Welcome to Week 15 of Praying through the Psalms.
The leaders in the Oklahoma annual conference have asked all members to read and pray through the book of Psalms. Why the Psalms? The Psalms are a therapeutic hymnal. A range of emotions are expressed in the sometime short, other times lengthy worshipful pieces of poetry and prose. The Psalms comprised the worship book for the Jewish tradition. What do these Psalms say to us today? Allow the Holy Spirit to move within your heart and speak to you anew as you reflect on these passages.
In 1974, Henri Nouwen took a seven month retreat to the Abbey of the Genesee, a monastery in upstate New York where he was fully immersed in the daily life of the monks. Governed by the Rule of St. Benedict, they prayed through the entire book of Psalms every week. This monastic rhythm of work and prayer, ora et labora, had a profound effect on Nouwen. On August 2, 1974, he recorded some reflections on praying the Psalms in his Genesee Diary:
“Slowly these words enter into the center of my heart. They are more than ideas, images, comparisons: They become a real presence. After a day with much work or with many tensions, you feel that you can let go in safety and realize how good it is to dwell in the shelter of the Most High. Many times I have thought: If I am ever sent to prison, if I am ever subjected to hunger, pain, torture, or humiliation, I hope and pray that they let me keep the Psalms. The Psalms will keep my spirit alive, the Psalms will allow me to comfort others, the Psalms will prove the most powerful, yes, the most revolutionary weapon against the oppressor and torturer. How happy are those who no longer need books but carry the Psalms in their heart wherever they are and wherever they go. Maybe I should start learning the Psalms by heart so that nobody can take them away from me. Just to be able to say over and over again:
O men, how long will your hearts be closed,will you love what is futile and false?It is the Lord who grants favors to those whom he loves;the Lord hears me whenever I call him. — Ps. 4
That is a prayer that really can heal many wounds.”
Monday – Read Psalm 97
Tuesday – Read Psalm 98
Wednesday – Read Psalm 99
Thursday – Read Psalm 100
Friday – Read Psalm 101
Saturday – Read Psalm 102
Sunday – Read Psalm 103
Pray and reflect on what you have read each day. How does it speak to us today?