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Pray the Psalms!

New resource available here.

I'm always trying to convince people to read the Bible. (I'm also always trying to convince people to read The Lord of the Rings, but read the Bible first, okay?)

It's daunting at first. The Ethiopian eunuch had many questions about the part of Isaiah he was reading (Acts 8). That's why God sends preachers.

But if we actually believe in the priesthood of all believers that Luther talked about, then it's every Christian's duty to read the Scriptures and pray. God wants His people to mature. That's why He doesn't let Adam and Eve see Him all the time in the Garden of Eden. That's why Jesus heals the blind man in John 9 and then disappears before the former blind man can actually see Him. Helicopter parenting doesn't produce maturity.

Augustine said that he who sings prays twice. Reading the Psalms also plays double duty - it's reading the Scriptures and praying at the same time. It's Christian maturity 101. If your goal is to read the whole Bible, that's great, and that's what I want every Christian to do. But I encourage you to read the Psalms differently than the rest of the Bible. Don't sit down and blitz through all 150 of them like you might sit down and read through 1 and 2 Kings.

What you need is a Psalm Plan. The link at the top will bring you to the one I've been using for years. There's probably a better plan out there. All I did was take the plan from our hymnal and Study Bible and insert a noon slot for the Psalms that were missing.

If you're wondering what in the world is happening with Christmas, let me explain. Psalm 119 is the longest Psalm (176 verses!). Every verse has a reference/synonym for God's Word, and Christmas is all about the Word becoming flesh and dwelling among us.

Which leads me to two last things - first, read the Word out loud. It'll cause you to slow down and digest more what you're praying. Second, think, "Where is Jesus in this Psalm?" He's there somewhere. Jesus is on every page of the Bible, both Old and New Testament.

This morning, the plan had us pray Psalm 97. "The Lord reigns!" (v 1). Well, duh, we just celebrated Him defeating death yesterday! "His lightnings light up the world!" (v 4) In Matthew's Easter account, the angel's appearance is described as lightning (Matt 28:3), which is a reflection of God on His throne (Rev 4;5; 8:5). "Fire goes before him and burns up his adversaries all around" (v 3). This has us anticipating Pentecost, when God will once again send fire upon His altar, but this time, the altar isn't made of bronze. You are the altar. You are the Temple of the Holy Spirit. But we are not God's adversaries as Psalm 97 describes - we are His ambassadors. We can be on fire and not consumed like the burning bush. Our God is a consuming fire. May we be on fire for Him, and pray the Psalms with all zeal, awaiting His second coming.

Alleluia, Christ has risen!


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