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Pray the Psalms

I’ve been reading a book by Eugene Peterson lately called Working the Angels, and something in it caught my attention and I had to share it with you. 

He was talking about prayer as being a language that we learn as we respond to God, and that the Psalms are the human response to the Word of God.  The psalms are organized into 5 books, and each book ends with the same conclusion, some derivative of this:

Blessed be the LORD God of Israel from everlasting to everlasting. Amen, and Amen”

The books are divided like this, Book 1: Ps 1-41, Book 2: 42-72, Book 3:73-89, Book 4:90-106, and Book 5:107-150.

They are said to relate to the first 5 books of the bible, the Pentateuch, which is widely regarded as God’s full Word to us.  The rest of the word of God is a working out of what was already said in the first 5 books. 

Psalms, seen with this perspective, then becomes for us the complete human answer to the Word of God.  

Prayer is never the first word, it is always the response to God’s word.  

So, if you’re struggling in your prayer life, take heart.  That might actually be a good thing.

Prayer was never meant to be something to begin our day with, or to ‘get things going’ at a meeting, it is meant to be our response to what God is already at work doing in our lives and in the world.  

If you’d like to improve your prayer language, read the psalms.

If you’d like to improve your prayer life, become attentive to God’s Word and respond honestly.

Thought that might be an interesting to think about. 

May we allow God to speak first, and may we respond with language that is honest.  


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