Thursday, August 27, 2009
Some years ago I came upon the idea from somewhere of praying a Psalm a day. Of course, it took some time as there are 150 Psalms! One the reasons I started this discipline was to experiment with praying the Scriptures. At the time I found myself reading about this kind of praying, but it was not one I had ever really practiced. The Psalms seemed like a good place to start since so many of them are directed toward God.
I discovered many things during this prayer journey. First, I did learn how to pray the Scripture. Practice is always more helpful than just reading. Secondly, I got acquainted with some Psalms to which I had never really given attention. I learned that some Psalms are sections of the Word to which I often return. For example, as a result of the praying the Scripture experiment, Psalm 143 became one that I pray often. When I am drawn toward offering prayers for healing, Psalm 143 is a place I go. Verse 3 teaches me to pray, "Lord, this child of yours feels like his/her life is being crushed in the ground, take this child of yours out of the darkness into Your Presence where spirits can be renewed." A verse like verse 7 encourages me to pray, "Lord, act quickly. Please do not delay. Speak your loving and healing words to this one who longs to hear and know them and do it now."
More than anything else, this praying the Scripture experiment some years ago taught me that there are many ways to pray. Certainly, it is not necessary to learn new ways to pray. We can continue to pray as has been our custom. But, there is something renewing about having different conversations with God. There is something powerful about opening ourselves up to something which has the potential to put our prayers more in step with the heartfelt desires of God our Father.