The Psalms’ Inherent Prayer

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April 16, 2022

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.

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