I’m reading the Psalms, the prayer book of the Bible. The Psalms are a spiritual medicine cabinet. It’s soul therapy: The ability to express our rage, fears, resentments like a psychoanalyst helps us uncover neurotic elements within us. This means we can bring to God whatever we feel about Him and don’t need to cover up our own rottenness or weaknesses.

The Psalms should be approached not as a student wanting to acquire knowledge, but a fellow pilgrim seeking to acquire relationship. More than any other book in the Bible it reveals what the heartfelt, soul-starved, single minded relationship with God looks like. The Psalms are messy and disordered just like life. The random ordering of the 150 psalms mirrors the seesaw cycle of intimacy and fears abandonment of what we experience with the Lord.

The Psalms is a sampling of spiritual journals, much like personal letters to God. The intended audience of the Psalms is God. The Psalms give people struggling the ability to align their beliefs in God with real experiences. Just like our moods, sometimes the authors are vindictive, self-righteous, paranoid, or petty. They are not so much representing God to the people, as the people representing themselves to God. The Psalms are not so much theology, as expression on the faith walk.

David’s spiritual secret was he intentionally involved God in all the details of his life: killing wild animals barehanded, felling Goliath, surviving Saul’s onslaughts, routing the Philistines—surely earned him a starring role, but David found a way to make God the one on center stage. David reoriented his life to God’s realm… thus the Psalms lead us from an obsession with ourselves to the actual presence of God.

Jesus lived off of the Psalms! Satan misquoted Psalm 91 jerking it out of context in an attempt to get Jesus to throw Himself off the temple. Jesus rebuked Satan with another Psalm. Jesus used Psalm 22 “My God my God why has thou forsaken Me?” The Psalms teach us how to trust God beyond the perimeter of darkness.

Bonhoeffer suggests that the Psalms are Gods’ language course… just as infants learn the mother tongue from their parents, Christians can learn the language of prayer from Psalms.

Read the Psalms with me this month!