Tag Archives: Psalms

The Psalter and Meditation

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Saturday, June 3, 2017

Psalter - Westminster_Psalter_David playing the harp. c. 1200

The Psalter and Meditation

I am such a fan of Dietrich Bonhöffer and his devotional writing. Sure, many people praise his deep theological works. (I think his theology is profound, too.) However, his attitude toward meditation and prayer reach me in a deep, profound way, internally.

I know how important reading is for those who understand “that special intimate relationship with God’s Word.” [1] In the excerpt, we discovered the repercussions for each one who is actively looking for an effective, emotional interaction.

Bonhöffer considered the Psalms as the way he became closer to God. I know how challenging this is for many, but think of something hopeful and upbeat. If anyone can get their hands on this devotional reading, it would be a worthwhile way of deepening our relationship with God.

Dear God, help me to discover more about You and Your World. Lead me in Your way and direct our path. Hear us, o Lord God where You can remind us of how valuable the meditation can be. Hear us when we pray.



Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er

[1] Meditating on the Word, Dietrich Bonhöffer, edited by David McI. Gracie. (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Cowley Publications, 2000), 10.


Blessing, Blessing, Everywhere. In Prayer.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, July 1, 2015

bless your heart

Blessing, Blessing, Everywhere. In Prayer.

It’s a new month, and I have a new focus for this blog. In July, I am going to concentrate on an intriguing book named Praying the New Testament as Psalms. Desmond O’Donnel and Maureen Mohen wrote the book, and I thought I’d sample some chapters. I mean, psalms.

O’Donnell and Mohen did do an excellent job. We’ll lead off the month with Blessing.

Gracious God, You indeed have blessed us with every spiritual blessing. Help us—help me to to something similar. Please allow my friends gifts they will appreciate. I sometimes feel scared and aware something is going to be coming. Please, God, give me the strength to be kind to those who are against me and the things I feel so strongly.

Dear God, You have concentrated on giving good things to me. (Me, are you sure?) Help me love You more nearly, more dearly. I would exchange so much that I have for more knowledge and understanding of You.

In Jesus’ precious, powerful name I pray, Amen.


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.   @chaplaineliza And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er .

Coming to God with My Wounds—in Prayer

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – January 24, 2015

stormy ocean

Coming to God with My Wounds—in Prayer

I am faithfully, even obediently reading the next chapter in my trusty prayer guide. I find “Wounds” is the topic of today’s chapter. Yes, I can immediately relate to the expressions I find Rev. Howell uses, the examples he gives from Henri Nouwen and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Sure, I find I can easily identify, and not just compare.

But, Lord Jesus, I find myself skidding to a mental stop when I come across an excerpt from Isaiah 53. These words bring tears to my eyes, yes! But, I cannot relate to them very well at all. Not in the sense that You actually experienced them. Your incredible suffering, pain and anguish during the time of Your passion and death are too distant for me to consider. (Very often, that is.)

But Psalms? Ah, yes. Psalms are much more accessible. More identifiable. I see the raw emotion, desperate grief and longing, and ecstatic praises written in the Psalms. Those difficulties and agonies in my life? As Bonhoeffer mentioned, I can surely cast my cares upon God, because God alone knows how to handle suffering.[1] Praying the Psalms can help me in my effort to try to give God my agony, grief and suffering, as well as my joys, praise and delight.

Dear Lord Jesus, perhaps I can see Your suffering as making You real. Real to me, anyway. You suffered in order to feel with us. Not to remain remote, light years away from us humans. I know, that’s part of the reason for the Incarnation, for You being born and a growing up a child in a human family.

I read in Isaiah that You have borne our griefs and carried our sorrows. Please, dear Lord, impress this on my consciousness, especially as we are going to commemorate this once more on Ash Wednesday, in just a few weeks. (Much less the penitential season of Lent, culminating in the Passion Week and Good Friday.)

Please, God, help me come before You faithfully, even though I don’t understand—much. Help all of us. Lord, in Your mercy, hear our prayers.

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blog, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.

(also published at www.matterofprayer.net

[1] Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Psalms: The Prayer Book of the Bible (Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1970), 48.

Prayer Book of the Bible? The Psalms.

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – January 12, 2015

PRAY woman-praying

Prayer Book of the Bible? The Psalms.

Praying the Psalms—what a natural place to start, if I want to pray using Scripture!

The Psalms have been called the song book of the Bible, but also the prayer book of the Bible. All ranges and all kinds of emotion can be found in this book. When you or I turn to a specific Psalm, chances are that we can relate to whatever emotion the writer may be feeling.

As Rev. Howell brings out in our prayer guide today, the first verse of Psalm 130 is a good example. “Out of the depths I cry to You, O Lord.” Who among us can understand these words? Who feels like this, once in a while? Or maybe even, more often than that? I know that many challenges, obstacles, or troubles come into my life on a periodic basis, and I can feel like I am in up to my neck. Maybe, even, over my head. Help, God!

What about people who have some form of mental illness, or emotional or psychological affliction? It can be depression, the deepest, darkest anguish. I can speak to that, from personal experience. I have cried to the Lord out of the depths of my darkest night, on a number of occasions, for long stretches of time.

I have clutched at the words of Scripture with a death grip.

I have knelt (either figuratively or literally), and reached for the tassel on Jesus’ garments. Oh, if I can only touch the edge of His cloak, perhaps that will be enough of a connection! Yes, the Psalms zero in on very human, foundational emotion. In many ways!

The Psalms not only tell of sadness, grief, despair and anger, but they also express prayers of intense worship as well as shouts of joy and triumph.

For anyone who wishes to try a straight-forward, centuries-old practice, you can read a Psalm a day. (For the longer Psalms, like Psalm 119, they certainly can be broken up into several days’ readings.) It is refreshingly simple, and you don’t even need a special prayer book or bible study guide. As we read, we can talk with God about the emotions we see as we read, and pray the words of the Psalms, as we are so moved.

Powerful words, poignant prayers. Just a suggestion. As Rev. Howell tells us, the Psalms “express in profound ways our relationship to God. . . . they can help to know ourselves honestly, and to pray honestly before God.” [1]

God willing, the Psalms will help me—will help us to see our true selves. So, help me, God.


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blog, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.

[1] James C. Howell, The Beautiful Work of Learning to Pray, Abingdon Press (Nashville, TN: 2003), 43-44.

Waiting in silence

A few days ago, one of the passages I meditated on in prayer was the beginning of Psalm 62. I don’t always pray with a specific passage of Scripture in mind, but recently I’ve been using a method of prayer called Benedictine Rumination. (ruminating or chewing repetitively on Scripture—I’ll have to talk more about that, soon)

I was struck by the first part of the first verse of Psalm 62. “For God alone my soul waits in silence.” Wow. I’ll say it again. Wow!

Sometimes, when I encourage my mind, body and spirit to enter into prayer, I feel myself sinking into prayer. This particular prayer time was one of those times. Leaving behind the hurry, the hustle and bustle, the noise, everything distracting or worrisome. I felt a welcome from God, and the gentle silence. Open, friendly, peaceful presence.

Sadly, I was not able to stay there during the whole prayer time. However, I had experienced it for part of it. I knew it was there. I was able to tap into that warm presence, that gentle silence, for some of the time. I really needed it! I sure could use it on a regular basis, God!

I understand that silence is something that makes some people uncertain. Even anxious. Not me. (that is, usually) But I have a difficult time getting there. Your warm, gracious welcoming arms are waiting for me, I know. Thanks for being there. And thanks for being warm and welcoming, instead of cold and distant.

Let’s pray. Dear God, sometimes it’s difficult to enter into prayer, much less break into Your gentle silence. Please help me to leave worry, anxiety and hurry behind. Forgive me for focusing on sad things, angry feelings, and hurt places in my life. I know Your presence is waiting. Thanks for making Your warm, gracious silence available, any time I need it. Any time I want it. Thanks, God. Amen.