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Psalms, the Prayer Book of the Bible

“Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable.  One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare thy mighty acts.  I will speak of the glorious honour of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works.  And men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts: and I will declare thy greatness.  They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness.  The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.  The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.  All thy works shall praise thee, O LORD; and thy saints shall bless thee.  They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power;  To make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom.  Thy kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and thy dominion endureth throughout all generations.”  (Psalm 145: 3-13)

In our Lutheran Catechism, prayer is defined as speaking to God with our hearts, asking Him for all our bodily and spiritual needs in the Name of Jesus, and the thanking and praising of His holy Name. The Book of Psalms fulfills this definition, and thus can rightly be called THE PRAYER BOOK OF THE BIBLE.

Some of the psalms are prophetic in nature. The Lord himself verified this when He prayed excerpts from the Twenty Second Psalm when He was on the cross. Other expressions given in this psalm also were fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

There are psalms which are cries for help in distress, for deliverance in time of trouble, for strength in trial, for comfort in sorrow, and for peace in strife and warfare. The psalms include expressions of deep penitence for sin: “Against thee, thee only have I sinned and done this evil in thy sight.”; a pleading for God’s forgiveness: “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”; a request for restoration: “Create in me a clean heart, 0 God, and renew a right spirit within me.”; and the expressed need for being sustained by the Spirit: “Uphold me with thy free spirit.” (Psalm 51)

Each of us has found these various needs in our lives as Christians, and we have been able to enter into these prayers in heart and spirit so that we have prayed them as the very psalms of our hearts. I thank God for them today, and often use them as my “prayer book”. I admit that there was a time in my earlier years when I did not know to appreciate them. I share an experience from my youth. Among the many treasured memories of our church here in Seattle were frequent home fellowship meetings. I always wanted to be present so that I could enjoy the hymns and songs and listen to the testimonies of the Christians as they followed the counsel of St. Paul: “When ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying •” ( I Corinthians 14: 26)

I especially recall the words which one Chris tian sister spoke at a particular meeting. In her “psalm” she said that the Book of Psalms had become a special comfort, inspiration, and joy to her in her walk of faith. That evening when I returned home, I began to read the psalms. However, it was not until later in my spiritual growth that I came to value the psalms–not only for their poetic beauty–but to understand whereof this christian sister spoke. It was through the knowledge of sin and grace in. my own heart that the psalms took on new and deeper meaning for me. Then they also became my prayer book and book of praise because God had put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God. (Psalm 40: 3) The praise of God is a very vital part of our prayer life. “Sing unto the Lord a new song. For He has done marvelous things. His right hand and His holy arm hath gotten him the victory. The Lord has made known His salvation.” (Psalm 98: 1,2)

“Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; and his greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall praise thy works to another, and shall declare Thy might acts.” (Psalm 145)

“Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous; for praise is comely for the upright. Praise the Lord with harp; sing unto him with the psaltery and an instrument of ten strings. Sing unto him a new song; play skillfully with a loud noise. For the word of the Lord is right, and all his works are done in truth.” (Psalm 33: 1-4)

  God has prepared for Himself a song of praise to be sung throughout eternity.  Those who are in fellowship with Him through His Son, the only Mediator, are privileged to sing this song.  One Christian author said that this is the song that: “the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for Joy” at the creation, (Job 38:7); it is the song sung after passing through the Red Sea in the days of Moses; it is the song of Paul and Silas in the Philippi prison.  Yes, it is the song of the redeemed who have come out of great tribulation and who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

By the late Pastor A.C. Holmgren August 1989

 Oh, can you sing the new song of salvation,  While on this grief laden earth you dwell? Yonder the ransomed in sweet adoration;  Joyful forever, the anthem swell. First they learned it while yet beginners   When to the cross of Jesus they came. There at its foot is the refuge of sinners.  Pardon and peace in His blessed Name.   "Heart-filled rejoicing this song is producing,  Lauding forever the saving blood. Satan was conquering, now he is losing,  Grace all redeeming, new strength bestowed. For Immanuel burst the prison, Judah's strong Lion the victory gained; Now is the Sun of God's righteousness risen.  I have redemption through Him obtained.   "Death has been vanquished and life reigns eternal,  Perfect atonement by Christ is brought, Entrance is given to mansions supernal,  And our accuser's defeat is wrought. Blest am I through my Saviour’s merit,  Heaven's great King, by His wondrous grace Made me His child, I shall glory inherit.  Safe in His keeping I sing His praise."   I. Traasdal  

Submitted by Pastor Stan

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