week 1 (trek 3): put a psalm in my heart

Following are my sentence prayers stirred up by this week’s readings in our third trip through the Psalms this year:

Tuesday

Psalm 1 – Lord, let my study of your Law, and my obedience of your Law, always be one to me. (vs.2)

Psalm 2 – Lord, may I never cease to serve you with fear and trembling; never so full of myself that I do not bow to you. (vs.11)

Psalm 3 – Ever restore my courage and grant me fearless sleep, Lord, fearless sleep. (vs.3,5-6)

Psalm 4 – You alone, Lord, keep me perfectly safe, with joy and peace. (vs.7-8)

Psalm 5 – Make your way plain for me to follow, Lord. (vs.8)

Wednesday

Psalm 6 – When I grow impatient to hear from you and see your help, Lord, may my faith in you not fail. (vs.3b,8b-9)

Psalm 7 – Justice is what you demand, Lord, so may I ever do the right thing by all others. (vs.6b)

Psalm 8 – Never let the wonder of you that can be seen in this world be unseen by me, Lord. (vs.9)

Thursday

Psalm 9 – You rule, Lord, forever! (vs.7)

Psalm 10 – Break the power of wicked and evil people, Lord! (vs.15)

Psalm 11 – You see it all in all of us, Lord; you see it all. (vs.4)

Friday

Psalm 12 – Help me take your promises to the bank that is my heart, Lord. (vs.6)

Psalm 13 – When questions about you cloud my mind, Lord, may my singing to you clear the air. (vs.1-2,6)

Psalm 14 – We’re all in the same boat, Lord, and so may I never forget. (vs.2-3)

Saturday

Psalm 15 – May my practice be as good as my promises, Lord. (vs.4)

Psalm 16 – As my future is always in your hands, Lord, grant me this: that I may perceive and feel your steadfast, loving grip on me in each moment. (vs.5)

Psalm 17 – When you come to me at night and examine me completely, Lord, may I be filled with joy, not shame. (vs.3,15)

day 1 (trek 2): put a psalm in my heart

We’ve completed our first sixty-day trek with the Psalms and today we begin our second walk with them by reading Psalm 1-5. As we invest ourselves in the Psalms this time, let me encourage you to do three things.

First, utilize a Bible translation that you didn’t use on your first pass and deliberately select one you’re not accustomed to using a great deal. For example, I made use of the NIV these past two months so, in the coming two months (Mar.-Apr.) I’ll make use of the ESV. Freshness and insight will be your benefits. You have much to gain and nothing to lose by such an exercise.

Second, make use of a physical, paper Bible and/or make use of journal. This is especially pertinent if you’re in the habit of accessing the Biblical text in a digital/electronic format. This will give you a tangible experience and will enable you to get a little artsy for the sake of memory.

How so? Select a single matter to sketch from each palm you read. That’s right, underline or circle a key word or phrase in every psalm and then draw a very basic, simple illustration in the margin beside that psalm or in your journal. Nothing elaborate; we’re talking something that will take only a few seconds. Then think of this sketch as something of a “hook” that you’re going to mentally “hang this psalm from” and so, when you think of or see that matter in real life, you’ll think of this psalm and some of its contents. Don’t worry about what it looks like; this is just for you. Hey, I do well just to draw stick figures – I have zero art skills! – but, I’m doing this exercise. Our scratching things out might be crude, but they will be effective.

For example, since we read Psalm 1-5 today, I’ll be sketching the following: Ps. 1 – a tree (1.3), Ps. 2 – a rod of iron (2.9), Ps. 3 – a shield (3.3), Ps. 4 – a bed (4.4), and Ps. 5 – a pair of eyes (5.5).

You can choose these same or pick your own, of course. Which word/phrase you select is not nearly so important as your actually doing the exercise so as to help engrave the psalm’s message on your heart.

Third, work the whole of the day with your reading. That is, just as I’ve long encouraged you to do some of your reading at the start and the close of each day, continue doing so, but now remind yourself frequently throughout the day of your “hook words” and sketches. Each time you do so, let something you recall from any of the day’s reading to wash over you for a moment; baste yourself in its juices. You’ll find this to be refreshing for your heart as well as stimulating for your mind.

Enjoy!

day 1 – put a psalm in my heart

MoSt Church’s Bible reading project for 2018 is this: read and reflect on all 150 psalms in 60 days. Repeat that 5x (Jan.-Oct.). Today is Day 1.

Today’s reading is Psalm 1-5. Try this: read Ps. 1-2 when you get up, Ps. 3 at mid-day, and Ps. 4-5 at bedtime. Here are four brief notes:

[1] Psalm 1-2 are two strong pillars of introduction into the house of Psalms. Ps. 1 uses a macro lens, zooming in on two (very different!) individuals. Ps.2 uses a wide-angle lens, viewing all of humankind.

[2] Psalm 3-5 are the first three prayers in the Psalms. All three are of the same type, the most common kind found in the psalms, namely of someone crying out (lament) to God about deep trouble(s) in their life. They candidly lay out their problems to God and yet, often go on to express faith and confidence in him, usually counting some of their blessings along the way.

[3] In Psalm 3 the person praying is troubled by the number and significance of those who stand against him as enemies. In Psalm 4-5 the problem is the same – enemies are not in short supply – but, now the trouble is described more fully: people are spreading lies and falsehoods about the psalmist. It is not hard for any of us to identify with such prayers at some time or another in our life.

[4] Do not fail to note some of the great words of confidence in the final three psalms (3.4-6; 4.8; 5.11-12). I’d encourage you to review all of those verses together as a single, continuous reading just before you close your eyes to go to sleep tonight. 🙂

Here’s a Psalm 1-5 (NIV) to all of today’s reading and reflection.