Salvation is the soul-healing process which transforms our disordered thoughts, feelings and desires. It is a process of being united with the Trinity and becoming like Jesus. Prayer is an important component of the process.
Arguably, the ancient prayer book is the Bible, with a focus on the psalms. On the St. Andrew's parish Facebook account we are providing meditations on some of the psalms and readings assigned for Morning Prayer in the Daily Office. The church assigns particular scriptures to each day of the year, which provides a daily worship experience. This practice goes back to the Jewish worship before Christ and is much influenced by the monastic prayer practices of the early and medievel church. St Benedict is a fundamental influence on the Anglican and Roman traditions.
Would you like to go deeper and encounter God? I offer the "triple prayer" approach to psalms.
Simply pray the psalm. Consciously pray to God, but also listen to the revelation from God. Take your time to hear. This connects you to the psalm.
Pray the psalm with Israel in mind. How would the experience of the Jews shape the meaning of the words? Think also of the church in mind. How does our corporate (sinners and saints, evil and good) experience interact with the words? This connects you to the people of God.
Pray the psalm with and in Jesus. Hear the words in His mouth as He prays it (He actually did pray psalms, including during the crucifixion). What do the words mean in the context of His life? This connects you to God Incarnate.
This is obviously easier with some psalms than others. Sometimes you might just want to prayerfully read the psalm. Then read it again looking for repeated words or themes, analyzing the structure and hearing its meaning. The third time you simply, ask what God is revealing to your mind and heart?
But by way of example, hear these words from Psalm 23: "The Lord is my shepherd."
For a Jew in the exile of Babylon, or in the courts of the Temple in Solomon's reign.
A Jew persecuted by Christians or dying in the Nazi concentration camps.
A desert monk in quiet or a parishioner in a bustling parish.
In peace time abundance or the struggles of war and famine.
Jesus on the mountain teaching, or Jesus on the cross dying.
I think you get it. The psalms have been prayed for thousands of years by millions and millions of people in a wide variety of contexts. One person, Jesus, prayed them perfectly, the rest of us do our best. It is good to pray with all believers and best to pray in and through Him. Open your heart to receive the psalms and ask the Holy Spirit to bless you as you pray the psalms. You will find a great depth and beauty there!
A reminder to check out our sermon section for more material at standrewscollierville.org or on the app.
St Andrews Facebook will have videos of teaching as well.