A Few Helpful Tips for Praying the Psalms
One Lifers, we are encouraging everyone to pray through and immerse yourselves in the Psalms this summer. This can be a fantastic devotional experience. But, it can also be a little challenging. Here’s a few thoughts to help with the journey:
- Be encouraged. Praying the Psalms is normal. Or, it used to be normal. This is one of the most practiced disciplines in church history. For centuries the practice was fairly common. Monastic orders do it to this day. You are adding your voice and hear to millions and millions of others throughout history.
- It will “feel” strange but that’s part of the point. Think about it. The bible says, ALL scripture is breathed out by God. . . “ (2 Timothy 3:16). That makes the Psalms the book of prayer and worship that God himself breathed out. It logically follows that, in addition to being amazingly rich, there will also be concepts, statements and ideas that aren’t what we are used to saying, praying or even thinking about. But, that’s where growth comes in—doing new things, trying new angles.
- Try listening on audio. The “You Version” APP has an audio feature for many of its translations. This is a great way to experience them. You can listen while you’re driving or working out. Doing this way tends to help you cover more ground so you can listen to recurring themes as well.
- Understand worship is both talking to God AND about God. You will notice some of the Psalms are written in the first person. The Psalmist is speaking directly to God. However, this isn’t always the case. This may seem unnatural if you are praying. But, a vital part of worship and deepening in your walk with God is declaring His truth out of your mouth. In this case, it’s as if God if addressing you and others. Embrace all of these forms of address and let it enrich how you view God and His truth.
- Keep it real. Praying the Psalms, because you are literally reciting words, doesn’t need to be a lifeless ritual. To keep from falling into this trap, simply be conversational and relational. As you go to recite words, talk to the Lord about how you are. . . going to recite words. When you find yourself saying words that are strange, difficult, perplexing, pray about it. That’s a critical part of the experience. You are going into new territory. The idea is not to simple recite words, it is to use the words to learn and deepen in worship.