The Bible's Prayer Book
The greatest Prayer Book is found in the Bible. The greatest Hymn Book is also found there. It is the Psalter, otherwise known as the Book of Psalms. The Psalter is comprised of 150 Chapters. And of the 39 Books of the Old Testament, it is from the Psalms that we find most often on the lips of our Lord Jesus in the Gospel Accounts.
I am choosing to say something of the Psalter at this time for obvious reasons. As the current pandemic has us sequestered at greater lengths in our homes, we are hopefully turning to “our present help in times of danger” (Ps 46:1). And the Psalms can beautifully help us to form our prayers, and to make melody in our hearts as we join in worship together.
The Apostle Paul writes, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God” (Col 3:16).
It has rightly been said that the finest prayer is the one Jesus taught us to pray. And The Lord’s Prayer can be prayed many times a day. Our beloved Dr. Martin Luther recommends the heartfelt recitation at morning when rising, before each meal, and at evening before retiring. And interestingly, of the seven petitions laid out in succinct fashion, all seven petitions are found in expanded and beautiful hymn form in the Psalter. For example, consider the 4th petition of the Lord’s Prayer, “Give us this day our daily bread.” Then consider “The eyes of all wait upon you, O Lord, and you give them their food in due season. You open wide your hand, and satisfy the needs of every living creature” (Ps. 145:15-16).
What a joy to come to prayers and hymns in the Psalter that correspond to the 6th and 7th petitions that cry out for our deliverance and protection from evil. Utilize the Psalter in your homes and individual lives!
Since You Asked…
What is meant by the term “liturgy”?
(from the Greek, “work of the people” or “public service”): more than a set form of service or one particular service, the liturgy is the whole body of texts and music used for the worship of God. The Lutheran Book of Worship is the liturgy of many Lutheran churches in North America. (from “Manual on the Liturgy” companion to the LBW, from Augsburg Pub.)
Our Lutheran liturgy involves the participation of all who are gathered: clergy, worship assistants, and laity. Worship is not a spectator sport. We have been gathered by God to receive from Him. And so in reverence, we give thanks by offering praise and thanksgiving to our Triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Liturgical worship helps us all share in this.