Kavanah: God's Power, Presence and his choosing to work in and through my obedience, daily

At Cadre we've often taught that friendship and FRamily (family as friends, friends as family) are the core relationships the Holy Spirit uses for Disciplemaking like Jesus. Kavanah is the aligning awareness and practice that reminds us of how we daily do life together with God. We engage the "bullseye" of Kavanah in both his presence and power as he works in and through our daily obedience with him. This is the transforming and gifting power the Holy Spirit uses as we engage God with one another as disciplemaking friends.


Below are some quotes for "Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus" that highlight the essential nature of Kavanah.


“Is it possible to cultivate a sense of God’s presence, particularly during prayer? There is a Hebrew word that deals with the question: kavanah, which means “intention” or “direction.” The word conveys the idea of being profoundly aware of the One to whom you are speaking as you direct your heart toward heaven. “A prayer without kavanah is like a body without a soul,” say the rabbis. It’s a lifeless dead corpse. Because so many Jewish prayers are repeated, the rabbis emphasized the need for kavanah, so that each time a person prays, the words are fresh and full of passion, with a sense of reverence for the awesome God who is their focus.”


“Kavanah goes beyond prayer too. The rabbis say that we should have kavanah in four activities:

  1. prayer

  2. studying the Scriptures

  3. performing acts of loving-kindness

  4. doing our life’s work

“Kavanah (ka-vah-NAH or ka-VAHN-ah; lit., “intention”). To focus one’s attention and concentration on being in the presence of God; to direct one’s thoughts toward God.”


“The Jewish customs of the day, including the rich customs of Jewish prayer, were a significant part of Jesus’s everyday experience. In the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus relied on classic Jewish themes to illustrate what the essence of prayer, then and now, should be. Jesus is the ultimate model for us of kavanah, a sense of the presence of God.”


“When you start to make a habit of blessing God, you will discover that daily life can begin to feel like Christmas morning. As your prayer life becomes saturated with kavanah, that deep awareness of God’s presence and his overwhelming love, you may feel as though you are wading knee-deep through shards of wrapping paper and mountains of bows to enjoy a pile of shiny new gifts.”


Ideally, each should be done with a profound awareness of the fact that God is present, desiring to speak and work through us at every moment. Imagine how meaningful each day would be if we undertook all our endeavors this way. Living with kavanah utterly changes our experience of life.”


Excerpts From: Ann Spangler & Lois Tverberg. “Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus.”


Recommended reading from Ann Spangler & Lois Tolberg:

  1. Sitting At the Feet of Rabbi Jesus: How the Jewishness of Jesus can Transform your Faith. [2011]

  2. Walking in the Dust of Rabbi Jesus; How the Jewish Words of Jesus Can Change Your Life [2013]

  3. Reading the Bible with Rabbi Jesus: How a Jewish Perspective Can Transform Your Understanding [2019]




Action Plan: “This week try to find a way to increase your kavanah, your attentiveness to God’s presence, when you are at work. Whether digging a ditch, baking a soufflé, writing a sermon, or chairing a meeting, pray for the grace to realize that no matter where you are, you are in the presence of the Lord. To remind yourself, consider printing the word kavanah on an index card. Place it where it will catch your attention throughout the day.” —Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus