Friday, June 24, 2011

Five Ways to Pray the Psalms

May I suggest five ways we can pray the Psalms.

1. Say them out loud

One effective way to pray the Psalms is to read them out loud. Many of the Psalms are meant to be read in public assembly. Reading out loud not only helps you to proclaim the psalms, it also enables you to hear it. Speaking and listen are important aspect of prayers.

2. Use them as a jumping off platform

As you read the psalms, read it slowly and use the words, phrases, sentences as a platform to launch into your own prayers. After you have finished, then go back to where you left of and continue reading. Again launch off as you felt let to pray around the words or theme in the psalms. For example in Psalm 23:3, when you read “he restores my soul…” you might want to pray about your spiritual life, your present struggles and appeal for his intervention.

3. Paraphase them

Rewrite the psalms in your own words. When you paraphrase the psalm, you are interacting with you seek to understand the main points and to express it your way. It also helps to paraphrase in your own language if English is not your first language.

4. Memorise them

Memorising parts or whole psalms are another way to pray them. Repeat the psalms you have memorized continually and he begin to understand what St.Paul means when he asks us to praying unceasingly. Using memorized portion or whole of the psalms in your prayer is useful when you do not know what to say when you pray. Sometimes you will find that the psalmist can express your needs better than you can say it.

5. Let them talk to you

Use the spiritual discipline of lectio divina to read the psalms during your prayer and let the psalms speak to you. Lectio divina or spiritual reading involves reading, meditating, praying and contemplating. These four movements help us to listen to the psalms and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to us.

These are some of the ways you can pray the psalms.


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Blogger pearlie said...

Thanks. And yes, I do those but #2 sounds quite literal it threw me off a moment :)

8:07 AM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

Hi Pearlie,

It threw a lot of people off initially. I believe the main reason is that they have not prayed this way before. Once they become used to it, many loved to pray the psalms this way.

11:25 AM  
Blogger Paul Long said...

Currently doing a semi guided inductive study of different Psalms in my home group.

One objective is to get everyone to examine what a Bible passage (in this case the given Psalm) is actually saying. Exegesis first kind of thing ...

Another is to keep driving home the point that Psalms are both God;s Word and men's words - they are poems, they are prayers, they are read out loud, they are sung in worship. It is meant to evoke emotions and connect with our hearts via the metaphors used etc AND not just to be dissected as information.

It's a hard task but it is getting there :-) I will print out your five suggestions and pass it out tonight and see how everyone responds.

5:50 AM  
Blogger Paul Long said...

shared this with my home group last week. We are studying a selection of Psalms

9:51 AM  
Blogger Alex Tang said...

hope you had a great time praying the psalms

2:18 PM  
Blogger Paul Long said...

It was for home work. People still need time to get used to this kind of prayer "in public".

5:28 PM  
Blogger jc4jc said...

This is great! and very helpful. I will certainly use your suggestions. And to think that just a few weeks ago I restarted "Praying the Psalms in Jefferson County"

10:38 AM  

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