Praying the Psalms
Sermon Series: Praying the Psalms
Sermon Title: Learning to Pray
As the prayer book of the Bible, Psalms provides us tools to teach us how to pray. The Psalms are meant to strengthen and deepen our prayer life so that our lives will bear more of the fruit of Christ. In particular, Psalm 1 teaches us to listen first, it shows us the two ways to live, and it points us to theBlessing.
Point 1: Psalm 1 Teaches Us to Listen First
In Psalm 1 (and 2), God speaks first, setting the agenda. In the same way, our own prayer life should reflect this pattern. To deepen our communion with Him, we should begin by listening to God through His word in order to hear and understand His agenda.
Point 2: Psalm 1 Shows Us the Two Ways to Live
Similar to Jesus’ references in the Sermon on the Mount (two gates, two paths, two trees, two houses), Psalm 1 describes two ways to live: Blessed and Wicked (v. 1). As a state of satisfaction and well-being,
to be blessed is to delight in the Law of the Lord (v. 2) and to be like a tree planted by a stream (v. 3). The blessed life listens to, meditates on, and finds refreshment in God’s final and authoritative word. In doing so, the fruits of the Spirit are produced. This is a description of the Christian life. To be wicked is to walk in the counsel of the wicked, to stand in the way of sinners, and to sit in the seat of scoffers (v. 1). Essentially, the wicked life thinks wrong, acts wrong, and promotes wrong—all of which result in being carried away by the wind like chaff (v. 4).
Point 3: Psalm 1 Points Us to the Blessing
To delight in God’s word is a struggle, and to assume we are the blessed ones of Psalm 1 is to think far too highly of ourselves. There is only one Blessed One: Christ. He thoroughly delighted in the Father, loving God’s law completely. Jesus rejected bad counsel, countering it with the truth of the Scriptures. He avoided walking the way of the wicked. Instead, He communed with the Father fully, desiring to do His will. At the cross, Jesus took upon Himself the judgment of the wicked, growing thirsty and becoming like chaff—all on our behalf. We are not the blessed ones of Psalm 1, yet the good news is that we can be united with theBlessed One! We foster this relationship through prayerful meditation.
Martin Luther’s four tips for prayerful meditation (TACS):
- Determine the Teaching: Read God’s word with the aim to understand and internalize it.
- Discover the Adoration: Ask yourself, “How does this passage cause me to adore God?”
- Make Confession: Confess your sins to God.
- Voice Supplication: Ask God for His help and supply.