Praying the Psalms
“Trust in God always, my people; pour out your hearts before God our refuge.” - Psalm 62:8
On Sunday we will begin a new liturgical calendar in the church. It is like the Christian New Year, in a sense. We spend the beginning of the liturgical calendar preparing for Jesus’ birth. One way to prepare to celebrate Jesus’ birth is to add a spiritual practice to your life. This year, as we enter winter with the pandemic’s second wave upon us, adding a practice of daily prayer can help us ride the wave.
If you have never practiced daily prayer before it can be hard to know where to begin. Thankfully, the Bible has a prayer book in it: the Psalms. One way to incorporate daily prayer into your life is to begin each day by praying a Psalm and the Lord’s Prayer. I suggest simply starting with Psalm 1 and going from there.
As you pray through the Psalms, you will encounter verses that you feel may not apply to you or that you do not understand. When this happens, you can pray those verses for other people. When I first started praying the Psalms, verses about enemies made no sense to me. As I continue to learn more about current events, verses about enemies invoke images of those who do suffer at the hands of enemies today. For example, I think of black and brown people in North America struggling under systemic racism. I also think about the civilians in Nigeria suffering under the oppression of SARS. Who do these verses inspire you to think of?
The Psalms are prayers for the ages, encompassing a wide range of topics. As we begin a new liturgical calendar year and prepare to celebrate Jesus’ birth, I encourage you to add daily prayer to your life through the Psalms and the Lord’s prayer. May you deepen your relationship with God through this spiritual practice.