Singing and Praying the Psalms

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace.  And be thankful.  Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.  And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

  • Colossians 3:15-17

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.  Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.  Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery.  Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit.  Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

  • Ephesians 5:15-20

Those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion,
    which cannot be shaken but endures forever.
As the mountains surround Jerusalem,
    so the Lord surrounds his people
    both now and forevermore.
The scepter of the wicked will not remain
    over the land allotted to the righteous,
for then the righteous might use
    their hands to do evil.
Lord, do good to those who are good,
    to those who are upright in heart.
But those who turn to crooked ways
    the Lord will banish with the evildoers.
Peace be on Israel.

  • Psalm 125:1-5

“Scripture reading, song, and prayer should be part of daily morning worship together [gemeinsame Andacht].  Daily morning worship will take as many different forms as there are communities.  That is the way it is bound to be.  When a community living together includes children, it needs a different sort of daily worship than a community of seminarians.  It is by no means healthy when one becomes like the other, when, for example, a brotherhood of seminarians is content with a form of family daily worship for children.  However, the word of Scripture, hymns of the church, and the prayer of the community should form a part of every daily worship that they share together.  l will now speak here of the individual parts of such daily worship together.
“’Speak to one another with psalms’ (Eph. 5:19).  ’Teach and admonish one another . . . and . . . sing psalms’ (Col. 3:16).  From ancient times in the church a special significance has been attached to the praying of Psalms together.  In many churches to this day the Psalter is used at the beginning of every service of daily worship together.  The practice has been lost to a large extent, and we must now recover the meaning of praying the Psalms.  The Psalter occupies a unique place in all the Holy Scriptures.  It is God’s Word, and with few exceptions it is at the same time the prayer of human beings.”

  • Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together

When it comes to daily prayer and praying the Psalms, I have firsthand experience with that.  I was in my early 60s when I was laid off several years ago.  I knew that getting a job was impossible unless God performed a miracle.  After several months of looking for a job, I got two contract jobs that were temporary, but full time.  That curbed the plummeting available cash level due to medical bills and the “definitely not” affordable healthcare system.

I prayed Psalm 13 every day.  I started with reciting it in three or four translations each morning.  “God, where are you?  Do not have my enemies laugh at me and You!  Come to my aid!  But God, You are in control and I praise Your name!”  My own paraphrase.  Then after about a year and a half, I read something written by Charles Stanley and he quoted Psalm 25.  I made the transition to Psalm 25, more verses, not as much “Debbie Downer” kind of words and more of the praise portion.  Note:  If King David wrote a lament like Psalm 13, there was always a verse here or there that praised God.  Why bring your lament before God, unless you acknowledge that God really is in control?!

I did not read Psalm 25 that often.  By then, I was getting the idea that God really wanted me to retire.  With certain bills paid, we have been able to balance our meager budget.  If one thing goes awry, we are sunk.

But God knows our situation and that one thing has yet to explode in our face.

And God blessed me in my unemployment.  If I was still working, I could not have taken the time to be by my wife’s side during her open-heart surgery.  I would have not been able to be by her side throughout a couple of weeks of inpatient therapy at a rehab center.  I would not have been able to drive her to outpatient physical therapy at the hospital twice a week for a few months.  And I would have been doing laundry and other household things well into the night after working all day – if I still had a job.

And then adding to the blessings, a year later became the three days each week of taking her to the dialysis center and then picking her up four hours later.

When the Austrian company purchased our company a few years before the layoffs took my job, they put us on a stringent medical leave and vacation plan which would mean, I either did not assist my wife or I paid the company for the privilege of having company medical benefits with no more pay coming in for me and her.  I earned minutes of medical leave and less than two hours of vacation each week.  “Ummm.  Boss, I need six hours off this week to take my wife to dialysis.”  The boss would ask if I wanted to stay employed.

But I was blessed by not having to face those decisions.  I can stay by my wife’s side.  She needs me.

So, maybe instead of Psalm 13 or Psalm 25, I could start singing, chanting, reciting Psalm 125.  It takes what those other psalms say and puts a positive slant to it.

Rather than ask where God is, you know where God is, and He will not let you down.

Find your psalm.  What is your deepest and darkest issue right now?  What do you need within your make-up that God provides?  There are 150 psalms to choose from.  Psalm 119 is so long, you can break it down into individual eight-verse segments.  Now, you have even more to work with.

God gives us the tools.  It is up to us to wake up a little earlier and study those tools and use them.

Soli Deo Gloria.  Only to God be the Glory.

2 Comments

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  1. I love the Psalms. My favorite is Psalm 103.

    Liked by 1 person

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