“Praying with the Psalms” (by Rev Timothy Keller) was selected for Sunday Bible Class’s study this year because it resonates with our desire as a ministry and church to grow in our intimacy with Christ. In fact, our church vision statement also carries the same aspiration:
We make passionate and faithful disciples of Jesus
who abide in an intimate relationship with Christ
as they impact the community
Making passionate and faithful disciples of Jesus and impacting our community are but the fruits of a church that is walking closely with Jesus. Prayer and meditation of God’s word are the keys to developing that intimacy with Christ. Praying with the Psalms is helpful in this pursuit because the Psalms are exactly that, prayers. Israel has been using this collection of sung prayers for worship from ancient times till present day. Here are 3 benefits of praying with the Psalms:
- the Psalms teach us how we can pray in all of life’s situations. They prepare and inform us on how we can deal with every possible human emotional experience. In the psalms, we are taught how we can express the different feelings with words to God who hears. Words that can communicate our praise (Ps 29) gratefulness (Ps 9), despair (Ps 77), anxieties (Ps 70), contentment (Ps 23) and the longing for vindication (Ps 17).
- the Psalms move us beyond our emotions to rest on God’s truth. While we can’t deny our emotions, we can and must have them weighed against the absolute promises of God (1 Pet 1:13). Praying with the psalms reminds us to deal with life’s defeats and victories with God’s immovable truth. Delving stubbornly into our problems and refusing to see them against the backdrop of God’s promises, providence and power makes one culpable of unbelief. Reliance on emotions, devoid of God’s word to direct our faith and life will only lead to more confusions and anxieties.
- the Psalms assure us that we can be honest with God. Looking at how the different writers spoke with God and how God revealed Himself to them, we can sense the complete honesty from the writers as they are met with the steadfast love of God. We can approach the throne of grace with boldness because Jesus, our Great High Priest is the once-for-all sacrifice for our sins (Heb 4:16), thereby permanently reconciling us to God (Rom 8:38-39).
There can never be any relational intimacy without communication, trust and honesty.
Deepen your prayer life. Pray with the Psalms today.
Dn. Gideon Loh