|Posted by Lorraine Serra on February 2, 2012 at 9:25 AM|
So as not to leave Psalm 145 as a pleasant meditation left behind now to move on to other things, I want to share with you a little bit of the background explaining its prominence in the Jewish tradition.
Many faiths have prayers which are recited regularly because of the doctrinal and meditative wealth they contain, not to mention the unity which comes as a congregation speaks praise to God as one voice.
Our Lord Jesus even gave us His own instruction on how to pray a prayer of unity: Our Father, who art in heaven (Matthew 6 and Luke 11)
Yet, how often do we recite that prayer? Some denominations recite the Lord’s Prayer at every service; others only now and then, and still others not at all, except perhaps at funerals.
I have observed that among evangelical circles there is great caution about repetitive prayers, based on the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 6. Babbling many words and thinking your prayers are heard based on sheer quantity, like the pagans of Jesus’ day, was not the way to speak to theFather.
But, speaking God’s WORD is different, because the WORD is life, and the WORD is power.
My study revealed, in a nutshell, that Psalm 145 is hailed as the crown jewel of David’s psalms because it is such a rich tapestry and work of art in its poetic style as an acrostic (alphabetical psalm) and because it can be prayed many ways.
It allows for deeper experience of God’s presence and helps us recount the great attributes of God as Warrior, Defender, Deliverer, Provider, Comforter, Lover.
In fact, it was part of the Jewish tradition to meditate for one hour and then to recite this psalm three times a day, twice in the morning devotions and once before the afternoon devotions. Wow! How many devotions do you have per day??
The reason for this tradition was centered around the importance of meditating and digesting the key verse,
Verse 16 “You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.”
This concept of contentedness and trust in God is worth meditating upon. Whoever sings this psalm and the praises to God within it surely merits the world to come, is what the Rabbis of old taught. Happy are they who dwell in the house of the Lord. They will praise God again and again.
This made me recall that Daniel prayed three times a day, next to his open window, even when his life was at risk for doing so. I wonder if he was praying Psalm 145? Certainly, continual reflection on these words can nurture our confidence, courage and passion for our covenant God in our circumstances.
So, worship the LORD with this Psalm. Come into His presence daily, or many times a day, with thanksgiving and praise in your heart. Pray it in part or in its entirety. Pray it as you awaken, as you fall asleep. Pray it while you drive or stand in line somewhere waiting. Act it out with your hands and your posture in private. It is an awesome way to bring your gift of all you are to His throne.
Psalm 145 precedes the final grouping of Psalms 146 through 150 which are known as the Great Hallel. These psalms are all about Halleluia, Joy, Happiness and Satisfaction of knowing God as Lord and Lover of our souls. In the Dead Sea Scrolls text of Psalm 145, every verse was punctuated with the words, "Blessed is God, and blessed is His name forever." It seems it might have been a practice to communally recite the psalm antiphonally, that is, back and forth between two groups. I think that's cool!
We join our voices with generations of worshippers in entering God’s domain with this psalm of great happiness and rejoicing, Psalm145. The fruit of our lips will never become just lip service when we take time to imagine as we recite God’s “greatness”, His “wondrous deeds” and feel God’s “majestic glory” and “splendor”. Experience His “caring” and “lifting up” when we feel bowed down because we pause to reflect and speak words of truth and promise.
Open your hands to Him to receive God’s grace and love when you pray verse 16. Don’t rush to get through these 21 verses. Pray a small part through the day. This will help the WORD sink into your heart.
And guess what happens then? “The things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.” Gaining God’s perspective through the poetry of David’s passionate heart is a true blessing for us all.
It might be a good idea to meditate through “31 Days of Praise” every now and then. I think I just might start over again tomorrow!! Blessings to you, dear friends.