Tips for Praying With the Psalms

The Book of Psalms contains 150 psalms (or sung prayers) which have been used in communal worship and private devotion by God’s people for thousands of years; first among the Jews and now by Christians as well.   The psalms are prayers inspired by the Holy Spirit  corresponding to the wide spectrum of human experience:  joy and sorrow; triumph and defeat; contrition, thanksgiving, and praise.

Is it OK to question God and complain to him in prayer? Is it acceptable to tell the Lord how unhappy or angry you feel? The psalms show that God welcomes such prayers. He knows our only alternative to coming to him for help and healing is to stuff or deny these feelings, letting them to embitter or depress us.

Sometimes a particular psalm may not resonate with my spirit at the moment. For example, how can I benefit from a psalm lamenting a betrayal when all is well in my own life? I can pray such psalms as an intercessor for those experiencing such trials and unite my heart to theirs. Another way to pray each psalm with a new richness comes from the realization that these prayers were well-known and often offered by Jesus and Mary. This Lent, try praying the psalms through their eyes.

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