1. Say them out loud.
2. Festoon them, as you would a Christmas tree. Add your prayers to them.
3. Paraphrase them.
4. Learn them by heart. Come to understand them so well you can recite them — by inflection and tone — as though you had written them yourself. This is by far the best way I know to learn to pray the Psalms. I can think of no more powerful way to allow the Word of God to change who you are and how you think. Over the years, the prayers of the Psalms have offered incomparable comfort and clarity in desperate, murky, and confusing situations, when I didn't have a worthwhile word of my own to say—when I quite literally didn't have a prayer.
5. Marinate in them. Some people use the Bible like they use spice to liven up the taste of food—a little Tabasco here, some salt and pepper and oregano there; a particular psalm to read when you are (check one) sad or glad or afraid or lonely or struggling with doubt. But it's better to use the Psalms as you would a marinade. A spice touches only the surface of the food; a marinade changes its character. The soul should marinate in Scripture by repeated, thoughtful, slow, comprehensive, and Spirit-enlightened reading.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Another helpful article on prayer by Ben Patterson, in Christianity Today.His five points?