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Why meditate on the Psalms – part 5

18 July 2013

PrayerThis is the fifth (and probably final) post in a short series looking at the importance of the Psalms in the devotional life of the believer and in the worship life of a church. We are currently looking at the Psalms in our church so…why meditate on the Psalms?

(5)   Our prayer book – they give us a vocabulary

Just as the Psalms were Jesus’ prayer book, so they can become ours. Speaking personally, I read the Psalm once or twice through every year and start most days with a Psalm and they have helped me in three ways. The Psalms have given me:

a)    The Spirit’s power

C.S. Lewis famously said:

 “The moment you wake up each morning, all your wishes and hopes for the day rush at your like wild animals. And the first job of each morning consists in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice, taking that other point of view, letting that other, larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in”.

Personally I know of no better way to gain faith, strength, courage and perspective than to use a Psalm to get me going each day. Praying the Psalms opens me up to the larger, stronger, quieter life of life in the Spirit.

b)    Words to draw near to my Father

When children learn to speak they first repeat and mimic what their parents are saying (Dadda, Mamma), but over time these words become their own words and they gain a personal meaning and value for them, which enables them to connect with their mum and dad.

So with the Psalms, we can learn a vocabulary which at first we just repeat and copy, but over time we internalise so they become our words and they enable us to draw near to God. What started off as reciting became my own words and I learnt (and am learning) to talk to my father in heaven with greater ease.

(c) Joy in Jesus

I am currently reading CS Lewis’ “reflections on the Psalms”, and in that he has one of the most powerful insights of all time (John Piper has based his whole life and ministry on these words, just read Desiring God). When reflecting on how God often asks us to praise him (does that make God an egotist?), Lewis says this:

“I had never noticed that all enjoyment spontaneously overflows in praise… The world rings with praise – lovers praising their Praise completes joymistresses, readers their favourite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favourite game – praise of weather, wine, dishes, actors, motors, horses, colleges, countries, historical personages, children, flowers, mountain, rare stamps, rare beetles, even sometimes politicians or scholars…

I had not noticed either that just as men spontaneously praise whatever they value, so they spontaneously urge us to join them in praising it; “isn’t she lovely? Wasn’t it glorious? Don’t you think that magnificent”

I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling on another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed.

As George Mueller said: “the first and most important duty of each day is to find my soul happy in God.” Well the Psalms have enabled me to do that; they have helped me come to Jesus as the satisfaction for my deepest desires and fulfilment of my greatest hopes.

So we should meditate on the Psalms to be empowered by the Spirit, draw near to our Father and find joy in Jesus.

Off you go!

P.S There may be extra posts in this series…but don’t hold your breath!!

One Comment leave one →
  1. Julia Crookston permalink
    27 October 2013 8:11 am

    I hope there are extra posts in this series..I find praying the Psalms so helpful

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