The Ask Pastor John podcast is regular resource in our home. This fall, two episodes (not by John Piper) convinced me of focusing on the Psalms in our family worship this year.
Tedd Tripp on Family Worship
When parenting expert Tedd Tripp explained the why and what of family worship I was struck with the simplicity of it all. It was deep, long, or complicated. When he described his approach all he said was, "I want to read, sing, and pray." About memorization Tripp said, "We found it was very easy to memorize with the kids simply by reading the passage everyday. If you read it every day, within two weeks your kids have it memorized.." We don't need to overthink family worship, prayer, or memory. We just need to do it.
The whole six-minute episode worth listening to.
Tim Keller on Praying the Psalms
The Ask Pastor John podcast featured several interviews with Tim Keller on prayer. Keller's explanation of praying psalms was particularly insightful:
Your new book is clear: a profitable prayer life is impossible without solitude, but it’s also impossible without God’s word. You explain a time in your life when you were driven by desperation to pray, and so you opened the Psalms and prayed through them. Explain how you did this and what you learned from this season.
I am glad to talk about that. I came to see that the Psalms are extremely important for prayer. Perhaps that is because I read a book some years ago by Eugene Peterson called Answering God. He makes a strong case that we only pray well if we are immersed in Scripture. We learn our prayer vocabulary the way children learn their vocabulary — that is, by getting immersed in language and then speaking it back. And he said the prayer book of the Bible is the Psalms, and our prayer life would be immeasurably enriched if we were immersed in the Psalms. So that was the first step. I realized I needed to do that, but I didn’t know how.
Then I spent a couple of years studying the Psalms. At one point, I realized that there were a fair number of the Psalms that seemed repetitious or difficult to understand, so I couldn’t use them in prayer. So I decided to work through all 150 of them. I used Derek Kidner’s little commentaries on the Psalms (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries), Alec Motyer’s commentary on the Psalms (The New Bible Commentary, 21st century edition), and Michael Wilcock’s commentaries on the Psalms (Bible Speaks Today).
I worked through all 150 Psalms and wrote a small outline and a small description of what I thought the Psalm was basically about, and key verses that I thought were useful for prayer. Using nine-point font, I basically broke out all 150 Psalms on about 20 pages, which I now use in the morning when I pray.
Read the rest of the interview here.