This past Sunday, I finished a sermon series on prayer. I enjoyed sharing it, and enjoyed hearing how folks have responded to it. But, there is more to share. There is always more to share – stuff that came too late, stuff that didn’t fit, and stuff that I couldn’t work into the messages or the worship times. So, this week’s blog entry will be the catch-all for all the good stuff that got away – the leftovers, the latecomers, and the stuff I love but didn’t get to share.
I’ll start with a story I heard just today. A woman told me about a time several years ago she prayed with someone she didn’t know (taking the theme, pray now, seriously). She was at the eye doctor, and just had her eyes dilated. As she waited, a man started talking with her. At first, she wasn’t interested in talking, so she just gave him one-word answers. But he began to tell his life story, and discuss his hard-luck reality. She felt led to ask him if she could pray for him. He said okay. She prayed. Then he asked, Are you married? Sometimes we pray, and we get to watch for welcome answers. And sometimes we pray, and we get unwelcome questions.
And today – again, just today – I came across this video. It’s a pretty good introduction to the Book of Psalms. It’s 9 minutes long, but well worth it:
Then there’s this video. I really wanted to use it on the Sunday we looked at the 23rd Psalm, but it just didn’t fit. Well, it fits here.
And then there’s this powerful article about lament, prayer, praise, and hope. You need to read this. And then there’s this from Philip Yancey on unanswered prayer and Bono. Speaking of Bono, it turns out that he’s also a fan of my favorite writer on ministry – Eugene Peterson. And Fuller Seminary got the two of them together to talk about the Psalms. The result is an interesting conversation between a pop star and a pastor – plus a whole bunch of other cool resources.
If you’ve made it this far, you are, either: 1) my mom, if she had the internet (which she doesn’t); 2) bored with the Olympics (and thus surfing the internet for anything that’s not performance-enhanced); or, 3) a part of Fern Creek Christian. If you are #3, I hope you are planning to be a part of our 24 Hours of Prayer. If you’ve not yet signed up, you can do so here.
Let me end with one more latecomer: I was perusing the clearance shelf at Half Price Books, and came across a book of lament Psalms, ones where the writer takes a crack at writing her own personal Psalms of grief and anguish. Of course, I came across the book after I preached on laments; but, oh well. It does challenge me, though – and maybe you, too – to try my hand at writing my own psalms.
So, maybe, at the end of the day, the challenge isn’t simply to read the biblical Psalms, or even just pray them – but to so saturate myself in their language that I learn to pray them, in my words and in my way. Maybe I’ll try writing a psalm. Maybe you should, too. Now, nobody’s saying it will be Bible. But it might be Bible through me. And isn’t that, after all, the point?