The Psalms: Use Them, Don't Just Read Them

When I pray I have this problem, but I’m certain no one else has this problem.  I’m sure no one else can relate this problem.

I get distracted. 

I start with a great list of praises, requests, and confessions, that God would certainly be impressed with.  Then I make it officially seven seconds into my prayer before… Squirrel!  I’m distracted.  “Lord, you are amazing; You are all I need to satisfy me!”  Hmmmm….Snickers satisfies.  A snack sounds good right now.

But let’s say I don’t get distracted.  I'm in the zone.  I have the focus.  I feel like I could be in the Olympics with my focus… if only I knew what to say.

One of the greatest truths I’ve learned in the last few years is this:  Psalms are meant to be used, not just heard.  Psalms are not just the songs and prayers of others.  They are our songs, and our prayers.  When we find ourselves distracted or confused they offer us the words to pray.  They instruct and shape the words, requests of our prayers.  If only we would use them and not just read them!

O how I want to always learn how to sing praise to God and my children to learn how to pray!  I want to teach them rich, Scripture-filled praises to God.  I want to teach my children (and myself!) how to pray.  How to confess sin.  How to  pray when afraid.  Or frustrated.  Or sad.  Or worried.  

So this year our family and many of our church friends are going spend a lot of our Bible time in the Psalms.  We want Psalms to to permeate our prayers and train our minds.  Here’s what it looks like in our house. We pick a family psalm for about three weeks.  Each day—sometimes multiples times per day—we read the psalm together, incorporating it into meals and prayer time.  After about a week my children have it memorized.  After a couple weeks so do I.  Along the way, I’m trying to provide simple homework questions for the kids, projects, and resources.  So check back often for more resources on the Psalms.