Have you ever listened to or written down what you pray? The fist time, I was blown away when I realized that 90% of my prayers focused on me! So I started on a journey to focus more of my prayer time on God, on who He is and what He values. The logic went like this: if I spend time on God and what’s important to God then what’s important to God will become important to me.
One book that helped change the way I pray is Praying Through The Psalms by Ben Patterson. And the process is pretty simple. Patterson encourages us to:
1. Begin by reading a Psalm out loud. Take your time, notice the words, the setting, the emotions being communicated.
2. Allow the Psalm to guide your prayers. Read the Psalm and then respond to what God said. Patterson provides three words to get the dialogue going:
- Rejoice – what did I read / discover that causes me to be grateful, to praise and give thanks
- Repent – what did I read that caused me to see the sin in my life? Where I need to change
- Request – what in the Psalm can guide or change the way I pray for others
3. Put the Psalm in your own words. Think about it. Ask questions. Then paraphrase the Psalm and pray it back to God. Immediately, I think of the joy God feels when His people pray
4. Memorize the Psalm. Don’t panic it’s not what you think. Take the time to learn it. To write the Psalm down. To let the Psalm become part of your day, part of your week and life. This allows God’s word to become part of who you are. A resource to draw from during those tines when you don’t know what to do or say
5. Let the Psalm act as a Marinade in your life. A marinade is a sauce often used in barbeque in which food is soaked before cooking to flavor or tenderize it (I personally like Jack’s Old South Meat Marinade but that’s another story). Allow the Psalms you read to marinate your life and soul. Re-read them. Ask questions about them…take your time as you go through them and you’ll discover that they begin to change the way you live and think.