Monday, November 4, 2013

Psalms To See Me Through: Introduction To The Psalms—An Extravagant Claim

The Psalms are poems, and poems intended to be sung. C.S. Lewis

The extravagant claim is that the Psalms are necessary. Is Necessary too strong a word? Eugene Peterson

If you are looking for a prayer book, the book of Psalms is resting in the middle of the Old Testament; whispering to those that will hear; pray through me…the Psalms are God’s gift to train us in prayer. The prose and poetry of this treasure is unmatchable. 

The Psalms are at the helm of the Writings; divinely inspired, “They shape our response to God’s word through the practice of prayer in the life of faith.”[1]

The Psalms have been the prayer liturgy for centuries, Jews and Christians alike find hope and healing in the Psalms. While it remains vital to Jewish Liturgy, Christians have relinquished the gift. Such a treasury we are overlooking. 

“To many Gentile Christians, the Psalms appear to be a little more than the simple songs of an ancient Jewish culture. To the Jew, however, the Psalms enjoy a very special position. They comprise a major portion of Jewish liturgy. David, to whom many psalms are ascribed, is considered on the same exalted plane with Adam and Messiah. According to the Talmud, the three Hebrew letters of Adam’s name represent the initials of three men: Adam, David, and Messiah. What Adam began, David continued, and Messiah will complete.  (Sanhedrin 107a).”[2]

“In the act of praying the Psalms the faded memory of our creation is brought into experienced clarity.” Eugene Peterson

I have grown to love the Psalms with all my heart. I have prayed them, sung them, cried through them. I read—prayed each one aloud to my father, as he lay unconscious awaiting the Lord to receive him into his eternal home. I have included them in my daily routine, in the midst of busyness and chaos, I stop, breathe and sing a few to keep my mind on Him… Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee {Is. 26:3 KJV}.

A couple years back, on my Finding Rest In God blog, the journal I laid to rest, I posted a few Psalms— Psalms to See Me Through, certain Psalms that gave me peace in the midst of a storm, healing in the midst of heartache, joy in the midst of sorrow. I chose a few choice Psalms that truly spoke to my heart. Here, I seek to expound on all 150 Psalms.  I pray that as we walk through them, you too, will find peace, healing, and joy. I pray the poetic prose becomes a constant companion, and that as you read through them with me, you hear God’s voice, and lift yours to Him through these magnificent poem-prayers. May they be a constant voice speaking peace into your spirit. That is my prayer for you. 

I echo the plea of N.T. Wright in his The Case For the Psalms, 

Sing these songs, and they will renew you from head to toe, from heart to mind. Pray these poems, and they will sustain you on the long, hard but exhilarating road of Christian discipleship.

To read all the Psalms in the series click here

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[1] Eugene Peterson, Answering God: The Psalms as Tools For Prayer, (New York: HarperCollins, 1989), 31.
[2] J.R. Church, Hidden Prophecies in the Psalms, (Oklahoma City: Prophecy Publications, 1990), 36.

1 comment:

  1. I am currently in a Bible study concerning the Psalms. I already have a few favorites and I look forward to following your journey through the Psalms.