Home > Articles > Hope from the Hill Country > "
 

/_.jpg" width=120 height=79 alt="" border=0 align=left hspace=5>Learning to Pray (Part 3):

by Lynn Anderson


    Among the first people to point me toward the prayer power of the Psalms was my friend, shepherd and Old Testament scholar, Dr. John T. Willis. Dr. Tony Ash enriched this understanding. Another friend, Randy Harris, later alerted me to the riches of reading the psalms aloud, and pointed out that by reading five psalms a day, we move though all one hundred fifty in a month. Then, Eugene Petersen in his book Answering God, provided me a sort of map for praying the psalms. For Petersen, most of the Bible is God’s word to us, but the Psalms are our divinely given answer back to God. For the guidance of these dear ‘Psalm pilgrims,’ I shall be forever grateful.

    For years now, I have intermittently ‘prayed the Psalms.’ But it was not until 1998 that two major speaking assignments nudged me into a yearlong, life-changing adventure with them. I was assigned four keynote messages on worship for the July 1999 Nashville Jubilee. Jerry Rushford also assigned me Psalm 23, for what he called, “the last Pepperdine lecture of the millennium,” April 99. My preparation took me through numerous volumes on worship. But, far more significantly — during 1998-99 I lived for a year in the Psalms, praying five psalms every day. I did not just run through them. I wallowed down into them, and most days, stayed there till ‘God showed up.’

    During that year of red-blooded adventure, I discovered several powerful values and advantages of praying the Psalms.

    One of the powerful advantages of the Psalms is that they help us speak the unspeakable. I discovered that the Psalms supply words for my tsunami level feelings when my own words fail me.

Poetry reaches its inspired best in the Psalms.
    The Psalms, after all, are poetry. And poetry does not aim to spell things out specifically or in linear sequence, nor in proposition. Rather, poetry gathers up inexpressibly gigantic things into sounds and suggestions and images, and launches them in the general direction of expression. Of course, for believers, poetry reaches its inspired best in the Psalms. Sometimes even the cadence, the sound of the Psalm, like the sound of music, engages soul-deep feelings, which cannot be expressed, in mere words.

    The famous ballerina, Anna Pavlova was once asked by an adoring fan, “Anna, when you danced, what were you saying.”

    Pavlova replied, “If I could tell you, I wouldn’t need to dance.”

    Classic worshippers of the centuries might say, “If I could say all of what I experience, I wouldn’t need the imagery, the poetry, and the sound of the Psalms.” In the subterranean geography of my world rumble passions which defy my feeble vocabulary and my bland imagery. The poetry of the Psalms often express these gargantuan feelings for me when nothing else can.

    Besides expressing the inexpressible, the Psalms also often surface enormously significant feelings I did not even know where there. They help put me in touch with buried issues. Of course this kind of help will not come out of a superficial reading of the Psalms — not even from the first few thoughtful readings. But given time, the Psalms begin to speak the unspeakable for us. Surely this is one huge reason God gave them to us. And one good reason to pray the psalms.

      Title: ""
      Author: Lynn Anderson
      Publication Date: September 19, 2001


 Share with Others  Related Heartlight Resources
_.html" onmouseover="window.status='View a simpler page format that works well with printers.'; return true" onmouseout="window.status=''; return true" title="Printer-friendly Version">Print This ArticlePrint this Article

_.html" target="note" onmouseover="window.status='Send this article to a friend.'; return true" onmouseout="window.status=''; return true" onclick="OpenNoteWindow('');" title="Send this article to a friend.">Send it to a FriendSend it to a Friend

DiscussDiscuss

 

Hope from the Hill Country
 
 
More articles like
this are in the

ARTICLE ARCHIVE

 

_.html" onmouseover="window.status='View a simpler page format that works well with printers.'; return true" onmouseout="window.status=''; return true" title="Printer-friendly Version">Print This ArticlePrint this Article

_.html" target="note" onmouseover="window.status='Send this article to a friend.'; return true" onmouseout="window.status=''; return true" onclick="OpenNoteWindow('');" title="Send this article to a friend.">Send it to a FriendSend it to a Friend

DiscussDiscuss

 Search



 

 
 
----
Today's Pick
Praying With The Psalms Praying With The Psalms
Eugene H. Peterson
----