June 21st update from David Bridges

June 21st update from David Bridges

Greetings in Christ’s name!

Someone approached me Sunday after worship and said, “I need some ‘how to’ about praying the Psalms.  How exactly do you pray them?”  I don’t know whether there is a right or wrong way, but the way I have prayed the Psalms is to simply read them as my own prayers.  I often read prayers that others have written—some of my favorites are Walter Brueggemann’s books of prayers.  A couple years ago I bought the Notre Dame Book of Prayer (you’re probably not surprised) and read many of those prayers as a part of my devotional routines.  Of course, I pray in my own words as well, but often I find that written prayers help me express things to God that I had not thought of, or help me express my feelings more beautifully or articulately than I might have on my own. 

The same is true for how I pray the Psalms.  I try to pray 5 Psalms most mornings, simply reading them as if they were my own words and directing them toward God.  Through the years I’ve prayed the Psalms from several English translations, but I keep coming back to The Message and find that paraphrase employs the kinds of words, syntaxes and phrases that are common in my every-day way of speaking.  Of course, there are times when I’m uncomfortable with some of those prayers.  Several of the Psalms express the wish that God would destroy enemies, which is the opposite of how Jesus told us to pray for and act toward our enemies.  But most often I find that the Psalms are prayers that give me the kind of language to express myself to God authentically—they are most often words that I can pray whole-heartedly.  I wonder if some of you have experience praying the Psalms and would be willing to share with me what you’ve learned or how you have prayed?  If so, let me know and perhaps I’ll be able to share your experiences with others when I’m asked questions about how to pray the Psalms.

This Week:

In worship this next Sunday we’ll pray for our upcoming Vacation Bible School as well as welcome a new member to our church.  Katelyn Sanders will be sharing about the impact of the youth camps we participate in and how it has changed her and the many students who attend camps in June.  I’m looking forward to meaningful worship that will encourage and sustain those who participate.

The following Sunday (July 3) we’ll celebrate VBS and also honor Janet Black for directing 20 years of VBS.  A meal will be served following worship that day to which you’re all invited.  We’ll likely have several visitors present and I hope you’ll come looking for visitors, introducing yourselves to them and doing your best to make them feel welcome.  VBS Sunday gives us an opportunity to meet people from our community, celebrate their children and welcome them all to our church.  Let’s do our best that day to embrace those who worship with us, demonstrating God’s love for them and their children. 

May God’s love fill you this week and empower you to love your neighbors as yourselves.  Go with God, who fuels our hopes and quiets our fears.  Everywhere. Always. 

Peace,

David Bridges

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