Praying the Psalms

"When through continuous prayer the words of the Psalms are brought down into the heart, then the heart like good soil begins to produce by itself various flowers..."
-Ilias the presbyter, from The Philokalia

One of the things that I have always loved about the Anglican tradition as contained in The Book of Common Prayer (BCP), is the praying of Psalms each day. In the Common Prayer Book one prays through the entire Psalter each and every month. This practice was passed along to the American Methodists in John Wesley's revision of the Common Prayer Book, the Sunday Service Book, in which about 3/4 of the Psalter is arranged for daily reading throughout the month. A selected Psalter is still to be found in our Hymnal, but without being divided into daily sections as in the BCP and Wesley's BCP revision.

As I pray the Psalms, and have done so regularly for several years now, it is amazing how much of Jesus I see in them. It is wonderful just how many little hints and whispers and opaque outlines of the life and death and Resurrection of Jesus are continuously found in them. I believe that they teach us how to interpret Scripture "mystically," if I may use the term in that way.

The Psalms also, of course, give us a voice to pray many of the deep, dark, thoughts that we are taboo to talk about in Church, for some reason: our times of doubt, of anger, of not "doing just fine."

Do you folks ever pray the Psalms?

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Blogger Fr. Philip said...

Thank you for this post. I love the psalms as well. The strictest Orthodox practice and the current monastic practice is that the psalms are done once a week and twice during Great Lent. Unfortunately, I do not do that, though I should. A book you might be interested in is Christ in the Psalms by Patrick Henry Reardon. He does a short 1-2 page meditation on each psalm and points out important Christological truths. It is an excellent read. Have a blessed day!

9:28 AM, August 11, 2009  
Blogger Christiane said...

Yes. I pray one Psalm at least at morning vigil before dawn. The Psalms have a certain quality about them: they become like our own prayer, like when we say them, it is from our own hearts, and not something we have 'read'. This is a strange quality I have noticed.
I, too, see Christ the Lord in the imagery of the Psalms.

10:31 AM, August 16, 2009  

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