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Sunday: Fostering the Use of the Psalms in Prayer — 29 Comments

  1. Last night I looked at Psalm 1 and for a bit of an experiment, I asked Bard.ai to rewrite the Psalm in modern conversational Australian. I actually received 7 responses altogether and by the time I finished reading them all - they were quite different - I felt I had come to a big-picture understanding. Here is one of them written in an Australian vernacular. in a way that would make it meaningful to a secular reader.

    Psalm 1: Blushers and Bogans
    (Verse 1)
    No time for the bogan crew, the ones who reckon loud and fast,
    Who hang with troublemakers, thinkin' life's just a big sheilas' bust.
    No way, not me, mate, I steer clear of that dusty track,
    Got better things to do, ain't got no time for lookin' back.

    (Verse 2)
    Instead, I stick with straight-shooters, the ones who walk the honest line,
    Plantin' seeds of kindness, watchin' decency entwine.
    They dig the good word, yeah, reckon it's like gold in the sun,
    Chewin' on wisdom, never gettin' full, always on the run.

    (Verse 3)
    These good sorts, they're like gum trees, roots deep in the outback strong,
    Leavin' shade for weary travellers, singin' a joyful song.
    They ain't scared of nothin', not drought, nor fire, nor flood,
    Got faith in somethin' bigger, understood?

    (Verse 4)
    But the others, the bludgers, they're like tumbleweeds in the breeze,
    Blowin' aimlessly, no purpose, just lookin' for ways to appease.
    They'll get swept away in the end, scattered like dust in the storm,
    Nothin' left but memories, a faded, forgotten form.

    (Verse 5)
    So keep it real, yeah, head held high, walk the righteous path,
    Plant your seeds of goodness, watch 'em blossom aftermath.
    The right way, always the right way, that's the Aussie creed,
    And when the dust settles, mate, that's all you'll ever need.

    Yeah, nah, ain't no time for trouble, keep your heart clean and bright,
    Follow the good light, mate, and everything'll be alright.

  2. For me, the deeper my feelings, or the bigger the topic, the more challenging it is to find the right words to put to it. The Psalms (and the whole Bible) are helpful when I don’t know how to even begin talking with God about it. And it is like having a prayer partner in the psalmist. Also, by reading the Psalms as corresponding to my own life, I may discover something about my experience or way of responding that I don’t recognize yet. For example, the many prayers about world problems may show me how much I do feel about what’s going on all over planet Earth and teach me how to express it. In a world overwhelmed by violence and loss and swirling spiraling anxieties, I read and pray:

    “[The LORD] heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds. He determines the number of the stars and calls them each by name. Great is our Lord and mighty in power… The Lord sustains the humble, but casts the wicked to the ground.” Psalm 147:3-6

    Lord, make me, make us, compassionate people so You can offer hope through us. May my life, my words, my actions, turn others to You, the only true source of comfort. Heal the brokenhearted and bind their wounds through me, please. Humble me. I know so many brokenhearted people. Some of them resist hearing about You because of their views of Christians and Christianity. Forgive us, Lord. Make us beautiful people in our hearts, who love like You love. May we be Your millions of stars, reflecting the light of Your character. You have called us by name. May our lives spread the good news about Your radical love. May we take up Your mission of Luke 4:18-19 filled with Your galaxy-making power. May we not fit in with the culture we know in 2 Tim. 3:1-5 ESV.

    Hear my prayer, O Lord, …. my spirit is overwhelmed within me… I stretch out my hands to You; my soul longs for You as a parched land….Teach me the way in which I should walk…for I am Your servant. (Ps. 143:1,4,6,8,12)

    • Beautiful prayer indeed and thank you for sharing. I was reading Psalms 51 which is a prayer. I love the comments and thought I would share with you brethren.

      Psams 51 David confesses sins and pray for forgiveness which is a lesson from the Psalms and how we can use them to guide our prayer life.

      Below is a commentary from the unfeined Bible, the Bible is available on playstore if you are interested to download. It's very helpful bible and give reference and shortcut to the Spirit of Prophecy.

      Many accept an intellectual religion, a form of godliness, when the heart is not cleansed. Let it be your prayer, “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10. Deal truly with your own soul. Be as earnest, as persistent, as you would be if your mortal life were at stake. This is a matter to be settled between God and your own soul, settled for eternity. A supposed hope, and nothing more, will prove your ruin.

      Psalms 51:1-17. The Way Back to God.--I present before you the fifty-first psalm, a psalm filled with precious lessons. From it we may learn what course to follow if we have departed from the Lord. To the king of Israel, exalted and honored, the Lord sent a message of reproof by His prophet. David confessed his sin and humbled his heart, declaring God to be just in all His dealings [Psalm 51:1-17 quoted] (MS 147, 1903). {3BC 1147.2}

  3. We need to stick to the words of God as they are given by the Bible. Bible study guide is there to help us simplify the Scriptures, so we can understand what we are reading, and studying.

    • The main aim of Tyndale and Coverdale's Bible translation work was to translate the Bible so that it could be understood by the English reader in the 16th century. This ultimately led to the King James version. Clearly, very few people understood the Psalms in their original Hebrew form. That raises the question, "What are the words of God?" The original Hebrew, the old 16th Century English, or a modern paraphrase in a local vernacular. I deal with folk who would never read a Hebrew text or any Bible at all but I want them to hear the message in a language that is deeply meaningful to them. Our prayer should be that we allow God to speak through us to others.

    • The chaplain who delivered the sermon at our Sabbath service yesterday was telling us that he reads the Bible without chapters or verses now. So I did a little research about this. Reading straight-through is the oldest way to read Scripture, as the chapter-and-verse system we're familiar with only began in the 1500s. The numbering system was inserted as a way to reference smaller sections when creating a Bible concordance. So these imposed numbers changed it from a reading book to a reference book. Huh.

      By deleting the chapters and verses, we can read the way the author intended. For instance, I just learned that Matthew actually divided his own gospel up into 5 sections to match the 5 books of the Torah for his Jewish audiences...to show that the gospel of Jesus is the new Torah. Likewise, the author Luke significantly divided up his book of Acts of the Apostles into 6 sections to show that the work of spreading the gospel is incomplete, and to leave room for the future followers of Jesus to complete the work in a "7th section" denoting the perfect number and completion. Interesting!

      Another reason to go back to a reading format is that it helps us to keep what we might like to extract as little Scriptural nuggets - like the favorite text of Jer. 29:11 - in wider context (the Israelites were going to have 70 years of captivity in Babylon) and therefore understood more accurately. Also, the verse numbers cut up some thought flows. For example, Gen. 2:1-3 actually completes the "Song of Creation" begun in Gen. 1. I hadn't noticed that before.

      It was a funny exercise for our speaker to try to get us all to the part of Matthew "Chapter 24" he was reading without being able to give us the verses....but it opened my eyes to another way of understanding and studying Scripture. I'd like to try a "Reading Bible" (as different from a "Reference Bible", having chapters and verses).

      • We have to be very careful about not considering the context of the surrounding chapters, but chapter and verse are here to stay - the Bible is too big a book to find things easily without them. (Keep in mind that the books of the Bible were separate books of their own - so maybe we should have 66 Bible books that we carry around in a suitcase - nah, I'm glad for what we have!) When you read you have to stop somewhere and though the chapter divisions are imperfect, most of them are fairly good at indicating a section. This along with the headings that a lot of newer Bibles use can be helpful in reading coherently. That being said, reading a book straight through is really valuable to understand the major themes. Whenever I begin studying a book, I read it through a in one sitting a couple times.

      • I have enjoyed hearing the Psalms read to me for that reason. I am hearing a whole psalm, not just pieces of it. Carmel and I are having the Psalms read to us from "The Message" at the moment and sometimes I am a bit naughty and listen ahead while Carmel is busy.

      • Esther that is fascinating! We could potentially be missing out on so much by not engaging with the word of GOD in different ways. Food for thought. Thanks for sharing

      • Can we do that with the Psalms? Some were written by different people with different motives and purposes. We surely cannot just read them straight and omitting the numbers or we lose the essence. Other scriptures but not the Psalms.

        • I feel the Psalms divide themselves up pretty well with the literary structure, without needing numbers. When I read them straight through, it seems clear where most, if not all of them, begin and end. Having said that though, I believe Esther intended it as an additional way to gain understanding, not as "the best way". As long as we pray before studying God's word, the Holy Spirit will guide us into understanding, and possibly into a method of study we haven't tried before.

  4. Even as the disciples, we need Jesus to teach us to pray. Prayer is so simple that the smallest child can pray, but it is so great that the mightiest man of God cannot be said to truly have mastered prayer.

  5. Gods Words to dwell richly in me is for His Words to abide, to stay, to remain, that they become a part of who I am. For constant conversations (prayer) with my Creator, more so when I cannot express in words what I feel. The Bible assures me God knows despair as well as joy. That God will always be Good, Faithful, Trustworthy and Victorious! Other books have not stood the test of time, been proven with history, in being reliable. Books can change lives, but the Bible can Save lives! Thank you Lord Jesus! Praise Ye, Praise Ye. I Love You!

  6. The bible says that prayer is the breath of the soul and that Jesus spent many hours in prayer, even up to forty days in the wilderness. When the deciples could not heal the boy that was demon possessed, Jesus told them that prayer and fasting was essential.

    In my own experience, I struggled for several years in an attempt to develop meaningful personal prayers. When I tried to pray, my mind would wonder off on everything else but prayer. Sometimes, I felt that it was meaningless to even try to pray. However, I only experienced improvements in my prayer life when I fasted and focused on asking God to teach me how to pray, and most importantly, to help me to control my wondering mind. I also asked God to bring people into my life, people who will help me grow spiritual.

    The first sign that God answered my prayer was that God sent me a prayer partner. This helped me to make time for God in my life. It also helped me to put God first in my life. Before getting out of bed for the day, prayer and reading the bible came first. This helped me to focus more on pleading, supplicating and persevering for a closer walk with God. Am I where I want to be with God? I believe I am far short of where I should be. But each day I struggle and fight for a closer walk with God. Please pray for me as I pray for you, as we struggle together to develop a meaningful prayer life. God bless.

  7. Last quarter our Sabbath School Superintendent weekly has her talk and one Sabbath told us her devotional habit. She reads Proverbs a chapter daily for the date, and Psalms one chapter a day. A couple of weeks later I asked her husband what he did for devotion. He said oh I read and listen to a hodge-podge of inspirations daily. Then a week later he smiled and said I now read Proverbs 7 on the 7th of the month and forward daily, also reading a chapter a day chronilogicaly in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and Psalms. Three chapters a day only takes few minutes out of my usual hodge-podge of Inspirational sermons and articles devotionally.

    Here we are this week with the author recommending reading Psalms a chapter a day starting with chapter 1. May I suggest that we also memorize our favorite Psalms, other than Psalms 23. I love Psalms 23 and recite it in prayer. I believe in our prayers the Lord would like to hear us also recite to Him for instance Psalms 34:1(Praise), Psalms 34:4(action),and Psalms 34:6(reward). I give thanks unto the Lord for the multiple rewards He has given to us found in Psalms. Psalms 107:1. Speaking of rewards the ultiment is ours for the asking. Luke 11:13.

  8. Worry overwhelm me,
    Troubles surround me,
    Awakens fear and concerns for my dears,
    The wonder if my cry could rest on a caring ear,
    None but You My God, My Lord, You stand very near...


  9. When we start our day with God’s word it stays with us during the day thus in order for me to let the words of God dwell within me richly I need to implant his words in my mind. During the day I am then able to pray, reflect and share.
    The Psalms speaks for me what I want to say at times when I cannot find the right words.

  10. I am not a poet, however, I enjoy poetry. One morning in November as I was doing my morning devotions, the sun began to rise and everything was pink & lovely. My heart was touched & I began to write a poem. I hadn't written one in years and I was teaching a unit on poetry in my writing class. I felt like God gave me this as a gift in the moment to encourage me because the words just came. And I love reading it. It was simple but profound to me. I am putting it out there to share since we are doing this unit on Psalms. I've heard songwriters at times talk about how the words just came to them in a moment, like a flood. Words don't always come that quickly, but sometimes when they do it is just so beautiful. I'm not looking for approval, just sharing my story.I hope someone is blessed by it.

    A Touch of Pink

    What a beautiful morning
    As I gaze out my window
    The sky is touched with pink
    Today I’m not in mourning
    I just need time to think
    As I drink
    This beautiful morning

    I watched in awe
    As pink was touched with gold
    Which faded upwards
    Into light blue
    So light
    So faint
    Like watercolors hue

    The lovely starkness
    Of the lacey trees
    Their leafless darkness
    Touched by pink
    Betrothed my eyes
    With serene beauty
    Bedazzling my mind


    By Tammy Danitz 11/4/23

  11. The spirit contained in the Psalms is to me like what rains are for a thirsty land – it waters a parched and desolate landscape to bring out a beauty which remains hidden without it. Without the Holy Spirit we cannot be fruitful; all fruit and beauty - all that is good in our life comes from His nourishment! James 1:17-19

    It is for us to discover the beauty of His Spirit. Yes, reading Psalms provides us with hope, reassurance and encouragement, though it is imperative that we drink directly from heaven’s fountain which we are promised will never leave us thirsty - we drink from heaven’s fountain of life giving Praise and Honor to our God for His Goodness – John 4:13-15!

    In a nutshell - to me, the Psalms describe the believer’s relationship experiences with God. We all worship the same God, coming to Him with our love and admiration which overflows the heart and will so be shared. Though, the most effective prayers might be experienced with the Father in quite communion.

    I do not think a ‘structure’ can be artificially established to govern the ‘proper’ attitude and delivery when praying. It is one's discovery of 'self' which goes hand in hand with the discovery of Who it is that we direct our prayers to.

    I encourage everyone to look to the author and finisher of our faith for guidance, learning from how He subjected Himself to a life or prayer to find out the Will of His Father in His life and walk the Path of Faith.

    Do we seek to discover and understand Who it is that our prayers address? Then we need to be completely honest, stand naked before His throne, void of deceit and self-protection. We want to learn to trust Jesus Chrsit who showed us the Father as He instructed us to bring all that burdens to Him who gives the weary soul rest.

    Our new life is enshrined in the assurance of being found in Him who brought us out of this world’s darkness into His Light – the life we now live by faith giving Glory and Honor to the Father of our Redeemer!

  12. The spirit contained in the Psalms describes to me the rain for a thirsty land – it waters the parched and desolate landscape of the living soul to bring out beauty which remains hidden without heaven’s quickening.

    Without the Holy Spirit we cannot be fruitful; all fruit and beauty - all that is good in our life comes from His nourishment! James 1:17-19. It is left to us to discover the beauty of His Spirit through prayer and intimate conversation with our God.

    When reading the Psalms, the Holy Spirit in us inspires hope, reassurance and encouragement. Though it is imperative for our love and faith to grow that we are watered directly from heaven’s fountains which is promised to never leave us thirsty. Drinking from heaven’s fountain of life always returns Praise and Honor to our God for His Goodness – John 4:13-15!

    I encourage everyone to look to the Holy Spirit given to man by the author and finisher of our faith for guidance, learning from Him to know the Will of the Father and loving Him with all our heart. He directs us to walk the Path of Faith with praises and thanksgiving – Isaiah 30:15.

    • One way we worship Christ it through prayer. Therefore, we can use the Psalms to pray to our Father in Heaven for ourselves and for others when we are in different seasons of life. I think we can use the Psalms especially when we may not know what to say or how to express what we are feeling or experiencing.

  13. In Psalm 1 I see what God expects from us as believers. It tells us the company not to walk with, stand with and sit with. It tells us how we can achieve this - by having delight in His Law and meditating upon it and it shows the rewards of doing so compared to the rewards of the wicked. In this Psalm I find God as judge and justifier and an end to the argument of those who label others judgemental when a sermon rebukes sin. My prayer in this Psalm is to ask God to help me and the church to meditate on his law, not to conform with the world nor emulate modern day churches but to be true to our calling to be a separate people. I claim the promises in this psalm - to be a tree planted by the river bringing forth fruits to God's kingdom, not to wither but prosper and that when God who knows the way of the righteous comes to judge and blows away the wicked like chaff I may be found in his kingdom


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