Prayer book of the church – the Psalms

By Dave Henning / July 25, 2021

“The Psalms are the church’s prayer book [because] . . . they are the prayers of the people of God that find their fullest meaning in Christ’s own praying of them.  We now pray these in Christ and in the name of Christ, and in him those prayers can become our own. . . .  Christ’s prayers are the training ground to shape our own.”- Kyle Strobel and John Coe

In Chapter 4 (“What If God Wants My Heart of Sin and Pain?”) of Where Prayer Becomes Real, Kyle and John note that we all express assumptions about how God receives us when we pray.  Some picture God rejoicing and welcoming them into His presence.  Others, the authors suspect, view God as rolling His eyes when they come to Him in prayer.

Yet, in prayer God invites us to take an honest look at our brokenness, misguided desires, and unfulfilled longings.  We approach the throne of grace with one thing in mind.  But as God prays with us He unveils an entirely different reality about ourselves.  Something He wants us to know and offer to Him.  To proceed we must hold on to the good news of prayer.  For without that good news, it’s not possible to follow where Jesus calls us to go.

Therefore, Kyle and John note, we pray the Lord’s Prayer and the Psalms to form our own praying.  Thus, we learn what it means to pray to God the Father in Jesus’ name – as fellow children in the Spirit.  As we’re called out of ourselves we discover the place – and perhaps the words – that open the truth within our hearts to God.

Finally, in Life Together, Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote this about the Psalms:

“The child learns to speak because the parent speaks to the child.  The child learns the language of the parents.  So we learn to speak to God because God has spoken and speaks to us.  In the language of the Father in heaven God’s children learn to speak with God.  Repeating God’s own words, we begin to pray to God.”

Today’s question: When have you used the Psalms as a prayer book?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “A mirror to reflect our goodness – prayer?”

About the author

Dave Henning

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