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TRANSFORM YOUR PRAYER LIFE IN 2014 WITH THE PSALMS!

 PRAYINGPSALMSJOIN THIS WONDERFUL GROUP ON A LIFE-CHANGING ADVENTURE IN 2014!

MAKE YOUR NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION TO PRAY THE PSALMS WITH UNDERSTANDING, AND FIND SUPPORT HERE!

YOU WILL BE BLESSED

 LIKE TREES PLANTED BY THE LIVING WATER

SO THAT, NO MATTER WHAT LIFE BRINGS,

YOU WILL NOT WITHER

FOR YOUR ROOTS WILL GO DEEP INTO CHRIST

WHY PRAY THE PSALMS?

I realize many of you are in other studies, and I am going to be careful not to overwhelm you so that you can join us.  We are not going to race through the psalms, but instead walk contemplatively through the first book  (Psalms 1 through 41). I recommend, even if you cannot do all of the study, to add praying through the psalms to transform your prayer life with power and wisdom. Saints like Basil, Bonhoeffer, and Bono have prayed the psalms as a habit, and we should pay attention to how this formed them into the kind of men that bore such rich fruit, including the fruit of inextinguishable joy.

This quote from Bonhoeffer has been a life-changing one for me:

BONHOEFFER
Bonhoeffer

It is a dangerous error, certainly very widespread among Christians, to think that the heart can pray by itself. Prayer does not mean simply to pour out one’s heart. If we wish to pray with confidence and gladness, whether the heart is full or empty, then the words of Holy Scripture will have to be the solid basis of our prayer. For this we need the psalms…

GeorgeMueller
Mueller

Likewise, George Mueller found himself distracted and weak in prayer until he began with the Word, striving to make his soul happy in the Lord, and then used those very scriptures that had quickened him as a basis for his prayer. Keller echoes this. We will do the same. It’s going to be amazing — and it will be amazing to do it with this group, for we are like iron-sharpening iron. Thank God!

FOR THOSE JUST JOINING US!

Welcome! Click on the right for instructions on getting started, and adding your picture to the blog. There’s a short video to help you understand how to make comments. The first time you make a comment you will need to be approved, but after that, if you remember to log in, you won’t have to be approved. If you have a common name, add a middle name or something like Laura-dancer. We love it if you edit your remarks and keep them somewhat concise. You are also more likely to be read if you do.

FOR THOSE WHO WOULD LIKE TO GET AN EXTRA RESOURCE

You don’t have to have anything other than your Bible and a willingness to buy some mp-3 sermons from Tim Keller and Mike Reeve (I’ll give you a free one whenever possible, but sometimes there will be a cost of 2.50, but I will only do it if I think it is GOLDEN. Even then, it will be optional.) I will be providing commentary. I’d rather you stay with us than get overwhelmed and drop out. If you can’t afford the time or money for the sermons, then skip them and do what you can. You will still be richly blessed!

However, if you’d like to get an extra resource, I would recommend these, on the basis of my own personal use and the recommendations of people I highly respect:

1) Derek Kidner’s Two Volume Commentary on Psalms (20 dollars, Tim Keller’s top recommendation) Kidner is concise, so this will not overwhelm you.

C. S. Lewis said to read old books, and I believe that includes old commentaries. We ourselves have seen how the interpretation of The Song of Songs has changed. This is also true, though not quite so drastically, of the psalms. The old commentaries always saw Christ in the psalms — today the focus seems to be us. Here are two of the best which are also available online, though it is nice to have the books:

2) http://www.spurgeon.org/treasury/treasury.htm

3) http://www.biblestudytools.com/commentaries/matthew-henry-complete/psalms-1-75/

Sunday (Icebreakers)

1. What stood out to you from the above and why?

2. Will you join us? If so, why?

Monday/Tuesday: GETTING READY

Read this page (link) originally from Redeemer’s website but posted on another website. Read through the suggestions (You don’t need to go on to do Psalm 131 unless you like)

3. What was helpful and why?

 

CHRIST IN THE PSALMS

When Jesus met with the disciples on the road to Emmaus, he showed them how He was in the psalms.

Emmaus

4. What did Jesus tell the disciples in Luke 24:44?

Many today read the Bible as if it all about us, but the Bible is all about Christ. Those who have been in this group have been blessed by listening to many Tim Keller sermons. Tim Keller is bringing back Christ-centered teaching to the church — the kind of preaching that used to be heard in men like Charles Spurgeon, the Prince of Preachers. Keller helps us to see how Christ is at the center of every book. Kirsten Powers, an anchor for Fox News, came to Christ in Keller’s church. Her boyfriend asked her to come, and she found Keller fascinating, but her initial response made me smile, for she said:

kirstenpowers“Any person who is familiar with Keller’s preaching knows that he usually brings Jesus in at the end of the sermon to tie his points together. For the first few months, I left feeling frustrated: Why did he have to ruin a perfectly good talk with this Jesus nonsense?”

(If you’d like to read her whole testimony, here is a link to Christianity Today’s article on her: Link

But it was the exaltation of Christ that melted Kirsten’s heart. In the same way, seeing Christ in the psalms will melt you and help you to pray the psalms rightly.

Have you begun to see Christ as the heart of the Bible instead of yourself? If so, give a testimony on how that impacts you.

Mike Reeves, in a message we will listen to this week, said not to think of the psalms as a hymnbook in which we can just flip to a psalm, pick it out, and pray it, but rather like Handel’s Messiah. It has a continuity, a flow, so you should study it consecutively, and see the flow.

5. Consider the book ends of Book 1 of the Psalter (Psalms 1-41)

A. How does the first psalm in Book 1 of the psalter begin? (Psalm 1:1)

B. The ancients saw Psalms 1 and 2 as one piece. How does Psalm 2 end?

B. How does the last psalm in Book 1 of the psalter begin? (Psalm 41:1)

C. How does the last psalm in Book 1 end? (Psalm 41:12)

D. What book-end theme do you see? Do you see the gospel? If so, how?

WEDNESDAY: HAPPY NEW YEAR!

MAY YOUR HEART BE MELTED BY WHAT YOU SEE ABOUT CHRIST TODAY

I have prayed the psalms for years, and they have changed my prayer life. But as I am seeing, more and more, how Christ is at the center of the psalms, my prayers are heating up, and I think yours will as well. Today, we will see how Christ is at the heart of the first three psalms, and then we will pray a passage from Psalm 1 today, Psalm 2 on Thursday, and Psalm 3 on Friday. We will go back to Psalm 1 next week — but my purpose this week is to give you an overview of Christ in the Psalms.

 

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6. Patrick Reardon says the first three psalms form a tripod on which all the others psalms rest, showing Christ as Man, Messiah, and Suffering Servant.

A. How can you see Christ as Man in the 1st psalm? How did Jesus live out the truths of the man who was blessed?

B. How can you see Christ as Messiah in the 2nd psalm?

C. How can you see Christ as The Suffering Servant in the 3rd psalm?

     PRAYING PSALM 1 NEW YEAR’S DAY

        We will look at Psalms 1 and 2 more carefully next week. This week is just a quick dip into Psalm 1, but I want you to see Christ. Mike Reeves shows the continuity between these two psalms, showing how the King of Psalm 2 whom God exalts on his holy hill is Jesus. That King is also fully man, a man who meditated on the Word day and night. Tim Keller says that Scripture continually flowed out of Jesus, from His temptation by satan to His last words on the cross. He “bled” Scripture.

7. READ THE PSALM AND THEN PRAY AS FOLLOWS:

A. A sentence of praise for what you learned about Christ:

B. A plea that He would so dwell in you that His desires would be your desires, and that He would help you meditate day and night (Optional — pray through Psalm 1 for your loved ones)

psalm 1

Thursday/Friday: Listen to Mike Reeves, and pray, as guided, Psalms 2 and 3.

Pray Psalm 2, JAN 2

8. READ THE PSALM AND THEN PRAY AS FOLLOWS

A. Praise God for the holiness and sovereignty you see in Christ in this psalm.

B. Ask the Lord to help you trust Him in the midst of unfair circumstances in your life and allow Him to be your King

(Optional: Pray this for your family members as well.)

 

psalm-27_4756_1024x768

Listen to Mike Reeves introduction to the Psalms — If you like, just listen to the first 21 and a half minutes, for then he goes onto Book 2, though that is rich too:

      LINK

9. There is much here but I want you to particularly share:

A. What stood out to you

B. His perspective on how to read the psalms — what do you think?

C. His comparisons to the 1st book of Psalms with the 1st book of Moses – what do you remember?

Friday: Praying Psalm 3

Psalm 3

10. Read Psalm 3 and then pray as follows:

A. Praise God for Christ’s suffering for you and His trust in God during His suffering

B. Ask God to help Christ’s fullness dwell in you that you might trust during your suffering, clinging to Him.

(Optional: Pray this for your loved ones as well.)

Saturday:

11. What is your take-a-way and why?

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475 comments

  1. This looks great, Dee. I am really looking forward to this study on the Psalms. I’m definitely “in”.

    1. Yes, yes! Thank God for your journey back to us 🙂 Welcome back Tammy!

  2. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    Boy do I need this!

    2. Will you join us? If so, why?

    I will do my best as life is always hectic…..but, I am sure that is the reason I should remain in this study! Ann Voskamp has a lot to do with my assurance that I should be here in the New Year. I went back to view her advent weeks 3 & 4 since I had no time prior to this and voila! I am convinced. In week 3 she talked about the joy of Jesus, and how if we aren’t joyous then we are not people of Jesus since He was brought to us with “great joy.” I am not necessaily a “down” person usually, however I will admit I am not always the most joyous either! I do try to smile at everyone though, because I might be the only “smile” of their day. I am a “Christ-follower” because of the JOY I have in Jesus. I would encourage those to go to Ann’s website and watch the video on the third Sunday of Advent.
     
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V6Ciss7xhYI
     
    I am hopeful that the Psalms will bring me JOY. That is why I am participating in the study in 2014; The Word is what gets me through the awful, messy, nastiness of the physical world. I need the Bible; I need you. I need joy, I need hope. I need Jesus!

    I never think to go and read historical commentaries. I am hopeful that I will continue to learn more about what is really important in life. It’s not the clean house, the perfect me. it is about Him.

    P.S. I want to be like Ann….I am so not like her. I would LOVE to have the creative ability as she does 🙂 I want her house, her wreaths, her candles; all of it! Okay, I will stop now. I am sure I am good at some thing. It’s just not the crafty house thing!

      1. Wow-missed this..loved what you said-and so wonderful how you are communing with Him and He is coming to you..this is really awesome Laura. 

  3. Sisters, as you know I am visiting my mother. She is quite sad and ill. Please pray that the family knows what is best for her now. We have many decisions to make about her care and we really don’t know what direction to take. I think her worst problem is a horrible wound that has only gotten worse over the course of the past year. We are at a point where it is probably not going to heal and should be operated on and then a plastic surgeon would come in and cover it up so it isn’t open anymore. I know that is probably more detail than anyone needs, but I really feel it’s important to have specific prayer right now. Thank you so much for those prayers. The other prayer would be for the caregivers. Do we stay with those who don’t seem to help her heal or do we move on?

    1. Oh Laura-d, praying for wisdom and peace

    2. Laura, I echo Elizabeth…prayers for wisdom, discernment, and peace.  I’m sorry that your Mom continues to have a rough time of it…I’m sure that your visit will lift her spirits.  I recall reading that your radiation treatment will begin soon…take care, Laura…you are in my thoughts and prayers.

      1. Thank you for the prayers 🙂 I have an oncology appointment on Thursday to get the news of chemo or no chemo (hoping for no) and then the mapping appointment for radiation next Monday. All is well with my soul…Missing you Nanci!

        1. “All is well with my soul”
          I’m glad that you have peace in your spirit, Laura.  I will mark my calendar for your upcoming appointment days to cover you with prayer. 

        2. Laura dancer, praying for your time with your Mom, for wisdom and patience in dealing with her issues, and for your oncology appointment later this week.

    3. Oh Laura D I will be praying for your mom and for wisdom to all of you that you know where God is leading you all next.

    4. Laura, I’m so sorry for your mom’s continued suffering, and her sadness. It must break your heart. Father, please come to Laura’s mom and bring your comfort, your encouragement, your presence. Please help Laura and her family make the best decision as to her care, and perhaps even a move to a new place. If surgery is to be done, then I pray that You will provide a very skillful, wise surgeon who can clean out this wound and then a plastic surgeon who can close it. Please give everyone involved in Laura’s mom’s care much wisdom, and compassion for her. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

    5. Oh Laura-am praying for your mom and for your situation as well. 

  4. oh, this looks SO rich, I can’t wait to jump in! I love the words of Bonhoeffer “the words of Holy Scripture will have to be the solid basis of our prayer.”
    I’m so excited about this new study–thanks Dee!

  5. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why. I had already gained respect from praying scripture first from a previous lesson including George Mueller, and these concepts are not new to me having grown up in the church. However, I will be honest in saying that the Psalms don’t exactly “shine” for me. =/
    I always see battle and conquest. Though some stand out to me (like Psalm 51 and 150, and other gems) on the whole I will confess, embarrassed, that the Psalms elude me. most likely because my approach is wrong. I am also somewhat uncomfortable with praying out loud when alone. When in groups it does not bother me but the intimacy inside my heart seems a good setting for conversations with God. But I know there is power in the spoken word so I will need to step out of the privacy of my own mind. 
     
    2. Will you join us? If so, why? Yes. Because I know it will have fruit in my life and deepen my relationship with Christ and the Father, as well as release power from the Holy Spirit. Mostly because it is what God is calling me to do. 

  6. JUST what I needed for my soul can bend away naturally-I need Him daily and praying through the Psalms will help me truly meditate and soak Him in-Him bending toward me. :)) So excited..Loved this: “YOU WILL BE BLESSED  LIKE TREES PLANTED BY THE LIVING WATER SO THAT, NO MATTER WHAT LIFE BRINGS, YOU WILL NOT WITHER FOR YOUR ROOTS WILL GO DEEP INTO CHRIST..” 
    And Bonhoeffer’s statement-oh yes-true indeed..And I can’t wait to see how God moves in ALL of our lives together in this. 
     
    I am going to memorize all of Psalm 103..We memorized it in our leadership class a few verses at a time, but I want to do it all and have it flow deep in my heart..We are on break now until mid-january..so this study will really be a HUGE HUGE blessing.  Dee thanks so much and thank you for being so sensitive to His leading.

      1. 🙂 I told you I can easily be like Peter.. “I will not deny you!” 

  7. Oh, and wanted to tell you all that what I have most likely is a sinus infection-so Grateful..I didn’t want the flu! 

    1. I’m so glad it’s not the flu, Rebecca! I was praying, and I hope you were able to enjoy your family get-together.

  8. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    I am excited about studying the psalms and the potential for it “transforming my prayer life with power and wisdom”.  To follow practices of greats like Bonhoeffer and Mueller is wise..I can only envision the capacity it has to enrich our spirits. 
    I was so blessed with the contemplative, George Mueller manner of reading SoS, I am delighted to see that is how Dee will “walk” us through the psalms.  (“We are not going to race through the psalms, but instead walk contemplatively through the first book”). 
    How wonderful to see that Mike Reeves will be involved in this study.  His SoS discussions really added to the SoS study for me understanding-wise; I imagine what he has for the psalms will be fruitful as well.
     
    2. Will you join us? If so, why?
    Yes… The studies on this bible study blog have been rich in content with Dee asking questions that provide for greater understanding and expanded perspective.  The participants on this bible study blog are wonderful…helpful, compassionate, encouraging, and enlightening. I am excited about getting back to studying and interacting with my bible study blog family; I look forward to studying the psalms with you all in 2014. 

      1. Thanks for your kind words, Dee…:-)

  9. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    “Likewise, George Mueller found himself distracted and weak in prayer until he began with the Word, striving to make his soul happy in the Lord, and then used those very scriptures that had quickened him as a basis for his prayer. Keller echoes this. We will do the same. It’s going to be amazing — and it will be amazing to do it with this group, for we are like iron-sharpening iron. Thank God!”
    I love the enthusiasm!
    2. Will you join us? If so, why? Yes. I have been feeling my prayer life is really dry lately. I need this!
     

  10. this is something I will benefit from. Looking forward to it!  A little worried as I don’t enjoy going on the computer too much but I will give it a go. 

    1. Welcome, Donna A. Great to have you here. If you have struggles with computer question, feel free to ask. There are some women here that have been helpful in advising on computer questions and Dee’s son (tech assistant) will help if there are major issues.

    2. Welcome Donna! 🙂

    3. Welcome Donna…I look forward to interacting with you and getting to know you better…so glad you found your way to Dee’s bible study blog.  I have no doubt of the benefit(s) you will be blessed with.

  11. 3. What was helpful and why?
     
    I am reminded when I look at the Psalms, that again—the Word, and all of life–it is more about Him than me. The psalms tell the truth, about who man is, and the greatness of God.  “Real prayer is always an answer to God’s revelation. The Psalms are BOTH prayer and revelations about God”; and “the Psalms force us to deal with God as He is, not as we wish he was.”
     
    These practical points were also helpful:
    1.    try to understand a psalm before praying it
    2.    linger over a psalm—ask “What difference would this make in my life if I believed this with all my heart?”
    3.    use the psalm to praise God for His character
     
     Side note—there is a free commentary of Psalms by John Calvin online. He says this of the Psalms:
    “But here the prophets themselves, seeing they are exhibited to us as speaking to God, and laying open all their inmost thoughts and affections, call, or rather draw, each of us to the examination of himself in particular, in order that none of the many infirmities to which we are subject, and of the many vices with which we abound, may remain concealed. It is certainly a rare and singular advantage, when all lurking places are discovered, and the heart is brought into the light, purged from that most baneful infection, hypocrisy”

    1. Boy, Calvin really strikes to the heart of the issue doesn’t he, Elizabeth. 

       the heart is brought into the light, purged from that most baneful infection, hypocrisy”

      I have recently been convicted about hypocrisy. It is scary. I know that having been a Christ follower for a very long time, I generally like to think that I am doing a good job obeying Christ – and become proud. That makes me resistant to seeing my sins.  I want to think I am doing so well that I do not listen to God speaking so gently and persistently. It often takes a major hammer to knock me down. Then perhaps, I am humble enough to see my sin.

      1. I love your heart, Diane. I had wondered after I posted that quote if it was a bit much–too harsh? You seem to always understand me! This morning our sermon talked about how quickly we try to justify our existence–our pastor referred to Abrahams in Chariots of Fire–and I was again humbled by how easy it is, how instinctive for me, to try to find something other than Christ alone to rest in. I want to rest in my accomplishments, or even my obedience as you say–but I am completely validated already, by Christ alone. How I long to rest in that and stop trying so hard to gain what has already been given in grace.

        1. I don’t think “too harsh,” Elizabeth…”rare and singular advantage, when all lurking places are discovered, and the heart is brought into the light”
           
          but, rather a wonderful opportunity to see ourselves with truth and mercy…the opportunity to see those things in our heart/character that we might choose not to see, but what the Lord wants to bring to our attention…those things could be characterized as “good” as well as flaws.  So cool!

        2. Diane and Elizabeth, you echo my own struggles. I could quote the entirety of both of your posts. Thank you for being honest and therefore encouraging. I am thankful for my sisters in this blog, an amazing answer to prayer. 

  12. I am so excited to be back into this group for this season!
    1. What stood out to you from the above and why? Loved the old commentaries, love mueller and Bonhoeffer, am starting his biography now. I feel a stronger calling in ministry as to be a praying person. I love to learn more about this especially through David’s example and others who wrote these heartfelt prayers in the Psalms. They are inspired by God and I love that too! So much to learn.
    2. Will you join us? If so, why? My church just spent all last year in the psalms. I so loved it and know I can get even more in this study. Excited! Love this group of women. 

    1. Welcome back, Angela! May I ask, how is your health? I do hope you are feeling well!

      1. Oh Susan, so kind of you to ask! It is ok. I am sadly on an antibiotic currently for 36 days for an infection I am battling from years ago that roars up at times. It is unknown but caught it from a little Japanese baby in our English as a Second Language Nursery. I am hoping to find out what the actual infection is. It has been coming back for a few years but since my immune system is not as strong as others due to the lyme disease effects it creates a problem. Then antibiotics can at times cause bad side effects called herx reaction from past lyme….It is a cycle but I am good and really could use prayer to stay the course. 🙂 It is complicated I know! lol

        1. Angela, I will pray that doctors will identify what this is and for your health on these antibiotics.

    2. Hey Angela, 
       
      SO good to have you back!!

    3. I found “Bonhoeffer–Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy” by Eric Metaxas really enlightening.  Don’t know if this is the biography you are referring to, but I would highly recommend it. 

  13. Sunday (Icebreakers)
     
    1. What stood out to you from the above and why? I think Bonhoeffer’s quote was so eye opening. That we can speak out to God what we want but that that almost is null and void unless you have God’s Word in your heart and mind. We need to be praying according to scripture and what better way to do that than to open up the most powerful book there is and read it, learn it and know it.
     
    2. Will you join us? If so, why? – I am going to join again, I miss all of these ladies and the help they give to me with their outstanding and thoughtful answers. I will make a great effort to stay on track but may fall behind with two other 5 day studies I’m doing and a daily devotional that our Pastor puts out. I pray for all of you and your families and miss seeing what is going on in your lives.
     

    1. Hey sweet Julie-so so glad to have you join us again-you were missed!! :))) 

    2. Hi Julie! Sounds like you are very busy with study. I’m glad you are back here and hope we can all lean on each other for understanding. Missed you!

    3. Thank you ladies, I’ve missed all of you and the enlightening posts you all have. I’ve missed Dee’s Godly instruction but while away I’ve thought and prayed for all of you. I am going to try really hard to stay focused to God and his leadings.

  14. Monday/Tuesday: GETTING READY
    Read this page (link) from Redeemer’s website through the suggestions (You don’t need to go on to do Psalm 131 unless you like)
    3. What was helpful and why? – It seems that in order to grasp something we need to first and always ask the Holy Spirit to come and open our eyes so we can see what God is wanting us to see. We need to try and put ourselves in that place the Psalmist may have been. But mostly we need to slow down and ponder what is being said.

    1. Julie – welcome back! It’s great to have you here again!

  15. So great to see Nancy back, and Angela & Julie–we’ve missed you! And welcome Donna–glad you’re joining us!

  16. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why? The Bonhoeffer quote stands out to me. I want to pray, I need to pray but I feel adrift. My past practices are no longer sufficient. Dangerous he says. That really stands out!
     
    2. I would like to join in. God has been speaking to me about spending more time with Him in prayer. I try but my mind wanders so that I get frustrated. I need a vehicle to carry me into His presence. When I read this post I saw the connection with my need. As has been mentioned Dee, I appreciate your sensitivity to the Holy Spirit.

      1. 🙂 Thank you Dee

      2. SO AGREE! I have to hold my tongue because I never want Anne to have seasons where she can’t be with us..

    1. Anne, I can so relate to that awkward feeling of being adrift when trying to pray and my mind wandering. Sometimes I feel like my prayers aren’t even making it to the ceiling! I like how you put this: “I need a vehicle to carry me into His presence”.

  17. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    I was delighted to see a picture of George Meuller. I read his biography several years ago and have often wondered what it would be like to pray as he did. His countenance, looks to me, as if it is covered with contentment.
    2. Will you join us? If so, why?
    I am so excited that I have been ‘returned’ to the blog. During my dark days I thought of you all often. Before I sunk into depression I was in a state of paranoia and burned and threw away 15 years worth of journals. I see now what a blessing that is because had I kept them I would have been prone to revisit the past and start dwelling. Paul tells us to forget the past look to what’s ahead. I’m beginning a new leg of the journey and I want to be equipped for what’s ahead.
    Dee and Susan I love it that y’all tried to find me. The Lord had me well hidden I know for his purposes. It sure is grand to be out of the river for now.   
     

    1. Tammy it is so wonderful to have you back with us! I have thought of you often. Blessings to you!

    2. Tammy, again – it’s so great to “see” you on here! When I read your posts, I imagine I hear your voice and your “y’all”…Georgia accent!

    3. Tammy-WELCOME BACK!! So glad to have you with us again. 

    4. Tammy, welcome back to the group. It is good to let go of the past and press on. I’m doing much the same.

  18. 3. Most helpful to me is to realize that I may not always have the right view of God. Do I understand His heart and do I pray accordingly? How often do I pray for what I think would be best and completely miss what He wants to do?
     
    It is also helpful to think about what to do with feelings. We should not stuff them as is our tendency as believers but bring them to The Lord in prayer. 

  19. I’m needing to practice living in Jesus’ daily Presence, moment by moment, & need to be intentional in this heart pursuit.  This is a wonderful opportunity to DO this very thing rather than just talk about it………thanks & blessings on you!  ;o)

    1. Welcome Amy! Glad this blog meets your need to be intentional!

    2. Amy, Welcome and I am right there with you-one thing to ‘say’ it and another to be intentional to get into the Psalms and meditate. 🙂

    3. Welcome Amy!  We can work together in “living in Jesus’ daily Presence, moment by moment” in an “intentional” manner.  So glad you’re here!

  20. I need this.. This is exactly what our pastor was preaching on..”How to Read Your Bible”  find a commentary and find out the context surrounding the Scripture.  this is great. He also challenged us to read through the Bible in2014.  I will use this as the Psalms I read everyday.  thank you for doing this study just at the right time.

    1. Greetings, Rose M. [I’m making a similar assumption as Dee…:-) ]…isn’t it great how the Lord’s hand guides; so glad He guided you here…welcome!

  21. I would appreciate prayers for my son, Adam. He has just left to drive to Chicago where he will meet a few friends from his college days and they will be spending New Year’s Eve there. Please pray for his safety and protection, that he will be wise and discerning.

    1. Holy Father, I pray for Adam’s safe travels.  Help him to make wise choices.  Wrap Adam in your loving and protective arms.  Bless Susan’s mothering heart.  In Jesus’ holy name I pray, Amen.

      1. Thank you, Nanci. I am so glad you will be studying psalms with us!

    2. I will be lifting him, his friends and you up in prayer this week.

  22. Read this page (link) from Redeemer’s website through the suggestions (You don’t need to go on to do Psalm 131 unless you like)
    3. What was helpful and why?
     
    Yes it was-I do like referring to a commentary to try to understand it before praying it-and also liked the ‘additional note’ where Keller said to pray for our enemies for justice was satisfied in Christ.
    I do prefer to take my time and not rush through just to get it done. I used to do that many years ago and realized i was just ticking off a list- I have developed a bad taste for that. 

    1. Rebecca, I relate. The lesson on making our souls happy in The Lord made a huge difference in my reading…savoring and listening instead of ticking off as much reading as possible to “be a good Christian”. Somehow I thought the more I read would equate to hearing from God more. Now I have a bad taste for that, too, now I need that quickening of my Spirit to relish in hearing from God through His word.  =)

  23. 4. On the road to Emmaus Jesus told those disciples that the entire Law, Prophets and Psalms are about Him and that all of it must be fulfilled.
    5A. How does the first psalm in Book 1 of the psalter begin? (Psalm 1:1)
    It tells us how to be happy. We delight in the Lord’s instruction.
     
    B. The ancients saw Psalms 1 and 2 as one piece. How does Psalm 2 end?
    It tells us to take refuge in Him for happiness.
     
    B. How does the last psalm in Book 1 of the psalter begin? (Psalm 41:1)
    It also contains instruction for happiness through caring for the poor.
     
    C. How does the last psalm in Book 1 end? (Psalm 41:12)
    In praise for the Lords’s victory over the enemy.
     
    D. What book-end theme do you see? Do you see the gospel? If so, how?
    I see a sort of formula (though I hate using that word) for happiness. It tells us that happiness is found by delighting in The Lord (His word and instructions) and His victory over the enemy (sin and death). I do see the gospel for it is the victory that Jesus accomplished in His death and resurrection. He walked in our shoes from womb to tomb victoriously. Oh! I AM catching fire! Wow!

  24. 3. What was helpful and why?
    i especially liked the Imprecatory psalms explanation and remembering we can see Christ in the Psalms as we read today.

  25. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
     
    These words from the opening grabbed my attention – transform your prayer life and life-changing adventure. I have a mixture of feelings…hope, but also a fear of being too hopeful that it can really happen to me. Bonhoeffer’s words, “If we wish to pray with confidence and gladness, whether the heart is full or empty…” I never seem to know from day to day whether I will be “full” or “empty”…it seems as if he means that if it is up to me, there isn’t much hope, but God has given us His Word to help us to pray – He has already provided what we need.
     
    2. Will you join us? If so, why?
     
    I can echo Laura-dancer’s thoughts that I am hopeful that the Psalms will bring me JOY. I know in one of David’s psalms, he asks God to restore to him the joy of his salvation. I probably am not seen as a joyful person and I often feel sad and lonely even though I am married. Sometimes with my children, if I try to talk to them about spiritual things, they misunderstand what I’m trying to say and get offended. I know the approval idol is operating when I feel hurt. On a different note, I’ve been looking on ebay for Spurgeon’s commentaries on the Psalms and I think I found one – a two volume set, used, very affordable!

      1. Thanks for the tip on Spurgeon’s Treasury…the one on ebay only had two volumes…I did find a three volume set on Christian Book Distributors for about $30 and all the reviews were good. I think you mentioned on the blog in the past that Steve had read Spurgeon’s Treasury.

      1. Thank you Nanci I just purchased this for my Ipad.

        1. You are most welcome…:-)
          How are Kyle & Allie and baby Logan doing these days?

  26. One thing our Youth pastor said yesterday morning was such a sweet reminder- that God pursues us-always has..even when we are unfaithful, and feel like-why would he even want to be with me..even when we are unable to sense His presence and feel he has forgotten us-in Genesis God pursued Adam and Eve even after they sinned because He still loved them deeply and desired intimacy with them. 
     
    I so look forward to his pursuit of me in the Psalms..I don’t know-this just encouraged me to remember he WILL pursue me in the Psalms and I know I will sense Him as i meditate and pray.

    1. Thanks for sharing this, Rebecca…”that God pursues us-always has..even when we are unfaithful, and feel like-why would he even want to be with me..even when we are unable to sense His presence and feel he has forgotten us…”
      And the encouragement that He WILL pursue us in the Psalms.

    2. I was listening to a podcast of Anne Graham Lotz…she said something that hit me…the Lord didn’t love Abraham and Issac more than He loved Hagar and Ishmael; He loved/loves us all the same, no more, no less…the Lord simply has different purposes for our lives. The Lord loves you, Susan, whether you “feel” encouraged or discouraged…don’t allow the evil one to strip you making you “feel” less that what you are…the beloved of our Lord.

      1. oops…don’t allow the evil one to strip you, making you “feel” less than what you are…the beloved of our Lord.

  27. Have you begun to see Christ as the heart of the Bible instead of yourself? If so, give a testimony on how that impacts you.
    Oh my goodness! This has been life changing to me. I see I am sinful and need a Savior. I see the entire story of the Bible was about God rescuing us. He is all over it and it brings me such joy! I see He has done everything for me. I see I need to earn nothing. I see His amazing love. It makes me desire to serve Him for Him because His love is so strong. I am amazed. I am free from performing for others, trying to live us to to a certain standard, etc. It is so good to just rest in HIM and following Him in obedience because I am loved. Thanks to this blog, Keller sermons, and getting into a gospel preaching church my life has just been washed anew with His word as Jesus as the center. It is amazing. I am too seeing many of life’s problems (if not all) stem back to this, not seeing Christ rightly. Trying to help others see so they can be truly free as well. Oh how He loves us! What an amazing love story we have in His word.

  28. also, I may have a hard time replying to comments but my goal this time around is to read all comments as possible and lift them up in prayer. So if I am not commenting know I am praying! Love you all so!

  29. 3. What was helpful and why?
     
    Psalms teach us to pray through imitation. Isn’t that how a child learns…by imitating mother and father? I also like the idea that the Psalms are the ideal soil for learning…I think of good, rich, dark earth and I want the psalms to help me grow.
    Psalmists pray their feelings; they take them into the presence of God until they change or they understand them.
    The Psalms help us pray to God as He is…not a god we make-up in our minds who tells us what we want to hear.

  30. 3. What was helpful and why?
    Very helpful…good reminders to slow down and linger, to not rush or worry about “doing it” (i.e., studying) perfectly…George Mueller’s “striving to make his soul happy in the Lord” and my SoS experience come to mind; my heart melts to think that this could be a frequent happening.  Another good reminder/suggestion is to “invite the Holy Spirit into those times” and let His grace and truth shape my prayer and heart.  I especially like the thought of the psalms taking us deeper into our own hearts…neither stuffing or ventilating feelings, but praying them in the presence of God.  The importance of understanding context was also a good reminder…I am thankful for Dee’s commentary suggestions that I anticipate to help tremendously in this area.

  31. 3. Read this page from Redeemer’s website through the suggestions. What was helpful and why?
    “But the Psalmists neither ‘stuff’ their feelings nor ‘ventilate’ them. They pray them…they take them into the presence of God until they change or understand them.” I appreciate this because I think our culture condones “venting” as merely a way to gossip or seek approval. These comments refocuses us to Christ, it is not wrong to seek support but we must point each other to Christ until those feelings change, or we understand them and the obey Him. 
    “Left to ourselves, we will pray to some god who speaks what we like hearing, or to the part of God we manage to understand. But what is critical is that we speak to the God who speaks to us…” Oh, amen and amen! I had a pastor once ask – are you praying? Or whining? I must seek God and listen to Him before I then speak or else I can fall into the trap of self  
    I appreciated the comments on Imprecatory psalms. I have a hard time seeing past the visual of war and battle to see application for my life today so I look forward to further understanding. 

    1. “But the Psalmists neither ‘stuff’ their feelings nor ‘ventilate’ them. They pray them…they take them into the presence of God until they change or understand them.”
      I was really taken with this too…to pray feelings in the presence of God to come to some resolution…it’s like taking a deep breath to calm ones self.

  32. 4. What did the disciples who were with Jesus in the road to Emmaus tell the others in Luke 24:44? Is this supposed to be Luke 24:34? The disciples told the others “It is true! The Lord has risen…” Then Christ stood amongst them and said in 44 that all was fulfilled about Him that was written in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms. Indicating that the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms speak of Christ. 
    I had a very kindly Sunday School teacher a few years back and she had a very heavy Louisiana accent (we lived in Wyoming at the time so it stood out some!). We studied the Bible from Genesis 1:1 on and every lesson she would say “there is another arrow to Jesus” (add the thick accent and you get “arrah” to Jesus). This was my introduction to reading the Bible in the context of Christ. I will always remember her, and her accent, fondly and gratefully. 

  33. Looking forward to being in this community in 2014

    1. Welcome Nancy!  Glad you’ll be joining us.

    2. Welcome Nancy!  I look forward to you being with us in 2014!

  34. I have children and grandchildren here all week so I don’t have much time to comment here, but I had a time to read the Redeemer link and it was very helpful. I used the guidelines to meditate on Psalm 149. So good. Again I found the insight on the imprecatory psalms a good reminder. Sometimes they seem so harsh. This all is very helpful. I also appreciate all the comments though I don’t have time to respond.
     
    I have somehow right my right thumb and find it very painful to use so typing and using the mouse are difficult. The major pain is at the joint just above the wrist. It is also difficult to cook and cut, which is a problem all this week with family here and many meals to prepare. I just woke up with my thumb throbbing on Sunday morning. I don’t know if it is a pinced nerve or carpal tunnel or what.

    1. Diane–I am praying now for your thumb–I am so sorry, sounds very painful. Is it swollen at all? I wonder if icing it may help? Will pray!

    2. Time to delegate some of those meal and other tasks that are painful, Diane…enjoy time with your family and rest your thumb.  Take care.

      1. Thanks for your concern. My family helped with lunch and supper prep. I am trying to rest my hand but it is hard to rest when others are working in my kitchen. LOL! I hope it heals soon or it will be a very LOOOONG week. 🙂

        1. Diane, maybe it’s God telling you to let them take care of you now and get the rest you deserve. I will be praying your thumb heals up.

  35. 3. What was helpful and why?
     
    …But the Psalmists neither ‘stuff’ their feelings nor ‘ventilate’ them. They pray them-they take them into the presence of God until they change or understand them.
     
    I did not realize it at the time but during my time of inexpressible pain I would cry out  to God and tell Him this is how I feel about this situation. I don’t understand what’s going but I’m going to trust you. 

  36. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    “Distracted and weak in prayer” – um….that pretty much describes me to a T! I am aware now more than ever that I won’t survive this new roller coaster of motherhood (and life in general) if I am not grounded solidly in the Word and communing with God through spiritual disciplines, especially prayer!
    2. Will you join us? If so, why?
    I am thrilled to hear about this study! I remember years ago hearing Dee talk on Midday Connection about “Psalm meals” during the Woman of Moderation series, and that idea really stuck with me, but then somehow I got out of the habit of meditating and really chewing on the Psalms…so I cannot wait to get back to that kind of spiritual nourishment! Count me in! 🙂

    1. Welcome, Rachel. Glad to have you with us.

  37. Dee–that’s you, isn’t it? In the picture at the top? I just realized that–beautiful! 🙂

    1. LIKE!!!

  38. 4.    What did the disciples who were with Jesus on the road to Emmaus tell the others in Luke 24:44?
    I love this from Luke 24:32 “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?”. Their hearts burned within–I wantthat experience when I read His Word, when He talks with me–to burn within.
    After they had seen Him on the road, they shared with the others (Luke 24:34)—“The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” They could not contain the burning, the joy!

  39. Have you begun to see Christ as the heart of the Bible instead of yourself? If so, give a testimony on how that impacts you.

    I can remember in college days or high school even, actually in recent years– searching the concordance of my Bible for a word that signified whatever I was dealing with at the time. My needs, my thoughts, ME…I was the starting point. A few years ago that finally shifted. I wish it had happened sooner, but God in His mercy was patient with me, and did lead me to see that it is all about Him. He is the starting point, the beginning and the end. Reading His Word is not meant to be like a self-help book experience. I read it to know HIM better, not my self. And in finding Him, I see who I am in relation to Him, and all the pieces begin to find their rightful place.

    I love what Sally Lloyd Jones says “It takes the whole Bible to tell this story. And at the center of the Story there is a baby. Every story in the Bible whispers his name. He is like the missing piece in a  puzzle—the piece that makes all the other pieces fit together and suddenly you can see a beautiful picture.    And this is no ordinary baby. This is the Child upon whom everything would depend. This is the baby that would one day—but wait, our story starts where all good stories start. Right at the very beginning…”

  40. 1.  What stood out to you and why?  Bonhoeffer’s statement: “…Scripture will have to be the solid basis for prayer.”  Yes, prayer isn’t my to-do list for God, but my response to Him – my praise and petition – not just my petition.
    2.  Will I join and why?  I’ll do my best to stick with this.  I need His roots in me to be deeper.  I want to be like a well-watered tree living in the desert.
     
    3.  Was the Redeemer link helpful?  Oh yes!  Thanks for posting this.  It will be helpful to study and Psalm before praying it.

    1. Good to see you again, Cherie, like this “prayer isn’t my to-do list for God”

  41. 1. What stood out to you from the above and why?
    1) Bonhoeffer and Mueller quotes and Mueller’s pic: good memory from earlier study about power of using Scripture to get soul happy in the Lord;  2) QUESTION: Bono?  The U2 guy or was there another one?   3)  importance of reading old stuff because of how interpretations have changed over time.  That’s the same reason I like to get perspectives from different cultures 🙂
    2. Will you join us? If so, why?Yes.  I just about drove myself bonkers thinking about the “why” yesterday.  2 main reasons I’m staying: 1) I like it here, like the studies, and like people involved here; 2) I haven’t done a very good job of having my thoughts daily anchored in Him / in Scripture when I’ve been MIA.  I see hints of God transforming me, and I want to continue to hear Him, to know Him better/deeper.  I do like the idea of praying through the Psalms.  Because it is evident that Dee seeks the Holy Spirit’s leading and because of reasons 1 & 2 above, I’d probably be here WHATEVER we study 🙂  — unless I was hit HARD over the head with a message that I should quit.

  42. I think this is a wonderful way to grow closer to the Lord. I am committing to join you on this journey in 2014. Honestly it’s hard for me to be consistent, so I am a bit afraid to do so.That’s why I am responding for the first time.
    Tally Ho, on our way we go!

    1. Hi Tammy Jo…welcome!  Glad you will be joining the study group.  By any chance are you from Wisconsin?  I have a friend with the same name that I mentioned the bible study blog to…wondering if you might be she…:-)

      1. I am from WI but I don’t think I am the friend your thinking of. Sure is a small world. 

      2. Nanci J. Could you help me add me picture? I can’t seem to figure it out. Thanks!
         

        1. Hi Tammy Jo.  I’m so sorry that I didn’t see your posts from 12/31/13 earlier…I’m glad to see that you figured out your picture…although you are not the person that I thought you might be, it will be wonderful getting to know you.  I live in central WI (near Stevens Point)…may I ask where you live?  We have Dee as a WI resident too, in Door County.  Again, welcome Tammy Jo!

  43. 3. What was helpful and why?
    -The rationale at the beginning was helpful, and the following was motivating:

    The Psalms take us deep into our own hearts 1000 times faster than we would ever go if left to ourselves…  the Psalmists neither ‘stuff’ their feelings nor ‘ventilate’ them. They pray them–they take them into the presence of God until they change or understand them.

    I’m feeling a little (!) impatient about “getting on with my life” and the 1000X faster part is causing me to “chomp at the bit even more!” Looks like I’m in for some change 🙂
    -I also liked the suggestions — enough to get a commentary 🙂     I’ll see what I have on the shelves and may order the Kidder one. 
    -Now I know what “imprecatory” means (looked it up).  The info about imprecatory Psalms was helpful even though I’m not completely liking it 🙁

  44. 4. What did the disciples who were with Jesus on the road to Emmaus tell the others in Luke 24:44?
    Jesus told them that when He was with His disciples, He told them that everything written about Him in the law of Moses and the prophets and in the psalms must be fulfilled.
     
    5. Consider the book ends of Book 1 of the Psalter (Psalms 1-41) 
    A. How does the first psalm in Book 1 of the psalter begin? (Psalm 1:1)
    Telling of the joy in being obedient to the Lord and steering clear of those who relish living in sin (e.g., the wicked, mockers).

    B. The ancients saw Psalms 1 and 2 as one piece. How does Psalm 2 end?
    Encouraging surrender and submitting to the Lord.
     
    B. How does the last psalm in Book 1 of the psalter begin? (Psalm 41:1)
    With a statement of God’s blessing of those who share in His concern for those in need (e.g., poor, weak, needy)
     
    C. How does the last psalm in Book 1 end? (Psalm 41:12)
    Praise of the Lord always.

    I need to ponder item “D” more…

  45. Hi, I am new to the online Bible study format.  I am currently reading through the Psalms (on 119) trying to read a Psalm every day.  It’s been wonderful, and find myself looking forward to it more and more every day.  I can’t remember how I even got to this website, but here I am, and I’m looking forward to the short “assignments” given.

    1. Hi Vicki…welcome!  How cool that you are into the psalms already…so glad that you found your way to the site and bible study blog group.

  46. This is going to be very interesting to study the psalms. I wish that proverbs were being studied as well. Thanks

  47. Hi, – every day without a psalm is l a darkness for the soul. Life comes from the light- God’s Word. It is really needed, what you, Dee are doing for a huge group of women. I am always surprise, that people do not use daily the psalms  for living their lives. I started with them , when I was 16 years old. I wasn’t faithful  praying them daily- but I know the prize I paid, when I didn’t. So grace of Lord gives me desire to pray them now regularly. What I want to share also is this; I know many women- among them speakers, authors, etc. that do skip a prayer on many days. The reason is they are too busy. Not broken, not in need or pain- but too busy to pray. They do not have time for Christ- because their jobs are more important. What does it mean for them, not to pray? They do not know what is really going on.
    They have no time to stop, to think, to discern…There are lies that they believe.. Yes, Christ said clearly- Without me, you can’t do anything. 
    I can’t trust the woman, that she belongs to Jesus, if she doesn’t meet   Him daily, listens and talks to Him. Ignoring own Savior, while “teaching others about Him  and spreading the Gospel’ is wrong. Weak.Without truth. I must know my Master very well, if I want to be His disciple- it is no other way. I do not want to judge- just repeating what Jesus said, did and lived. No one is above Him. He prayed – He loved- he died for His Bride. Bride must live the same. The narrow path is for those, that follow Christ and being in His company is not a problem when we are in love with Him.  This is my advice and my experience. And I know for sure, that our Lord prayed Psalms daily- because He as a Jewish boy had to memorize them all. He was quoting one even on the cross….

  48. 3. What was helpful and why? The additional note. I have had trouble praying the Psalms when it comes to vengeance.  I realize now that they were speaking from a time when they didn’t have the justice of God satisfied for them through Christ.
    4. What did the disciples who were with Jesus on the road to Emmaus tell the others in Luke 24:44? That Jesus told them that everything written in the law, the books of the prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.

    1. Dawn, You’re nicer than I am.  I kinda liked seeing (at least a small dose of) that vengeance in the Psalms!!  But, yeah, I also found the additional note to be encouraging — because some people probably pray for vengeance on me.  

  49.  
    Have you begun to see Christ as the heart of the Bible instead of yourself? If so, give a testimony on how that impacts you.
    Yup… I’ve begun and am looking forward to seeing Him more in Psalms.  I saw Christ in the Song of Songs.  When I see Him & know Him better, get a deeper understanding of His character, I relax, rest in Him, and become open to receiving His love.  It is interesting that if I go in primarily looking for myself … for instructions, etc., I get information and maybe some guilt.  When I see Christ, I respond from the depths of my being (when my response is disobedience, I struggle BIG TIME).  It is so much easier to respond in loving obedience to Him, to His love than to one more person telling me what to do.   When the Bible is used to bang me over the head (which isn’t too often because I run like crazy from those situations), I respond (at best) with distrust.  When I see Jesus, I want to worship, obey, and introduce others to Him.  So, I think that seeing Christ in the OT, as well as the NT, also impacts my relationship with other people.  Seeing the whole Bible as about Him changes my perspective and, consequently, my behavior.  Because I have a short memory, I’m REALLY looking forward to seeing Him in the Psalms, too.