. It is not obligatory to pray in the direction of Jerusalem. But for many Noahides it is a logical direction to pray towards, as Daniel did when he prayed in Babylon in the direction of Jerusalem, as we read in Daniel 6:11:
“When Daniel learned that it had been put in writing, he went to his house, in whose upper chamber he had had windows made facing Jerusalem, and three times a day he knelt down, prayed, and made confession to his G-d, as he had always done.”
Praying towards Jerusalem is also linked to Isaiah 56:7:
כִּ֣י בֵיתִ֔י בֵּית־תְּפִלָּ֥ה יִקָּרֵ֖א לְכׇל־הָעַמִּֽים׃
For My House shall be called
A house of prayer for all peoples.
It should be noted that a person in agony or fear may always pray to G-d under any circumstances.
By Angelique Sijbolts
 The Divine Code by Rabbi Moshe Weiner p. 80
 See Rabbeinu Nissim Gaon’s Hakdama to Tractate Berachos
 The Divine Code by Rabbi Moshe Weiner p. 80
 Based on Rambam, Laws of Prayer 1:1. See Kol Bo’ai HaOlam, p. 14
 Chabad Article: Modeh Ani: What and Why
 Kitzur Shulchan Aruch 1:2. Teachers who teach and say the Modeh Ani to their students in a song format should make sure that the tune they use does not put the words Bechemlah and Rabba together and then leave the word Emunasecha as an orphaned word.
 Example of a prayerbook: Prayers, Blessings, and Faith for Noahides – 7th English Edition
 The Divine Code by Rabbi Moshe Weiner p. 87
 What is meant by modesty differs from culture to culture. For example, if you pray in a country where people are more covered up than what is described here, adjust accordingly. See also the blog: Modesty
With thanks to Dr. Michael Schulman for his feedback.
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