Prayer the church's banquet, angel's age,
God's breath in man returning to his birth,
The soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgrimage,
The Christian plummet sounding heav'n and earth

Engine against th' Almighty, sinner's tow'r,
Reversed thunder, Christ-side-piercing spear,
The six-days world transposing in an hour,
A kind of tune, which all things hear and fear;

Softness, and peace, and joy, and love, and bliss,
Exalted manna, gladness of the best,
Heaven in ordinary, man well drest,

The milky way, the bird of Paradise,
Church-bells beyond the stars heard, the soul's blood,
The land of spices; something understood.

- George Herbert, “Prayer”

 

Those who study human development observe that the way a child learns to speak is by hearing and repeating the words of her parents. The Psalms - the dog-eared prayerbook at the center of the Christian Scriptures - work like this, too: they are the words God gives us to learn to speak to the God who has spoken to us in Christ. So, whether you’re hoping to connect with God for the very first time, or have spent a lifetime as a praying follower of Jesus, you’re invited to join us in June as we listen to the “reversed thunder” of the Psalms and learn to enter into a praying life with God.

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Recommended resources

Reflections on the Psalms (C.S. Lewis).  This is a wise, probing reflection on the Psalms by one of the Christian Church’s finest minds from the 20th century.

The Case for the Psalms (N.T. Wright).  NT Wright is a leading biblical scholar, and this accessible yet thoughtful book probes the ways in which the Psalms shape the Christian story in our lives.

The Paraclete Psalter.  This prayerbook collection of the Psalms formats them in a user-friendly schedule to help you pray them through in their entirety over the course of a month, or a few months.

The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime (Phyllis Tickle). This user-friendly resource is an excellent introduction to “praying the hours”: taking up the rhythm of setting aside time at the beginning, middle, and close of the day to pray the Psalms, and reflect on Scripture. Tickle draws from the best of various historic Christian prayerbooks to produce this easy-to-use volume.

The Daily Office App (Mission St. Clare). This an adaptation of the Book of Common Prayer daily “offices” - services of prayer - that places the daily Psalms, Scriptures, and prayers in an easy-to-navigate app format.

Rejoicing in Lament (J. Todd Billings). Todd is a leading Reformed Christian theologian, someone with whom I’ve been fortunate to spend some time - and also has lived for the last few years with a rare and incurable kind of cancer. This book on lament, hope, and prayer is both deeply personal and profoundly theological. 

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