The Psalms’ Inherent Prayer

HomeCongregational CareThe Psalms’ Inherent Prayer

The Psalms’ Inherent Prayer

Written by: Julia Smolucha

The Reverend Dr. Katie Snipes Lancaster

The Reverend Dr. Katie Snipes Lancaster

The bible is many things: ancient account, poem, parable, philosophical musing, family lore, history, travel narrative, prophetic dreams, letters to people near and far, and a multiplicity of telling and retelling of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus.

Psalms are inherently prayer. Some are lament, others praise. Some are on the scale of whole kingdoms, others deeply personal. Some look at the natural world as an exposition on how to see God’s realm more clearly, others look to interpersonal relationships or national politics to make known the nearness of the Lord our God.

Last summer, I undertook a project called 100 Days of Psalms and Prayers, which took us through the first one hundred Psalms. Since there are 50 Psalms yet to consider, we will spend the 50 days called the Season of Easter which stretches from Easter Sunday to the day of Pentecost (​​pentēkostē meaning the fiftieth day).

This time I will write a short prayer to accompany the Psalm, and I will use excerpts of Psalms 101–150 from The Message, an adaptation of scripture written by Eugene Peterson. About his translation he says, “If there is anything distinctive about The Message, perhaps it is because the text is shaped by the hand of a working pastor. For most of my adult life I have been given a primary responsibility for getting the message of the Bible into the lives of the men and women with whom I worked. I did it from the pulpit and lectern, in home Bible studies, and at mountain retreats, through conversations in hospitals and nursing homes, over coffee in kitchens, and while strolling on an ocean beach. The Message grew from the soil of forty years of pastoral work.”

May the inherent prayer of the Psalms unfold for you in this Season of Easter.

The Psalms’ Inherent Prayer

Monday, May 30, 2022 The Reverend Dr. Katie Snipes Lancaster Psalm 144 Blessed be God, my mountain, who trains me to fight fair and well. He’s the bedrock on which I stand, the castle in which I live, my rescuing knight, The high crag where I run for dear life, while he lays my enemies low. I wonder why you care, God— why do you bother with us [...]

The Psalms’ Inherent Prayer

Sunday, May 29, 2022 The Reverend Dr. Katie Snipes Lancaster Psalm 143 Listen to this prayer of mine, God; pay attention to what I’m asking. Answer me—you’re famous for your answers! Do what’s right for me. But don’t, please don’t, haul me into court; not a person alive would be acquitted there. The enemy hunted me down; he kicked me and stomped me within an inch of my life. [...]

The Psalms’ Inherent Prayer

Saturday, May 28, 2022 The Reverend Dr. Katie Snipes Lancaster Psalm 142 I cry out loudly to God, loudly I plead with God for mercy. I spill out all my complaints before him, and spell out my troubles in detail: “As I sink in despair, my spirit ebbing away, you know how I’m feeling, Know the danger I’m in, the traps hidden in my path. Look right, look [...]

The Psalms’ Inherent Prayer

Friday, May 27, 2022 The Reverend Dr. Katie Snipes Lancaster Psalm 141 God, come close. Come quickly! Open your ears—it’s my voice you’re hearing! Treat my prayer as sweet incense rising; my raised hands are my evening prayers. Post a guard at my mouth, God, set a watch at the door of my lips. Don’t let me so much as dream of evil or thoughtlessly fall into bad [...]

The Psalms’ Inherent Prayer

Thursday, May 26, 2022 The Reverend Dr. Katie Snipes Lancaster Psalm 140 God, get me out of here, away from this evil; protect me from these vicious people. All they do is think up new ways to be bad; they spend their days plotting war games. They practice the sharp rhetoric of hate and hurt, speak venomous words that maim and kill. God, keep me out of the [...]

The Psalms’ Inherent Prayer

Wednesday, May 25, 2022 The Reverend Dr. Katie Snipes Lancaster Psalm 139 God, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand. I’m an open book to you; even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking. You know when I leave and when I get back; I’m never out of your sight. You know everything I’m going to say before I start the first sentence. I look behind [...]