Psalms Help You Get Real – Warts and All
Key Bible Verse: I pour out my complaints before him and tell him all my troubles. For I am overwhelmed. – Psalm 142: 2-3
Bonus Reading: Psalm 142:1-7
The Psalms are an extended refutation of the widespread notion that prayer is “being nice” before God, politely raising our hand when we have a question about what he’s teaching us.
Prayer, the Psalms shows us, is something quite different. It’s engaging God. And that, at least in its initial stages, is more like a quarrel than a conventional greeting, more like a wrestling match than a warm embrace.
After all, this isn’t a neat and tidy world in which we’re in control—and that scares us. It’s not a dream world in which everything works out according to our adolescent expectations. There’s suffering, poverty, and abuse at which we cry out in pain and indignation, “You can’t let this happen!”
Using the Psalms as a school of prayer, we get a feel for how to bring our lives into attentive and worshiping response to God as he speaks to us. As we do this, we begin to realize that in prayer anything goes.
Virtually nothing human is excluded as appropriate material for prayer: reflections and observations, fear and anger, guilt and sin, questions and doubts, needs and desires, praise and gratitude, suffering and death. Prayer is an offering of ourselves, just as we are.
—Eugene Peterson in Eat This Book
My Response: When was the last time I prayed an honest, intense, from-the-heart prayer?
Adapted from Devotional Ventures (Regal, 2006)
Prayer for the Week: Thank You, Lord, for psalms that show how a man after Your own heart approached You. Help me learn from them.