For the month of April I did a daily observance of praying and reading of Psalms, using Trevin Wax’s prayer guide titled “Psalms in 30 Days.”
This was one of the best things I did during this pandemic. Since I spent a majority of the last seven weeks at home, the schedule helped me observe the regular reading. Now, I’m planning to do this for the rest of the year.
For this week’s DHD, here are six takeaways from my daily observance of “praying through the psalter.”
- What people said about the Psalms
Wax offers a great introduction, mentioning what many have said about reading through Psalms.
He quoted Tim Keller who wrote, “There are other prayers in the Bible, but no other place where you have an entire course of theology in prayer form, and no other place where you have every possible heart condition represented, along with the way to process that situation before God.”
I was excited to read a comment from songwriter Michael Card. I haven’t heard any mention of Card since my college years, and I loved listening to his music, especially because all his songs are Scripturally-based.
“The Psalms are a connection for us,” Card said. “When I’m lamenting, I may feel disconnected from God. The Psalms express that experience. When I’m joyful, the psalms give me language to connect to that joy and remember that it comes from God. He never slumbers. He never sleeps. In the end, the psalms provide for every need, all those misconnections, all the things we’re hungry for, all the correctives we need to remind us that life isn’t about us, but is really all about him. The Psalms are a bottomless resource for all the things we need.”
Don’t overlook that last sentence. That’s a great summary.
- Three times a day
What is great about how “Psalms in 30 Days” is laid out is it helps me to pray more frequently throughout the day. When I thinking about doing the daily Psalm reading and praying, my pastor came to mind. He wrote an article titled, “Becoming a person of prayer.”
“What would happen if I prayed more and did other things less?” Pastor Stephen Rummage asked. His article was a good challenge for me.
Praying through the Psalms helped me do just that. The daily reading is designed with a morning prayer, a midday prayer and an evening prayer. This makes it easier to read many of those longer Psalms, including Psalm 119, which is considered the longest passage in the entire Bible.
Praying three times a day also reminded me of Daniel who had such a practice (Dan. 6:10).
- Prayers of others and other elements
Each prayer time in “30 Days” follows a specific pattern. It opens with a Call to Prayer, which is a Bible verse that usually puts the reader in the mindset of addressing God directly.
In the morning prayers, there’s a Confession of Faith, which can be a Bible passage or a popular Christian reading, like the Apostles Creed. In the evening prayers, there’s a Confession of Sin, which reflects a passage that calls the reader to observe repentance. The midday prayer is shorter and doesn’t have as much content as the morning and evening prayers.
The prayer pattern also features a Canticle, which is a musical passage of worship. Then the prayer will feature the reading of Psalms, which is not exactly the Psalms read in order. To make it more constructive and applicable for the reader, there will be Psalms from different parts of the book. This also makes it helpful proportionately to read for each prayer time.
Following the reading of the Psalms, the reader will find the same passage titled “Gloria,” which is a simple wording, giving glory to the Trinity. This is followed by The Lord’s Prayer in every reading. This may seem redundant and monotonous, but I find it helpful for me to remember that I am actually praying to God. The Lord’s Prayer gives me structure.
The prayers end with a Prayer for the Church, quoting other Christians and fathers of the faith. Martin Luther, Augustine, Charles Wesley and John Stott are just some of the well-known Christian leaders whose written prayers are mentioned. I love this section.
Each prayer time is ended with a Blessing, which is another favorite section.
- How I observe each prayer time
I downloaded “Psalms in 30 Days” to my laptop. Since it’s quite a lengthy book, I write down the page number in my daily planner of where I ended that prayer time, so I can type it in for the next one. Then I don’t have to take so much time scrolling.
Writing down the page also is a way for me to remember to pray every day.
- What it did for me
As I said, this was the best routine I observed during the pandemic. Just like many can attest a daily Quiet Time is helpful, this prayer observance allowed me to keep my focus on God, and He also guided me through every prayer time.
I remember on April 7 (I wrote this down in my planner) that I was really struggling with how people were divisive in responding to COVID-19. People were adamant about staying at home for months, while others were persistent on getting back to being in public and going back to work.
In the evening prayer that day I found the verse Psalm 37:8, “Refrain from anger and give up your rage; do not be agitated—it can only bring harm.” God gave me a peace, overcoming the tension, fear and outrage caused by this pandemic.
- How to obtain it
If you would be interested in doing “Psalms in 30 Days,” check out what Trevin Wax wrote about it in his March 31 article
You can also visit www.csbible.com/psalmsin30 to get the free download.
I hope you will find this reading as helpful as I did.