Welcome to Spiritual Practices. My hope is that the practices you find on this page will enhance your spiritual journey. None of what is posted here is original material - it has been gathered together from numerous sources in the hope that you will be exposed to ideas and practices from a variety of traditions that you might not otherwise experience. Take your time as you participate so that you can gain the most out of the experience.

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Saturday, May 01, 2004
Spiritual Disciplines: Prayer Exercise - Praying the Psalms


The Psalms have been called the prayer book of the Bible in both Jewish and Christian traditions. It is a collection of sung prayers that has been used in worship from the time of ancient Israel up to the present. They range widely in emotional expression, from the heights of adoration and praise to the depths of despair and vengeful curses against enemies. Because the Psalms express such a wide array of authentic emotional experiences they have special relevance to our prayer life. They teach us to hide nothing from God, but to bring all that is real into the only relationship that can bless the best and heal the worst in us.


No matter what we are feeling -- distress, trust, anger or delight, the words of the Psalms can accompany us into God's presence. In the Psalms we find words to express every conceivable human condition and feeling. These prayers give us words to glorify, confess, hope, ask, and even curse. In so doing, they give us permission to share our whole being with God.


The following are a few examples of Psalms that we can pray to assist us in honestly expressing our deepest emotions to God. Pray these psalms or portions of psalms as prayers to God, expressing honestly your deepest feelings. Are you feeling:





Psalm 9

I'm thanking you, God, from a full heart,
  I'm writing the book on your wonders.
I'm whistling, laughing, and jumping for joy;
  I'm singing your song, High God.

God's a safe-house for the battered,
  a sanctuary during bad times.
The moment you arrive, you relax:
  you're never sorry you knocked.

Be kind to me, God;
  I've been kicked around long enough.
Once you've pulled me back
  from the gates of death,
I'll write the book on Hallelujahs;
  on the corner of Main and First
  I'll hold a street meeting;
I'll be the song  leader; we'll fill the air
  with salvation songs.





Psalm 77

I yell out to God, I yell with all my might,
  I yell at the top of my lungs. [God] listens.

I found myself in trouble and went looking for my Lord;
  my life was an open wound that wouldn't heal.
When friends said, "Everything will turn out all right,"
  I didn't believe a word they said.
I remember God -- and shake my head.
  I bow my head -- then wring my hands.
I'm awake all night -- not a wink of sleep;
  I can't even say what's bothering me.
I go over the days one by one,
  I ponder the years gone by.
I strum my lute all through the night,
  wondering how to get my life together.

Will the Lord walk off and leave us for good?
  Will [God] never smile again?
Is [God's] love worn threadbare?
  Has [the Lord's] salvation promise burned out?
Has God forgotten his manners?
  Has [the Lord] angrily stalked off and left us?
"Just my luck," I said. "The High God goes out of business
  just the moment I need him."

Once again I'll go over what God has done,
  lay out on the table the ancient wonders,
I'll ponder all the things you've accomplished,
  and give a long, loving look at your acts.

Oh God! Your way is holy!
  No god is great like God!
You're the God who makes things happen;
  you showed everyone what you can do--
You pulled your people out of the worst kind of trouble,
  rescued the children of Jacob and Joseph.



Awed by God


Psalm 29

Bravo, God, bravo!
  Gods and all angels shout, "Encore!"
In awe before the glory,
  in awe before God's visible power.
Stand at attention!
  Dress your best to honor him!

God's thunder spits fire.
God thunders, the wilderness quakes;
[God] makes the
desert of Kadesh

God's thunder set the oak trees dancing
A wild dance, whirling;
  the pelting rain strips their branches.
We fall to our knees -- we call out, "Glory!"





Psalm 70

God! Please hurry to my rescue!
  Yahweh, come quickly to my side!
Those who are out to get me --
  let them fall all over themselves.
Those who relish my downfall --
  send them down a blind alley.
Give them a taste of their own medicine,
  those gossips off clucking their tongues.

Let those on the hunt for you
  sing and celebrate.
Let all who love your saving way
  say over and over, "God is mighty!"

But I've lost it. I'm wasted.
  God -- quickly, quickly!
Quick to my side, quick to my rescue!
  Yahweh, don't lose a minute.





Psalm 23

my shepherd!
I don't need a thing.

Posted at 11:57 pm by markhsj1972
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