Why Pray the Psalms?
For some time now I’ve had a desire to form a group to pray through the Book of Psalms together. The Psalms are incredibly rich and there is much in them that we can automatically relate to. At the same time there is a great deal that we find discomforting and even wonder why it would be given to us.? As “civilized” people phrases such as “blessed is he that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the rocks” (Psalm 137:9) make us distinctly uncomfortable.
Still the Book of Psalms is the only book of the Bible that deals directly with human emotion in some of it’s rawest form. The Psalms spend very little time telling us about emotional experiences. They simply emote.
Then too the Psalms were the earliest prayer book of the church, and are still used that way by Jews and the liturgical churches (Roman Catholic, Anglican, etc.) Where should we better learn how to pray than from the Psalms?
How this group will work:
In the Episcopalian Book of Common Prayer the Psalms are read as a nine week cycle. There are Psalms appointed for Morning Prayer and Psalms appointed for Evening Prayer. Generally there are three to five readings from the Psalms each day. This seems a little bit much to pray through and grasp so I have divided the cycle by praying through the Psalms for Morning Prayer in the first nine weeks and the Psalms for Evening Prayer in the second nine weeks.
My plan is to begin during the Eighth Week after Epiphany (February 28, 2011), as we are in the middle of the cycle right now. I will be posting my thoughts about the Psalm Readings for the day as well as excerpts from commentaries and some thoughts on how the Psalms have been used in prayer throughout the ages.
I look forward to your comments and participation.