Praying the Psalms

Praying the Psalms

Lord, teach us to pray...

Prayer, the freedom to come into God the Father's presence either corporately in public worship and in our families, or privately is one of the great blessings of our union with Christ. Whether we pray in a group or pray all alone, Christ our Mediator before the Father is always praying with us and for us, even as the Spirit is helping us in our prayers. In his book, Psalms: The Prayer Book of the Bible, Dietrich Bonhoeffer explains:

[Christ] wants to pray with us and to have us pray with him, so that we may be confident and glad that God hears us. When our will wholeheartedly enters into the prayer of Christ, then we pray correctly. Only in Jesus Christ are we able to pray, and with him we also know that we shall be heard. And so we must learn to pray.

Prayer is hard work, and as Bonhoeffer says, we must learn to pray. That's why it's called a spiritual discipline. But the God of grace hasn't left us alone to figure it out by ourselves. He has given us the Spirit, and he has given us a prayer book, the Psalms. Bonhoeffer continues:

The child learns to speak because his father speaks to him. He learns the speech of his father. So we learn to speak to God because God has spoken to us and speaks to us. By means of the speech of the Father in heaven his children learn to speak with him. Repeating God’s own words after him, we begin to pray to him. We ought to speak to God and he wants to hear us. not in the false and confused speech of our heart, but in the clear and pure speech which God has spoken to us in Jesus Christ.

This page is about learning to pray using God's own words, the Psalms. Each day a new Psalm will be posted just below. The daily post will begin with a brief comment about the Psalm and end with a short prayer based on the Psalm, usually taken from Prayers on the Psalms, adapted from the 1595 Scottish Psalter.

Psalm for 25 July, the 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Psalm 46

To the choirmaster. Of the Sons of Korah. According to Alamoth. A Song.

God is our refuge and strength,

a very present help in trouble.

Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way,

though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,

though its waters roar and foam,

though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah

There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,

the holy habitation of the Most High.

God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved;

God will help her when morning dawns.

The nations rage, the kingdoms totter;

he utters his voice, the earth melts.

The Lord of hosts is with us;

the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

Come, behold the works of the Lord,

how he has brought desolations on the earth.

He makes wars cease to the end of the earth;

he breaks the bow and shatters the spear;

he burns the chariots with fire.

“Be still, and know that I am God.

I will be exalted among the nations,

I will be exalted in the earth!”

The Lord of hosts is with us;

the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah


O Lord, the only refuge and strength of all those who put their trust in you: We beseech you of your goodness to fortify us, and to destroy the devices of the wicked in such a way that all your people may live in quietness of spirit, so that we may serve and honor you all the days of our life. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN.

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