In the third week of the DBS (Bible School), one of the topics were the Psalms. We received great new insights and powerful truths that I would like to share with you!
The Bible books are written in different styles; Psalms is Hebrew poetry. Psalms shows us that it is okay to be angry / sad / confused in the presence of God. It gives the permission to pour out your complaints in a way that, probably if it wasn’t for the Psalms, we might think inappropriate.
Poetry shapes your imagination and it takes you on a journey, if you choose to slow down and meditate on it. It enables us to experience what the characters in Bible went through. The Psalms are God's gift that enables us to pray in a new way!
Many of us often do not feel like praying. But we do feel many other things. We feel sad, angry, relieved, joyful, anxious, confused. To pray, all we need to do is harness that emotional energy as fuel that lifts our prayers, and ourselves, to God. Turning the inner dialogue up to God, involves sharing with Him our actual thoughts and feelings, listening to the underlying attitudes of ourselves and others and listening to God’s answer to what is going on inside.
A great way to do that is to pray the Psalms, both the Psalms in the Bible, as well as to write your own Psalms. Through this you will learn to face your deepest hope, pain and fear and bring it to God, in an open and honest prayer. You learn to identify and express a wide range of emotions, which also helps not to be led by emotions, but to deal with them well.
How you can apply this practically:
Step 1: Pray a psalm by reading it aloud to God, word-for-words as it appears in the Bible. Reading Psalms out loud, enables us to experience, feel, almost ‘taste’ the emotions.
Step 2: Notice what emotions you experience (confusion, frustration, joy, etc.) without condemning / rejecting them, only recognize.
Step 3: Pray the Psalm again, but in your own words. It may be helpful to write as a method of processing.
As you often see in the Psalms, David (or another psalmist) often calls out to God. "Why Lord?" "How long?" etc. Halfway through the Psalm you often see a change, when the focus is moved from the current circumstances, to who God is (Almighty, Shelter, Helper in battle, etc.). Pouring out your heart, your emotions, pain, fear, sadness, etc. allows you to change your perspective, look to God, come to His peace, take refuge in Him and receive the love and peace that only He can give.
Sometimes your own words fall short and the Psalms can help express yourself. Even Jesus quoted from Psalms when He was hanging on the cross ("My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?" - Psalm 22: 1).
We humans are emotional beings, so we always feel something, even when we are unconscious of it. However, many of us are not accustomed to noticing emotions. 'The heart has its reasons the mind knows not of'. Psalms take us deep into our own hearts and that increases our EQ (Emotional Quotient).
"Worry is merely negative meditation." What do you fill yourself with? Are you focused day and night on new developments in the COVID-19 situation? It's of course not wrong to follow the news, but be aware of what you fill your thoughts with and what you (unconsciously) meditate on.
Philippians 4: 6-7 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your request. And the peace of God, which transcendent all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."
Praying, meditating and writing my own Psalms helps me tremendously to find peace and rest in God and to fill me with truths. I hope it inspires you, and as Philippians 4 describes, that you'll experience the peace of God that is beyond all understanding!