Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Praying The Psalms

Have you prayed the Psalms today?
(from "Why we should pray the psalms", see yesterday's blog)

 Luther taught that praying the Psalms brings us: “into joyful harmony” with God’s Word and God’s Will. “Whoever begins to pray the Psalms earnestly and regularly will soon take leave of those other light and personal little devotional prayers and say, ‘Ah, there is not the juice, the strength, the passion, the fire which you find in the Psalms. Anything else tastes too cold and too hard.’”

How do you “pray” the Psalms?  

For example, begin with Psalm 8.  This Psalm is addressed to the Lord.  All you have to do is read it.

Read it out loud.  King David wrote this Psalm.  It is as though we had the privilege to sit on his shoulder and hear him commune with the Lord.

You can take this Psalm as a prayer….and begin, out loud, to recite the word back to God.                           Try it.

Psalm 8

O Lord, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth,
Who have set Your glory above the heavens!
Out of the mouth of babes and nursing infants
You have ordained strength,
Because of Your enemies,
That You may silence the enemy and the avenger.
When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,
The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,
What is man that You are mindful of him,
And the son of man that You visit him?
For You have made him a little lower than the angels,[b]
And You have crowned him with glory and honor.
You have made him to have dominion over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things under his feet,
All sheep and oxen—
Even the beasts of the field,
The birds of the air,
And the fish of the sea
That pass through the paths of the seas.
O Lord, our Lord,
How excellent is Your name in all the earth! (New King James Version)

Try praying Psalm 8 from The Message:
God, brilliant Lord, yours is a household name.

 2 Nursing infants gurgle choruses about you;
      toddlers shout the songs
   That drown out enemy talk,
      and silence atheist babble.

 3-4 I look up at your macro-skies, dark and enormous,
      your handmade sky-jewelry,
   Moon and stars mounted in their settings.
      Then I look at my micro-self and wonder,
   Why do you bother with us?
      Why take a second look our way?

 5-8 Yet we've so narrowly missed being gods,
      bright with Eden's dawn light.
   You put us in charge of your handcrafted world,
      repeated to us your Genesis-charge,
   Made us lords of sheep and cattle,
      even animals out in the wild,
   Birds flying and fish swimming,
      whales singing in the ocean deeps.

 9 God, brilliant Lord,
      your name echoes around the world.

Psalm 8, A visual meditation

So many of the Psalms are written as natural prayers.  All you have to do is change a few words and it will go right into a prayer.

Psalm 34 (New International Version)
1 I will extol the LORD at all times;
   his praise will always be on my lips.
2 My soul will boast in the LORD;
   let the afflicted hear and rejoice.

Make it personal:
1 I will extol You LORD at all times;
  Your praise will always be on my lips.
2 My soul will boast in You, LORD;
   let the afflicted hear and rejoice. 

"The Majesty and Glory of Your Name"
a classic choral piece

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