The following post was sent to me by Alex Tang in Malaysia. Alex is a physician who blogs at Random Musings from a Doctor where this post first appeared. I thought that it was a great sample of some of the many ways that we can use the psalms to pray. I have particularly enjoyed rewriting the psalms in my own language and have added one at the end of the post that I thought you might enjoy. It is actually a compilation of several scriptures which is usually the way that I tend to write this kind of prayer – after all there are no rules to follow here
May I suggest five ways we can pray the Psalms.
1. Say them out loud
One effective way to pray the Psalms is to read them out loud. Many of the Psalms are meant to be read in public assembly. Reading out loud not only helps you to proclaim the psalms, it also enables you to hear it. Speaking and listen are important aspect of prayers.
2. Use them as a jumping off platform
As you read the psalms, read it slowly and use the words, phrases, sentences as a platform to launch into your own prayers. After you have finished, then go back to where you left of and continue reading. Again launch off as you felt let to pray around the words or theme in the psalms. For example in Psalm 23:3, when you read “he restores my soul…” you might want to pray about your spiritual life, your present struggles and appeal for his intervention.
3. Paraphrase them
Rewrite the psalms in your own words. When you paraphrase the psalm, you are interacting with you seek to understand the main points and to express it your way. It also helps to paraphrase in your own language if English is not your first language.
4. Memorise them
Memorising parts or whole psalms are another way to pray them. Repeat the psalms you have memorized continually and he begin to understand what St.Paul means when he asks us to praying unceasingly. Using memorized portion or whole of the psalms in your prayer is useful when you do not know what to say when you pray. Sometimes you will find that the psalmist can express your needs better than you can say it.
5. Let them talk to you
Use the spiritual discipline of lectio divina to read the psalms during your prayer and let the psalms speak to you. Lectio divina or spiritual reading involves reading, meditating, praying and contemplating. These four movements help us to listen to the psalms and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to us.
These are some of the ways you can pray the psalms.
God I am weary, storm tossed and not comforted
Filled with the pain of TV images and broken lives
I cannot forget tsunamis in Asia, hurricanes in New Orleans
Droughts and AIDS in Africa, war in Iraq
Then I remember your compassion
Your unfailing love that is never shaken
Your covenant of peace that is always with us
I remember love and faithfulness go before you
Righteousness and justice are the foundations of your throne
God in the midst of pain you comfort me
I stand secure because you are with me
Your faithfulness springs forth from the earth
Your righteousness looks down from heaven
Praise to God on high