Thursday, October 03, 2013

The Transforming Power of Praying the Psalms (PrayerLife)

Sunrise on Lake Erie, Monroe, MI
Vic Holtz is pastor of Monroe Vineyard Church. Vic sent me this today.

"I have recently incorporated the Psalms into my prayer time and found it has helped me with a greater connection to Christ.  I was prompted by the Facebook site of N. T. Wright, one of my favorite theologians.  He has written a book on the subject."
Wright writes:
"The Psalms are the steady, sustained subcurrent of healthy Christian living. They shaped the praying and vocation even of Jesus himself. They can and will do the same for us.
The regular praying and singing of the Psalms is transformative. It changes the way we understand the deepest elements of who we are, or rather, who, where, when, and what we are: we are creatures of space, time, and matter, and though we take our normal understandings of these for granted, it is my suggestion that the Psalms will gently but firmly transform our understandings of all of them. They do this in order that we may be changed, transformed, so that we look at the world, one another, and ourselves in a radically different way, which we believe to be God's way.
People who pray the Psalms will be worshiping the God who made them, and one of the basic spiritual laws is that you become like what you worship. More particularly, however, it will happen because people who pray the Psalms will be learning . . . to live in God's time as well as in their own, in God's space as well as in their own, and even in and as God's 'matter'--the stuff of which we're made--as well as in and as our own.
When we celebrate the goodness and variety of creation, we are celebrating the power and glory of Jesus himself."
~N.T. Wright, from The Case for the Psalms
“A characteristic blend of learning, personal insight and spiritual perception. This book will be of enormous help to Christians who want to know how to make fuller use of one of the greatest scriptural resources for prayer.” (Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury)

“Prayer is an act of rebellion. In this incisive and fresh look at the Book of the Psalms, N.T. Wright invites us to enter an alternative worldview that the Psalms embody. Let this book lead you to the Psalms—but beware, it’s the wardrobe door into a new world order.” (Scot McKnight, author of The King Jesus Gospel)

“In The Case for the Psalms, Tom Wright invites readers to enter the biblical world of praise and prayer and be transformed by it. With characteristic clarity, vividness, and depth, Wright’s book will not only encourage you to read the Psalms, but to live them.” (Peter Enns, author of The Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Does and Doesn't Say about Human Origins)

“All our greatest treasures have a way of getting lost--then rediscovered. I can think of few greater treasures than the great songbook of the songs. I can think of no one better suited to explaining why and how they are to be treasured than N.T. Wright.” (John Ortberg, author of Who Is This Man?)

“Wright… knows the Bible about as well as he knows his name, and on this go plumbs the Psalms. The author’s reflections are pastoral, urging the reader to understand and then pray and sing the Psalms.” (Publishers Weekly)

“Wright finds both personal and ecclesiastical possibilities in the Psalms . . . mining poems for their meaning, seeking context, and searching for resonances in other locations . . . both informed and affecting.” (Library Journal)

“[N.T. Wright] writes a context for what he quotes that is almost as graceful, if not as stunningly beautiful, as the Psalms themselves.” (Booklist)