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Speaker: Jerry Cisar
Why should we pray the Psalms? Some may frame that question variously: “Why pray psalms that had to do with David’s rise to kingship, or Israel’s troubles?” “Why pray psalms if I don’t understand them?” “Why pray psalms that ask God to judge our enemies or complain about His management of the world?”
Bonhoeffer has offered at least one good answer to the above question about why to pray the psalms. “How am I to pray something that is still so incomprehensible to me?… How are you to understand what you have not yet prayed? Rather than our own prayer being the standard for the psalm, it is rather the psalm that is the proper standard for our prayer.”
We learn how to pray by praying rightly. The Psalms, as does the Lord’s prayer, teach us how to do that. It’s like gymnastics. You learn how to be a gymnast by doing gymnastics over and over with a coach who teaches you to do it rightly. The psalmists are our coaches. The coaches will make better sense if we understand their context.