Posted by: Philip Rushton | June 25, 2012

Summer in the Psalms: Reading schedule and journal process

“There is no aspect of the interior life, no kind of religious experience, no spiritual need of humanity that is not depicted and lived out in the Psalms. But we cannot lay hands on these riches unless we are willing to work for them.” Thomas Merton, Praying the Psalms

Thomas Merton emphasizes that the Psalms are an amazing resource in our spiritual journey. Last night our small group reflected on how we have benefited from the Psalms.  We talked about how the Psalms teach us the diversity of prayer. Prayer is more then simply asking God for things. It is also a means by which we reflect on who God is, express our lament or frustration, and celebrate the good things God is doing in our lives and in our world. The Psalms, then, give us a grammar or a language that helps us communicate with God fully and deeply.

Yet, as Merton explains, unpacking these riches requires an investment on our part. To benefit from the Psalms we need to spend time in them. They need to be close to our hearts and mind regularly, we need to learn to meditate on them and understand them.  Furthermore, since the Psalms  are written in a different culture and time it takes some work for us to enter into this other world and translate it into our context.

This summer I encourage you to join the church family in this journey through the Psalms. I handed out a reading schedule and journal process on Sunday, but wanted to post it online for those who were away. I’ve created a new sidebar that will list the weekly Psalm reading schedule. This week we will be reading Psalm 1-14.

I. PROPOSED PROCESS

Our prayer schedule has broken the psalms into two psalms per day. You can pray them both in one sitting or develop a rhythm of morning and evening prayer. The following is a recommended process for reading and praying the psalms. It follows the acronym REAP

READ:
Read through the Psalm slowly. Absorb the words and make a note of verses that stand out to you. Write out some key verses.

EXAMINE
Take time to right out some insights, ask questions, and seek clarification for things that confuse you. I recommend having a good study bible available to clarify issues you might face.

APPLY
Does this text provide instruction, encouragement, revelation, conviction? Write down what God is teaching you through the text.

PRAY
What is God saying to you in the text? What do you want to say to God in light of what you have read. Remember, prayer is a two way conversation.

II. RESOURCES FOR GOING DEEPER

1. Pastor Phil’s Blog, Intersect
– Every Monday I will be posting a, “going deeper” section, which will provide insights and teaching on how to pray the psalms. You can post comments, ask questions and share insights.

2. Eugene Petersons, Praying With The Psalms
– This is a simple and accessible devotional book. Peterson offers short insights and prayers based on each psalm

3. Walter Brueggeman, Praying the Psalms
– This is a more in depth study on how to connect our lives with the Psalms. Brueggeman is one of the leading Old Testament scholars of our day

4.  C.S. Lewis, Reflections on the Psalms

– Can’t go wrong with C.S. Lewis!

5. “Rhythms of Prayer” – Prayer Retreat At Mt. Angel Abbey on August 2nd Register in the office today!

6. “Evening of the Arts.” – We want to encourage you to engage with the Psalms in a creative way.  In September we are going to host an evening of the arts where we can present art work, photography, poetry, or music we have created in response to what we have learned in the Psalms.

III. PRAYER SCHEDULE

Week One:
June 25 Psalm 1 & 2
June 26 Psalm 3 & 4
June 27 Psalm 5 & 6
June 28 Psalm 7 & 8
June 29 Psalm 9 & 10
June 30 Psalm 11 & 12
July 1 Psalm 13 & 14

Week Two:
July 2 Psalm 15 & 16
July 3 Psalm 17 & 18
July 4 Psalm 19 & 20
July 5 Psalm 21 & 22
July 6 Psalm 23 & 24
July 7 Psalm 25 & 26
July 8 Psalm 27 & 28

Week Three:
July 9 Psalm 29 & 30
July 10 Psalm 31 & 32
July 11 Psalm 33 & 34
July 12 Psalm 35 & 36
July 13 Psalm 37 & 38
July 14 Psalm 39 & 40
July 15 Psalm 41 & 42

Week Four:
July 16 Psalm 43 & 44
July 17 Psalm 45 & 46
July 18 Psalm 47 & 48
July 19 Psalm 49 & 50
July 20 Psalm 51 & 52
July 21 Psalm 53 & 54
July 22 Psalm 55 & 56

Week Five:
July 23 Psalm 57 & 58
July 24 Psalm 59 & 60
July 25 Psalm 61 & 62
July 26 Psalm 63 & 64
July 27 Psalm 65 & 66
July 28 Psalm 67 & 68
July 29 Psalm 69 & 70

Week Six:
July 30 Psalm 71 & 72
July 31 Psalm 73 & 74
Aug 1 Psalm 75 & 76
Aug 2 Psalm 77 & 78
Aug 3 Psalm 79 & 80
Aug 4 Psalm 81 & 82
Aug 5 Psalm 83 & 84

Week Seven:
Aug 6 Psalm 85 & 86
Aug 7 Psalm 87 & 88
Aug 8 Psalm 89 & 90
Aug 9 Psalm 91 & 92
Aug 10 Psalm 93 & 93
Aug 11 Psalm 94 & 95
Aug 12 Psalm 96 & 97

Week Eight:
Aug 13 Psalm 98 & 99
Aug 14 Psalm 100 & 101
Aug 15 Psalm 102 & 103
Aug 16 Psalm 104 & 105
Aug 17 Psalm 106 & 107
Aug 18 Psalm 108 & 109
Aug 19 Psalm 110 & 111

Week Nine:
Aug 20 Psalm 112 & 113
Aug 21 Psalm 114 & 115
Aug 22 Psalm 116 & 117
Aug 23 Psalm 118 & 119
Aug 24 Psalm 120 & 121
Aug 25 Psalm 122 & 123
Aug 26 Psalm 124 & 125

Week Ten:
Aug 27 Psalm 126 & 127
Aug 28 Psalm 128 & 129
Aug 29 Psalm 130 & 131
Aug 30 Psalm 132 & 133
Aug 31 Psalm 134 & 135
Sept 1 Psalm 136 & 137
Sept 2 Psalm 138 & 139

Week Eleven:
Sept 3 Psalm 140 & 141
Sept 4 Psalm 142 & 143
Sept 5 Psalm 144 & 145
Sept 6 Psalm 146 & 147
Sept 7 Psalm 148 & 149
Sept 8 Psalm 150

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Responses

  1. I am simply logging in tonight to say I am going to pray through the psalms with anyone else so incline and encourage you to write your thoughts, insights, and questions as we do this together this summer. Blessings! Mary

    • Thanks for posting Mary. Looking forward to this journey together!

  2. Philip,

    This was the first Intersect message that read. I linked to it through a “Google Alert” for last year when I was preparing a study on the Psalms for adult Sunday school – my first ever task, despite my advanced age, for leading Sunday Bible study. I am shy in recommending additional sources considering that I am but a layman and that you may have already explored those sources. However, here goes – –
    Two modern sources that I found to be spiritually rich in thought are:
    Unidentified, trans., Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Psalms, The Prayer Book of the Bible, (Minneapolis, MN, Augsburg 1989).
    John W. Doberstein, trans., Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together, “The Secret of the Psalter”, (San Fransicso, CA, Harper 1954) 44-51.

    I also found a wealth of helpful commentary in Augustine of Hippo, Jerome, Diodorus of Tarsus, John Chrysostom, Basil “the Great”, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Matthew Henry, and Charles Spurgeon. In the commentaries of the reformers, I exercise care to pass over those brief outbursts against other Christian groups and concentrate on the positive value of their thoughts on the Psalms. How’s that for an eclectic reading? I am continuing to “devour” those writings. It is slow going.

    I have no idea what moved me to write this. Thank you for reading it.

    Regards,

    Jim

  3. I admire the seriousness and investment of time you’ve put into this teaching opportunity. We need more people like you in our churches, who take the time to study scripture deeply and well! Blessings as you continue in your ministry!


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