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Praying the psalms: creating moments of honesty

This month, I came across Eugene Peterson's Answering God: The Psalms as tools of prayer sitting on my bookshelf. I had read it before, and came away with nothing. Reading the book had been an enjoyable experience for me, but I came away with nothing to apply. It seemed too simple.

Now, a few years later, when I saw the book, I decided to read it again. I felt an immediate connection as I read it, and understood what to do with the information.

As a result, I am praying through the Psalms.

It has been a journey. Using Ps 5 in the morning to pray, and Ps 4 in the evening, as well as the Psalms for the day, has caused me to daily take inventory of my own sorrows, submit my daily plan to the Lord, and seek him for wisdom. Each morning as I read the psalmist speaking of his sighing and groaning, God asks, what are your groanings? It is a question that I have to think about, and it gives me an opportunity to pray about what is weighing heavy on my heart. It also lets me get in touch with those emotions, as the busyness of life can keep me from really feeling. Ps 4 in the evening allows me to look over my day, pray about things that came up during that day and get insight around those things as well.

Having to live life, being a wife with relationship and domestic responsibilities, I don't always get to pray the Psalm selection for the day. When I do pray the selection, I am trying to approach such prayer with an eye towards learning about God, and letting the Psalm read me. I have marveled at how at least one psalm will crystallize a sentiment that I have that day, giving words to a particular pain that I may or may not be aware of. In my journey, I am trying to learn about God first, then turn my focus on myself. Sometimes, I read a psalm, and I want more background on it; I go to my commentary, and learning more about a psalm enriches my interaction with it.

I want to keep my interaction with the psalms devotional, so I keep the study of the psalms to a minimum. For study, I have selected another book of the bible.

Keeping a journal as I go is nice too. I write things I feel the Lord is telling me, and I can turn back to those things at a later date. I also like to write what I learn about God in a psalm; reflecting on that later.

So far, I can say it has been a process. No fireworks, no extreme transformation in the twinkling of an eye, but learning more about God, definitely getting more in touch with my emotions, developing the sense that God cares about how I feel, and simply enjoying quiet moments with God.

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