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Thoughts and insights from Jubilee Church Wirral

Psalms

By Helen O’Brien, Life Group leader, Jubilee Church Wirral

As a child my favourite book of the Bible was Proverbs.

I used to quote chapter 27 verse 14 all the time: You might as well curse your friends as wake them up early in the morning with a loud greeting. (Good News Bible). I never was a morning person.

Or chapter 28 verse 1: The wicked run when no one is chasing them, but an honest person is as brave as a lion. (Good News Bible). That was my excuse for not taking part in cross country running.

These verses still make me chuckle and I may still quote them on Sunday morning when one or other of Mick’s customers rings at 8:15 to check he has remembered to order the fence panels or when Ian reminds me I have to run 5k with him on Monday.

However, I would say that now my favourite book of the Bible is actually Psalms. Having some life experience behind me I find the amazing collection of prayers very helpful.

Mick used to use the youth Bible all the time. He liked the section in the front that said “Feeling sad? Read XYZ. Feeling lonely? Read ABC”.

Psalms is a bit like that. The morning devotional app that Mick and I use every day is called Lectio 365. It is from the 24/7 prayer people and it encourages us to P.R.A.Y:

‘P’: PAUSING to be still.
‘R’: REJOICING with a Psalm and REFLECTING on God’s Word.
‘A’: ASKING God to help us and others
‘Y’: YIELDING to His will in our lives, come what may.

As part of the “rejoice” section the phrase “I choose to rejoice in God’s goodness today, joining with the ancient praise of all God’s people in the words of Psalm 9…” was used on Saturday but the attribute of God changes every day.

On Friday, it was God’s rescue (Psalm 35), on Thursday it was God’s forgiveness (Psalm 103).

We may not always feel like rejoicing though and there are Psalms for that.
For example, Psalm 31:9-13

Be merciful to me, Lord, for I am in trouble;
my eyes are tired from so much crying; I am completely worn out.
I am exhausted by sorrow,
and weeping has shortened my life.
I am weak from all my troubles; even my bones are wasting away.
All my enemies, and especially my neighbours,  treat me with contempt.
Those who know me are afraid of me;  when they see me in the street, they run away.
Everyone has forgotten me, as though I were dead; I am like something thrown away.
I hear many enemies whispering; terror is all around me.
They are making plans against me, plotting to kill me.

I love the rawness of this Psalm. The honesty of its author. It is ok to be real with God.

The variety of emotions and observations, the beautiful words of worship and anguish mean so much to me, all the more so because Jesus himself will have known these Psalms and used them in worship. If it was good enough for Him, it’s good enough for me.

On our Christian holiday last year we started the day by praising God reading or listening to a Psalm. I enjoyed this version of Psalm 92 and I would therefore like to encourage you to explore Psalms if you aren’t familiar with them and include in the comments your favourite one.

Andrew Greenhalgh and Julie Greenhalgh Upton Life Group leaders Jubilee Church Wirral

Helen O’Brien with her husband Mick

Comments – let us know what you think

1 Comment

  1. Andrew G

    Excellent blog Helen. I like the mnemonic. I heard a similar one some years ago which I still use – P for Praise, R for Repent, A for Ask and Y for Yield.
    Lovely song too!

    Reply

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