Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Questions for studying and praying through a psalm

These are questions used as a part of a study I'm leading- "The Spirituality of the Psalms" 
The Spirituality of the Psalms

Read the psalm over a number of times until you feel you have a good grasp of its “flow”.

Look at the psalm grammatically to see what the sentences say.

  • Who is speaking? 
  • What is/are the subject(s)? 
  • What actions are in the Psalm? 
  • Are there metaphors and images are used? 
  • What tenses are used (past, present, future)? 
  • Are there repeated words or phrases?
Write a sentence to capture the heart of the psalm.

Imagine the circumstances the author is writing about. The title may give a clue.

Does the psalm teach you something about God? Does it teach you something about human beings?

What type of psalm is this: prophecy, teaching, consolation, prayer, thanksgiving? If the Psalter is the Bible in miniature what part is expressed- Law, prophecy, wisdom, or history?

Moving from the intention of the human author to the Divine Author, and looking at the broad history of God’s people from Genesis to Revelation, read the psalm again. What does it say to you in this broader context?

  • For example, the people of God, Israel, and Zion are seen as the church. The anointed king David would be viewed as Jesus Christ. 
  • Imagine that the Church or Christ were speaking these words. 
  • Are there words or phrases that are familiar from elsewhere in the Bible? 
Does the psalm suggest some moral action for us to take?

When you imagine singing this psalm as a part of public worship, how does that effect how you read it? What if you imagine using it as your own personal prayer?

How do you react to the psalm personally?

  • What emotions come up in you? 
  • Are there parts that comfort you? 
  • Are there parts that offend you? 
  • Spend time with the parts that bother you. Try to relate to the author’s point of view.
Imagine the psalm was written about you and your world.

  • Who would you be in the psalm? 
  • What would the connections be? 
  • Who/what would the enemy be? 
  • How would the images apply to your life?

If the Psalms are a mirror of the soul- What part of the soul is being addressed?

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