Psalms DAY 1

DAY 1 - Honest Prayers

Psalm 8:1

Sometimes you can sing what you can’t say. In the 2010 film, The King’s Speech, King George VI learns to overcome his stutter by singing what he wants to say. This unusual speech therapy unlocked his voice in a way he couldn’t imagine.

You might not volunteer to pray in front of your small group, but you’ll belt out a song in the car by yourself. I wonder if that’s why the most profound prayer book ever written is actually a songbook. It’s hiding in the middle of your Bible: the Book of Psalms. 

It’s easy for us today to forget that the Psalms are not just prayers but poetry and not just poetry but songs. We long ago lost the actual music but there are still clues in your Bible. Today’s psalm, #8, actually starts with “For the director of music. According to gittith.” “Gittith” is probably a melody. It’s like saying, “Sing this to the tune of ‘Happy Birthday.’” Psalms 120-134 were sang as pilgrims walked uphill into Jerusalem for worship. The odd indentation of phrases in the Book of Psalms is a visual clue to us English readers that these are Hebrew poetry.

The Psalms are songs but they’re also prayers. And let’s be honest: they’re weird prayers! They’re not nice and neat, they talk about things we don’t talk about, and they say things that we might wonder, “Um, can I really pray that?” That’s because the Psalms teach us that “proper prayers” are HONEST prayers. The Psalms teach us how to bring every part of ourselves to God. That means sometimes saying, “Thank you, God.” Sometimes it means screaming, “Why, God?” 

We’re going to explore five kinds of Psalms over five weeks. Those five kinds are psalms of lament, thanks, wisdom, trust, and today’s focus, psalms of praise. Together they teach us how to pray with wisdom and honesty. Together, they form a prayer soundtrack for our lives.

When do you sing? How do you feel when you sing? Does singing help you express things it’s hard to say?

Thank you, Father, for my voice and the ability to sing. Thank you for the ability to pray. Teach me how to pray through this songbook, the Psalms. Amen.

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