praying the psalms: the practice of adoration
We pause - selah - after this first week (plus) of praying the Psalms.
We pause to breathe and to consider the work of His hands, to consider the practice of praying His Word back to Him. To consider the power in meditating on the Word of the Lord and speaking truth to our own hearts.
We quote easily and oft with remorse, ah, yes, the heart is deceitfully wicked - it cannot be trusted, can it? And then we go about our business, perhaps brushing aside the significance of the statement. But then our little hearts - the seat of our emotions - responds viscerally to external stimuli and suddenly we are flailing about in all those feelings and wondering what went wrong! Have I misunderstood the Lord? Did I leap too soon? What if this? What if that? Suddenly our hearts or our emotions seem very critical to telling us the full and complete story and we have left the truth that it is not our hearts we must listen to...it is our spirit.
Our little ole heart and soul - all they can do is react. But our spirit and mind? Those we can depend on to tell us the truth.
So this practice of adoration and praying the Psalms is rooted in the idea that sometimes, we simply must tell ourselves the truth. We preach the gospel to ourselves, we take our own thoughts and emotions to the sidelines, tell them to hush, you and we open the Word to consider what is real, what is everlasting.
And it is NO small feat. That is why we must consider it a practice.
I first engaged this idea a few years ago when I began following Sara Hagerty's blog: Every Bitter Thing is Sweet. Her story and her words drew me in and reinforced some things I'd been learning in my own study. She describes her practice of adoration this way [from this post]:
"I take a passage of scripture that speaks a truth about God and I repeat those words back to Him. God, you are my strong tower. I praise you for being my strong tower. I let my mind linger and clear a space in my heart to receive. He writes back, and reminds me of the times where I’ve seen this very truth activated in my own life. I praise Him some more for that reminder. I wait, listen. Pray back. Speak back. Sing back. Write back. All to the God who is, on this particular day, especially, my strong tower."
"Beholding. I’m learning to behold something other than myself, craving the One I’ve been beholding, because how could I not? Enough glances towards this Man and words overflowing from those looks and I’m starting to believe He is who He says He is. In my daily, for my daily life."
So this is what we are doing this month. A little band of Christ followers, opening the Psalms and considering what is true about God. Saying those truths back to Him. Praising Him for being true and present and for us. I'm learning to "behold something other than myself" - it's the best sort of disorienting.
I spend so much of my day -a shocking part of it!- thinking and acting me-centric. I have a strong awareness of myself, my needs, my dislikes, my discomfort.
But stepping back to adore and replacing these thoughts and ways with Christ-centric words...the practice of adoration, of meditation, of praying His Word back to Him...this is what reorients me to Real Life.
The abundant kind He promised.
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click image to view full list of my #write31days series: Praying the Psalms