Responding to God

“Seek Him while He may be found.” As God reveals Himself, we humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God in prayer. Some of the disciplines include various forms of prayer as modeled in the Psalms: Repentance Lamentation Adoration Contemplation Imprecation Intercession Breath prayers

I. Praying the Psalms
Martin Luther on Psalms Luther in his preface to the German Psalter (1528) commented: “[Each saint], whatever his circumstances may be, finds in it psalms and words which are appropriate to the circumstances in which he finds himself and meet his needs as adequately as if they were composed exclusively for his sake.” John Calvin on the Psalms: “I have been accustomed to call this book, I think not inappropriately, “An Anatomy of all the Parts of the Soul;” for there is not an emotion of which any one can be conscious that is not here represented as in a mirror. Or rather, the fears, doubts, hopes, cares, perplexities, in short, all the distracting emotions with which the minds of men are wont to be agitated. The other parts of Scripture contain the commandments which God enjoined his servants to announce to us. But here the prophets themselves, seeing they are exhibited to us as speaking to God, and laying open all their inmost thoughts and affections, call, or rather draw, each of us to the examination of himself in particular, in order that none of the many infirmities to which we are subject, and of the many vices with which we abound, may remain concealed.” The Name of the book cepher (say'-fer) tephillah (tef-il-law') – Books of Prayers The word psalm is Mizmowr (miz-more’) – A poem set to notes. Melody. Psalms are songs for the lyre, and therefore lyric poems in the strictest sense. (from Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament: New Updated Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1996 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.) Also known “songs of praise.” The book of Psalms is a Liturgical Book of prayers sung by the community of faith. Historical use of Psalms - Types of Psalms – Structure of Psalm book

Cross Shaped Spiritual Formation, Class 3 Responding to God, Doug Floyd, 1

Who wrote the psalms? Many different people over a long range of time. Poetry plays a role in the birth and ongoing sage of the nation. It becomes a way of rallying all the people behind a common theme and vision. Some Psalms in OT Moses (Ex. 15; Deut 32) Deborah (Judges 5) Hannah (1 Samuel 2) David (represents the golden age—poet king) – David suggests the poetic gift is from God (2 Sam 23:2 - "The Spirit of the LORD spoke by me, and His word was on my tongue.” Isaiah (Book of Isaiah) Hezekiah (Is. 38:9-20) Habbakuk (Hab 3:2-19) Jonah (Jonah 2:1-9) Job (Throughout book of Job) Jeremiah (Book of Jeremiah and Lamentations) Psalmody is central to David’s life and rule. We see him writing songs long before his road to kingship as a shepherd and then later to soothe King Saul, and even on the run from Saul. In one sense, it may have been part of the glue which brought the twelve tribes together as one nation under one king. See 1 Chronicles 15 – 16:4, 23:5 Psalmody flourishes under David and continues (at a lesser level) under future kings. Hezekiah revives the psalmist function. Psalmody is revived during and after exile. Many believe that after the exile, possibly during the time of Ezra, various books of Psalms were collected and edited into the books we have now. There are five books of Psalms. Five different books. These books are marked off by doxologies consisting of priestly benedictions, “Praise be to the LORD,” and the congregation's responses, “Amen,” at the end of Ps 41, 72, 89, 106. Practical or Spiritual Theology of the Psalms In the Psalms, our history becomes intertwined with the history of the Covenant people of God. I begin to identify with their story. Their story becomes my story. In a sense, the Psalms tell the spiritual history of Israel or the spiritual history of the Soul in the covenant community.

Cross Shaped Spiritual Formation, Class 3 Responding to God, Doug Floyd, 2

The psalms are man’s response to the initiative of God. It is God who draws the psalms forth from his people. The psalms are songs for the journey, the pilgrimage of faith. The psalms represent theology at work in real life and enable later readers to use them more appropriately in corresponding specific situations The psalms were crafted for use by the community. So even when David or another psalmist is reflecting on a very personal experience, they write giving voice for the whole community. While influenced by the poetry of surrounding culture, the psalms are distinct because they are grounded in historical reality. The psalm is often a vehicle for the community to remember the action of God in history on behalf of the covenant people. There is a sense in remembering that the people of God reenter into the reality and dramatic energy of the event remembered. (Think of communion.) Christianity is at heart a narrative religion. We have a story to tell. In the story, we come to realize the faithfulness of God. We come to see our story as intertwined in with the story of God’s action in history. And ultimately, we see all of history unfolded in light of God’s purposes. All history derives meaning from God’s action. Thus GK Chesterton can say that there is only one story. As we focus on God’s action, we realize that ritual is not a magical way to change our world but a form of remembering the action of God. Types of Psalms 1 Chron 16:4 “Then he appointed some of the Levites as ministers before the ark of the LORD, to invoke, to thank, and to praise the LORD, the God of Israel.” (1) Petition, Complaint, (2) Thanksgiving is focused upon a specific action of God to help his people. (3) Praise poems focus on God’s greatness over all things. Through our whole lives we move through these forms of prayer. Methods for meditating on Psalms A. The Father speaks to us through the Son in the power of the Holy Spirit. A triune approach recognizes that all our meditating and study of the Psalms is always dependent upon the action of God. Plus every person has a unique relationship with God and will be guided in specific ways and through specific “methods.” The Holy Spirit is working in the Psalms to draw us to Jesus. So pay attention to

Cross Shaped Spiritual Formation, Class 3 Responding to God, Doug Floyd, 3

B. C. D. E. F. G. H. I. J. K.

Jesus. Augustine and other Church Fathers read all the Psalms as revealing Jesus. Studying the Psalms is devotional. While knowledge plays a role, it is about developing companionship with God and thus is always bathed in prayer, flowing out from prayer and back to prayer. Let the Bible reveal the Bible. Study how Psalms are quoted and understood by other Biblical authors. Listen for key words or ideas. Meditate upon those words. (Lecta Divina) Read in the company of the Saints, Church Fathers, Reformers, Mystics. Study the Hebrew words. Dictionaries, word studies, concordances and commentaries can all help open the world and language of the psalm. Related to the last one, pay attention to the rhythms within the psalms. Often the rhythm can give us clues to the meaning. (Once again commentaries may help with this process). Look for underlying doctrines within the Psalms. Talk about what you’re reflecting on with other people. Conversation can often help clarify our thoughts as well as teach us to listen. Read the Psalm as part of your own history in the covenant community. Connect the Psalm to the culture around you.

II. Celtic Prayers
A culture of prayer was forged in the monastic world of Celtic Christianity. Prayer was a part of life—not a separate discipline from the activities of daily living. In some ways, the whole monastic Celtic world revolved around the rhythms of prayer. Celtic People – Whole Life Worship. Actual prayers from A day in the life of a Celtic believer: Kindling the Fire: I will kindle my fire this morning in the presence of the holy angels of heaven. God Thou kindle in my heart within A flame of love to my neighbour, To my foe, to my friend, to my kindred all, To the brave, to the knave, to the thrall….. Face washing: The palmful of the of God of Life The palmful of the Christ of Love The palmful of the Spirit of Peace Triune of grace. Making bed: I make this bed In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, In the name of the night we were conveived, In the name of the night we were born, In the name of the day we were baptized, In the name of each night, each day,

Cross Shaped Spiritual Formation, Class 3 Responding to God, Doug Floyd, 4

Each angel that is in the heavens. Milking Cow Bless O God my little cow Bless O God my desire; Bless Thou my partnership And the milking of my hands, O God. Bless O God each teat Bless O God each finger; Bless Though each drop That goes into my pitcher, O God. Walking Prayer: My walk this day with God, My walk this day with Christ, My walk this day with Spirit. Ho! Ho! Ho! The three-fold all-kindly. My shielding this day from ill, My shielding this night from harm Ho! Ho! Both my soul and my body, Be by Father, by Son, by Holy Spirit: By Father, by Son, by Holy Spirit. Be the Father shielding me, Be the Son shielding me, Be the Spirit shielding me, As Three and as One: Ho! Ho! Ho! As Three and as One.

Additional Celtic Prayers
Glorious Lord, I give you greeting! Let the church and the chancel praise you, Let the chancel and the church praise you, Let the plain and the hill-side praise you, Let the world’s three well-springs praise you. Two above wind and one above land, Let the dark and the daylight praise you. Abraham, founder of the faith, praise you: Let the life everlasting praise you, Let the birds and the honeybees praise you, Let the shorn stems and the shoots praise you. Both Aaron and Moses praised you: Let the male and the female praise you, Let the seven days and the stars praise you, Let the air and the ether praise you,

Cross Shaped Spiritual Formation, Class 3 Responding to God, Doug Floyd, 5

Let the books and the letters praise you, Let the fish in the swift streams praise you, Let the thoughts and the action praise you, Let the sand-grains and the earth-clods praise you, Let all the good that’s performed praise you. And I shall praise you, Lord of glory: Glorious Lord, I give you greeting! Juvencus, 4th century poet Sometime early in the tenth century the following was transcribed in the margins. It contains Irish, Welsh and Latin. Obviously written in a setting where Welsh and Irish monks worked side by side. Almighty Creator, it is you who made The land and the sea… The world cannot comprehend in song bright and melodious, Even though the grass and trees should sing, All your wonders, O true Lord! The Father created the world by a miracle, It is difficult to express its measure. Letters cannot contain it, letters cannot comprehend it. Jesus created for the hosts of Christendom With miracles when he came: Resurrection through his nature for them. He who made the wonder of the world, Will save us, has saved us. It is not too great a toil to praise the Trinity. Clear and high in the perfect assembly, Let us praise above the nine orders of angels The sublime and blessed Trinity. Purely, humbly, and in skilful verse, I should love to give praise to the Trinity, According to the greatness of his power. God has required of the host in this world Who are his, that they should at all times, All together, fear the Trinity. The one who has power, wisdom and dominion Above heavens, below heaven, completely; It is not too great a toil to praise the Son of Mary. St Patrick’s Breastplate Faeth Fiada (The Deer’s Cry) Today I gird myself with a mighty power, Invocation of the Trinity. Belief in the threeness, affirmation of the oneness.

Cross Shaped Spiritual Formation, Class 3 Responding to God, Doug Floyd, 6

In the Creator’s presence. Today I gird myself With the power of Christ’s birth together with his baptism, With the power of his crucifixion together with his burial, With the power of his resurrection together with his ascension, With the power of his descent to pronounce judgment of Doomsday. Today I gird myself With the power of the order of the Cherubim, With the Obedience of angels, With the ministry of archangels. With the hope of resurrection, For the sake of reward, With the prayers of the patriarchs. With the predictions of the prophets, With the precepts of the apostles, With the faith of confessors, With the innocence of holy virgins, With the deeds of righteous people. Today I gird myself With the strength of heaven, Light of the sun. Brightness of the moon, Brilliance of fire. Speed of lightning, Swiftness of wind. Depth of sea, Firmness of earth, Stability of rock. Today I gird myself With the strength of God to direct me, The might of God to exalt me, The mind of God to lead me, The eye of God to watch over me, The ear of God to hear me, The word of God to speak to me, The hand of God to defend me, The path of God to go before me, The shield of God to guard me, The help of God to protect me Against the snares of demons, Against the temptation of vices, Against the tendencies of nature,

Cross Shaped Spiritual Formation, Class 3 Responding to God, Doug Floyd, 7

Against everyone who will wish me ill, Far and near, Among few and among many. Today I interpose all these powers between myself And every harsh pitiless power which may come against my body and my soul, Against the predictions of false prophets, Against the black laws of paganism, Against the crooked laws of heretics, Against the encirclement of idolatry, Against the spells of women and smiths and druids, Against every knowledge which harms a man’s body and soul. May Christ protect me today Against poison, against burning, against drowning, against wounding, That many rewards may come to me. May Christ be with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ within me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ to my right, Christ to my left, Christ where I lie down, Christ where I sit, Christ where I stand, Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me, Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me, Christ in every eye which looks on me, Christ in every ear which hears me. Today I gird myself With a mighty power, Invocation of the Trinity, Belief in the Threeness, Proclamation of the Oneness, In the Creator’s presence. Salvation is of the Lord, Salvation is of the Lord, Salvation is of Christ, May your salvation Lord, be always with us.

Cross Shaped Spiritual Formation, Class 3 Responding to God, Doug Floyd, 8