Pray the Psalms!

Today is Thursday, March 23, 2017. Eleven days until Opening Day!

Quote of the Day

“The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread.” ~ Mother Teresa

Word of the Day

Throttlebottom ~ a harmless incompetent in public office. Please note the word “harmless.”

Today is Chip and Dip Day. I love chips and dip! So many good kinds of dips, too. Salsa, queso, guacamole . . . wait . . . I see a pattern emerging, here.

C had a good time visiting with her friend, last night, and I had a good time playing Mass Effect: Andromeda. S and I had Lee’s Grilled Cheese for dinner, which, as always, was delicious. I discovered, last night, however, that I definitely do NOT need to order the “large” order of fries. Holy cow. I don’t think I even ate half of them!

We don’t have anything planned for this evening, but tomorrow night we will have a gathering with the worship team members. No plans for this weekend, either. In six days, R has a birthday. We might be getting together on April 2 for that. We aren’t sure yet. April 1 is our next Night of Worship, though, which is a week from Saturday.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Worship the LORD in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!
Psalm 96:9
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah.
Psalm 67:1
Seven times a day I praise you for your righteous rules.
Psalm 119:164
May integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for you.
Psalm 25:21
Now great crowds accompanied him, and he turned and said to them, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.
Luke 14:25-27
Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers! 
For they will soon fade like the grass and wither like the green herb. 
Trust in the LORD, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. 
Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. 
Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. 
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday. 
Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him;

Psalm 37:1-7
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon me.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, have mercy upon me.
O Lamb of God, that takes away the sins of the world, grant me your peace.

(From Living the Message)

For many years, now, Psalms has been my favorite book of the Bible. And recently, over the last couple of years, I have become more and more convinced that we should be praying the Psalms on a regular basis. We should be praying them, both in and out of our worship gatherings. Eugene H. Peterson’s reading today focuses on that necessity.

He begins by quoting St. Pius X, who said, “The Psalms teach mankind, especially those vowed to a life of worship, how God is to be praised.” There is a great need, especially for pastors, a need so great that there is too much at stake for pastors “to pick and choose a curriculum of prayer as they are more or less inclined.” (Reminds me of a book that I read recently, God’s Prayer Program.) He compares it to allowing a physician to create medications from herbs and weeds in his own back yard.

“Prayer must not be fabricated out of emotional fragments or professional duties. Uninstructed and untrained, our prayers are something learned by tourists out of a foreign language book: we give thanks at meals, repent of the grosser sins, bless the Rotary picnic, and ask for occasional guidance. Did we think prayer was merely a specialized and incidental language to get by on during those moments when we happened to pass through religious country?”

Prayer is something that should involve our entire lives. And there is a desperate need for us to be fluent in the language. “Praying the Psalms, we find fragments of soul and body, our own and all those with whom we have to do, spoken into adoration and love and faith.” It is not just for pastors, but pastors most definitely should be immersed in them.

St. Ambrose described the Psalms as “a sort of gymnasium for the use of all souls, a sort of stadium of virtue, where different sorts of exercise are set out before him, from which he can choose the best suited to train him to win his crown.”

. . . you thrill to GOD’s Word, you chew on Scripture day and night.
Psalm 1:2 (The Message)

O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger. When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him? Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

And these words, I pray for everyone who might read this today:

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

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