(thread begun by RandyP
An exercise using the BookOfPsalms to help build a healthy vibrant life of prayer.
The idea of PrayingThePsalms is not a new one. I first came across the idea reading a biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who exhorted his students to do the same. I later found out that the orthodox Anglican/Episcopal BookOfCommonPrayer for centuries also has a similar (but more formal) practice. I think of it now as a prayer boot camp; it has already broadened my spiritual awareness tremendously.
In my adaptation I use a marked up HTML version of the BookOfPsalms divided into specific focuses, one psalm a day, the language of each as the spring board for comprehensive prayer and meditation. I have decided to color code each chapter psalm dividing out the text into focus specific block. At present I see separate breakdowns of:
- what God has done
- what is hoped for/believed
- what is the disciple is doing
- what the enemy is doing/done
Certainly we don't want to pray robotically or by route; these are not pre-constructed prayers, they are platforms for launchinging our own. We do however want to pray in a form and a language much closer to HIS own, we want to challenge ourselves to search/seek/pray over things beyond our normal daily scope.
In Psalms we see things in terms of directions/pathways/steps/leadings/entrapments, individuals/groups/communities/congregations/nations/adversaries/fellows, judgment/justice/grace/peace/righteousness/wickedness, we sense the direction our God is moving with all of this. We also realize that with the times of joy and jubilation there are times of discomfort, time frames and answers long awaited, one lone servant seemingly against all others; we learn to expect the same.
It begins if approached correctly much as Jesus extolled, that seeks first the kingdom of God and HIS righteousness; that His will be done, then all needs that follow will follow in divine order. My hope is that I as well as any others will learn to treasure this greater daily devotion to prayer and be changed by the meditation of these vantage points throughout the day, every day.
(Also see my notes below: →)
|PrayingThePsalmsB||Compiled "what God has done" markup for PrayingThePsalms series.|
|PrayingThePsalmsG||Compiled "what is hoped/believed for" markup for PrayingThePsalms series.|
|PrayingThePsalmsY||Compiled "what the disciple is doing" markup for PrayingThePsalms series.|
|PrayingThePsalmsR||Compiled "what the enemy is doing" markup for PrayingThePsalms series.|
There are some challenges to consider in PrayingThePsalms from the start:
- We habitually tend to make prayers about ourselves and only about things that we are comfortable in praying. Example: We read of good and godly men relentlessly pursued by a deadly/determined enemy. Not having ourselves enemies (or so we think) we pray not for the many godly souls across this globe who most definitely do. In fact, we seem to be of the mind that if we are truly aligned with God that enemies will simply vanish and that bad things miraculously will not happen. PrayingThePsalms will immediately challenge one's sense of this "small corner" comfortability!
- It is often difficult to understand who is the primary character in a story line. While sometimes it is obviously the author, at other times it is better thought of as the nation or congregation or even our Lord. Tendancy also has it that we put ourselves in the lead role. It is most beneficial to prayer in many cases to contemplate and pray from several of these various vantage points. Think in term of the lead role being any/all servants actively advancing the message of God's righteousness to the lost.
- The sense is immediately conveyed (perhaps best put in PrayingThePsalms:73 ) that the righteous are often discouraged even to the point of temptation by the fact that God does not immediately reprove the wicked like HE does with the upright, that the correction of the upright (sometimes seemingly harsh) is not only for their own betterment but is often used by God as a messenger of the bad things to come to the wicked if not to turn from their ways. There is method behind what seems to be madness and the method always is driven by eternal righteousness. It is a difficult thing to pray when either you or a friend or another far away are the object of this correction.
- In the same vain, it is tendency to label all bad things as being from the Devil or the Enemy. By such a rash global view however it may be rather that God's correction is upon us or them else their correction is upon us, we effectually are cursing or binding our own benefit (if discerning enough to realize it). Take note as you meditate as to how many times the situation that the servant is describing is a result of the master's hand. Pray for such discernment in all cases.