Praying the Psalm’s – a confession! by Peter Corney
As a young man at theological college I found the discipline of the daily chapel services and the saying of the psalms sometimes a chore, sometimes boring, and sometimes a blessing.
Full of energy, impatient to rescue the world, more an activist than given to reflection or meditation the daily saying of the psalms mostly went past me, although sometimes the depth of their cries to God arrested even me!
But like all good disciplines their daily repetition meant their phrases seeped unconsciously into my mind. But to seep into my heart required something else – the experience of the inevitable difficulties, pain and disappointments of adult life and ministry. For the psalms are the cries of men and women who believe in God and are trying to serve Him in the ordinary challenges and often unanswered questions of life as well as its joy filled moments – the moments when Gods presence is felt like lightning or when He seems absent or silent.
They are the ancient yet constantly contemporary prayers of God’s people. They have been prayed for thousands of years by Jews and Christians. As a Christian I am immensely thankful for my ‘spiritual great grandparents’, the Children of Israel and for their preservation of these cries to God from the heart.
Even those awful imprecatory psalms where the prayer calls on God to curse and judge those who have taunted, wronged or hurt us, yes even they resonate! For those cries have been in my throat too in my darkest moments of self-pity, self-righteousness or anger, thoughts and feelings that, thank God, in the end drive me back to Christ on the cross bearing my sins and the suffering and evil and violence we are capable of inflicting on one another. Drawing me to cry out for forgiveness and the strength to love and forgive those who treated me badly or unjustly as Jesus commanded and to leave the judgement in God’s hands.
The psalms are not for the spiritually faint hearted!