Summer Book Group: Praying the Psalms

July 05 2017
July 05 2017


To complement our summer sermon series, “Praying for Life” you are invited to read Praying the Psalms: Engaging Scripture and the Life of the Spirit by Walter Brueggemann. A book group will be hosted by Steve Babuljak and Josh Mackanic at their house (14 Montell Street, Oakland, CA 94611) and facilitated by Patrick Vaughn and Garrett Shepherd. The group will meet three times July 12, August 2, and August 9 at 7:30pm. Join us!

The book is short (under 100 pages). We will follow the guide below as we use the book to discuss the Psalms, prayer and ways to deepen our own prayer life.

July 12 Discussion: Chapters 1-2
August 2 Discussion: Chapters 3-4
August 9 Discussion: Chapter 5

I love this statement from Old Testament scholar Walter Brueggemann. It reminds me that prayer isn’t a spiritual escape mechanism from my present circumstances or from this world. Prayer is an intersection between my experiences and the living God. It is a means of bringing all of who we are before Father, Son and Holy Spirit who want to commune with us. As we dedicate ourselves to the work of prayer we discover the living God who speaks to us as through his written Word the Holy Scriptures as it intersects with our everyday lives. God’s Word is simultaneously like a mirror and a window. As we place ourselves before the Psalms we discover who we are. They give us words that describe our human condition and experiences even as we are in the middle of them. Ultimately, they reflect in a very real way, who we are before God. However, the Psalms are not just a mirror, if they were then we would be stuck on ourselves and overly obsessed with our experiences. The Psalms are also a window into the very heart of God where we discover the character of God. Prayer changes us, it shapes and molds us into creatures that reflect the image and glory of the God who made us.

“In order to pray the Psalms, our work is to let our voices and minds and hearts run back and forth in regular and speedy interplay between the stylized and sometimes too familiar words of Scripture and our experience which we sense with poignancy. And when we do, we shall find that the words of Scripture bring power, shape, and authority to what we know about ourselves.” – Walter Brueggemann