Praying Through the Psalms

In his book, Life Together, Dietrich Bonhoeffer provides us with reasons as to why Christians should incorporate the Psalms  – all of them – into their prayer life.

Bonhoeffer writes,

And how shall we pray those psalms of unspeakable suffering, the meaning of which we have hardly begun to sense even remotely? We can and should pray the psalms of suffering, the psalms of the passion, not in order to generate in ourselves what our hearts do not know of their own experience, not to make our own laments, but because all this suffering was real and actual in Jesus Christ, because the Man Jesus Christ suffered sickness, pain, shame, and death, because in his suffering and death all flesh suffered and died. What happened to us on the Cross of Christ, the death of our old man, and what actually does happen and should happen to us ever since our baptism in the dying of our flesh, this is what gives us the right to pray these prayers. Through the Cross of Christ, these psalms have been bestowed upon his Body on earth as prayers that issue from his heart.” (p. 48)

And, “The more deeply we grow into the psalms and the more often we pray them as our own, the more simple and rich will our prayer become.” (p. 49)

In other words, Christians looking for help in their personal devotions can look at the Psalms as source material for both Scripture intake and prayer. The book of Psalms is rich, ready for us to tap into its God-glorifying, Christ-honoring, and life-giving words.

As a result of my time reading Bonhoeffer, and reading about the impact they made on his life and ministry, I am about to begin reading through and praying through the Psalms myself. I’m looking forward to seeing God work in me through this.

Thanks to Eric Metaxas for introducing me to the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer.


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