Bonhoeffer, Praying the Psalms

My colleague, Jim Patterson, recently passed on to me an excerpt from Bonhoeffer’s Life Together where he discusses praying the Psalms. It is a good piece on how and why we can pray the Psalms, including the imprecatory psalms and the ones that claim innocence. His basic argument is that the Psalms are the prayers of Jesus and we join him in praying in his name.

As we prepare here for Don Whitney’s seminar on praying the Psalms tomorrow, I thought I’d share a few quotes from this section by Bonhoeffer.

“From ancient times in the Church a special significance has been attached to the common [in the sense of ‘corporate’] use of the psalms…. The custom has been largely lost and we must find our way back to its prayers.”

“…the prayer of the psalms belongs in a peculiar way to the fellowship. Even if a verse or a psalm is not one’s own prayer, it is nevertheless the prayer of another member of the fellowship.”

By praying the Psalms one “learns to pray the prayer of the Body of Christ. And that lifts him above his personal concerns and allows him to pray selflessly.”

“The more deeply we grow into the psalms and the more often we pray them as our own, the more simple and rich will our prayer become.”

[BTW: Whitney’s seminar tomorrow is open to the public. Feel free to come for the seminar even if you have not previously registered]

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