Praying the Psalms

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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 occasionally begin with a brief comment about the Psalm and always end with a short prayer based on the Psalm, usually taken from Prayers on the Psalms adapted from the 1595 Scottish Psalter.

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Psalm for 18 September, the 24th Saturday in Ordinary Time

Psalm 119:105-112

Nun

Your word is a lamp to my feet

and a light to my path.

I have sworn an oath and confirmed it,

to keep your righteous rules.

I am severely afflicted;

give me life, O Lord, according to your word!

Accept my freewill offerings of praise, O Lord,

and teach me your rules.

I hold my life in my hand continually,

but I do not forget your law.

The wicked have laid a snare for me,

but I do not stray from your precepts.

Your testimonies are my heritage forever,

for they are the joy of my heart.

I incline my heart to perform your statutes

forever, to the end.

 

THE PSALM PRAYER

Most Merciful God, Author of all good things, who has given your holy commandments to us, by which we should direct our life: Imprint them on our hearts by your Holy Spirit, and grant that we may so renounce all our worldly desires and all the vanities of this present age, that our whole pleasure and delight may be in your instruction, so that we, being always governed by your holy Word, may in the end attain to that eternal salvation, which you have promised. Through Jesus Christ, your Son. AMEN.

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