READ PSALM ONE
When I was young, the word “liturgy” wasn’t in my vocabulary. When I first encountered the word in college, it represented to me dry and empty religious rituals. In my mind, “liturgical” faith was faith that went through the motions without much thought, and brought to my imagination images of priests and incense and candles in spaces where faith had already run dry.
And while liturgy can encompass that kind of mindless faith practice, the word carries a fundamental meaning that is much broader than that. “Liturgy” is simply the word we use to describe formative habits. Generally used to refer to a religious or spiritual practice, our liturgies are the things we do every single day because of what we believe. These habits can be intentional and overt, or subtle and subconscious, but one thing is for certain: we all have liturgies.
Recently, I was seeking God in prayer on a certain topic. The immediacy of my need quickly revealed how stale and flabby my prayer life had grown. I found that I had almost no endurance in prayer, no depth or substance to my time talking to God. Though I had the habit of praying every day, I routinely prayed for my daily concerns or presented God with surface-level requests. And somewhere along the line, I formed a new liturgy for myself of shallow, short, and selfish prayers.
The Psalms present to you and me a rich theology of prayer. Preserved for us in poetic form is a model of what the prayer life of the believer can and should look like. With its repetitive ways of presenting requests before God and submitting to His good and Kingly character, it teaches us what to pray and how to pray. Truly, the book of Psalms presents a liturgy for you and me. As it comes upon needs and passionately presents them to God, we quickly see the Psalmist bend a knee before God, humbly submitting to His character. We find it in many forms, but the liturgy is clear: supplication and surrender.
It is my prayer that this study in the book of Psalms will serve to develop in you and me an unflinching liturgy of supplication and surrender. When needs come to mind, might we instantly ask God for provision; and, when we do, might we instantly submit to whatever His will might be.
In the weeks that follow we will be looking at the Psalmist’s various areas of need that he presents to God – needs for help, salvation, righteousness, and peace. And we will also see him consistently turn to the character of God, reminding himself and others that surrendering to God’s unchanging character is our only hope.
Pray & Reflect:
Spend some time talking to God about your relationship with Him. Ask Him to reveal your current liturgy of prayer – Where is it weak? What bad habits have you formed? How has God grown you in prayer in the last year and last five years? Ask Him to prepare you to grow in your prayer life over the next eight weeks. Ask Him for some specific areas of growth.
P.S. If this is your first study with me, WELCOME! I’m so thrilled to have you here! You’ll find each day of study posted right here in your member account. New posts are posted at 3am EST Monday through Friday. You’ll want to grab your Bible and potentially a notebook or journal as you follow along. Need anything? I love emails! You can always reach me at email@example.com. Please know that I am praying for you every day as you spend time in God’s Word. Might your labor be fruitful and joyful.