How to get the Word of God into your life
This Bible study offers a process and a plan for meditating on the Psalms. It suggests breaking up a psalm in order to focus on a section each day. If you’d like your relationship with God to go deeper and be more authentic, then take up the challenge to be inspired by the psalmists’ honesty with God.
Navigators UK Rep
Darren lives in Glasgow and leads Navigators ministry in the city. He is a big fan of Glasgow Celtic.
Why Read the Psalms?
An Authentic Relationship with God
In an interview with Rolling Stones magazine, Lady Gaga said, “When I wake up in the morning, I feel just like any other insecure 24-year-old girl. But I say, ‘Bitch, you’re Lady Gaga, you better … get up and walk the walk today,’” Although an extreme example, we have all learned to some degree to put on a front in our daily lives. Even, sometimes especially, around other Christians. We act like the people we think we should be and hide the reality of who we are to the extent that we are sometime unsure of what we really feel or think.
This inevitably shapes how we relate to God. Many of us struggle to be honest with God about how we really feel or are getting on in life. Our prayers can become stuffy and full of religious jargon as if we are trying to impress God or say the right thing so he’ll answer. Our relationship with God becomes like one with a distant elderly relative; we put on a good front, but share nothing of our true selves and so receive nothing significant in return.
If you can relate to any of this, then the Psalms will be like a breath of fresh air. In them we get to listen in to people expressing the depths of their hearts to God through prayer and song. A whole range of human emotions are expressed… anger, doubt, jealousy, joy, sadness, remorse and many more. We get an insight into an authentic relationship with God; we see people being real about what is going on because they know God already knows and to do anything else would be pretence. Although this may make you uncomfortable, the reality is God is able to deal with all of our emotions, reactions and failures in life and often the only way we begin to experience change is by being honest with God in the first place.
If you’d like your relationship with God to go deeper and be more authentic, then take up the challenge to be honest with God. Use the Psalms as a springboard for your prayers and begin to experience the reality of God accepting and loving you as you are. This doesn’t just happen over night. It takes time and a willingness to learn from God, but we all need to start somewhere.
How to Read the Psalms
One tip that will help you really get in to the Psalms is: meditate more than you analyse. There is a place for analysing, but it will only get you so far. It’s a bit like your favourite song, it’s good to discuss it, but it’s even better to just join in and sing along. The Psalms are written to express to God what is going on in someone’s heart. If you only analyse it, you’ll be left cold and distant from God. If you learn to meditate and enter in to what is being expressed you’ll learn to meet with God through it. If meditating is new to you, take a look at the short article ‘How to Meditate on Scripture’ or the book Godfulness: A Step-by-step Guide to Bible Meditation.
Why Daily Readings?
Most of us spend our day listening to all sorts of different voices telling us all sorts of different things about who we are, what we should be, what we should be doing etc etc… A part of us would love God to speak in to our lives but the reality is we just don’t take the time to listen to what he has to say. Learning the rhythm of listening daily to God may seem elusive and unachievable but with help from other people and the empowering of the Spirit it can be a day-to-day reality for all of us. The big questions we need to answer for ourselves are: Do I really want to hear what God has to say? Am I willing to ask others to help me? Am I willing to set aside the time and learn the discipline of making myself available to God?
The truth is that having a daily quiet time can often become more about us feeling like a success or failure rather than coming to meet with God. But a lack of regular time with God leaves us exposed to our own anxious thoughts and the voices around us that lead us in all sorts of directions. We all, if we’re honest, desperately need to hear God’s voice speak in to our lives each day. In Mere Christianity, C.S. Lewis said, “It comes the very moment you wake up each morning. All your wishes and hopes for the day rush at you like wild animals. And the first job each morning consists simply in shoving them all back; in listening to that other voice… letting that other larger, stronger, quieter life come flowing in.”
We hope this plan will be helpful in your walk with God. Encouraging authenticity and creating a focus to get regular time with God. They may seem like small things but growing in these areas will be life changing… Enjoy!!
- Pray – Bring whatever is going on in your head and heart before God and ask him to speak to you through his Word.
- through the whole Psalm. (On Day 1 divide the Psalm into 5 sections so you can focus on one section each day.)
- through the section for today.
- Mark – Print out the Psalm and highlight/underline any bits that you don’t understand, any bits that particularly stand out to you, anything that is surprising.
- What is this section about? How would you summarise the main theme of this section?
- What emotions are expressed? Do they change as you go through the Psalm? What causes them to change?
- What metaphors are used? Why?
- What truths about God are expressed?
- What truths about life are expressed?
- What is particularly standing out to you? Why?
- What are you feeling as you reflect on it?
- What do you relate to? What could God be saying to you?
- Memorise – Write down a verse and take it with you today. Try learning it over the week.
- Pray – Pray through anything God has said to you and how you think you should respond.
week1 | Psalm1 | The Way of the Righteous and the Wicked
week2 | Psalm10 | Why Do You Hide Yourself?
week3 | Psalm16 | You Will Not Abandon My Soul
week4 | Psalm42 | Why are You Cast Down, O My Soul?
week5 | Psalm51 | Create in Me a Clean Heart, O God
week6 | Psalm63 | My Soul Thirsts for You
week7 | Psalm96 | Worship in the Splendour of Holiness
week8 | Psalm103 | Bless the Lord, O My Soul
week9 | Psalm107 | Let the Redeemed of the Lord Say So
week10 | Psalm111 | Great are the Lord’s Works
week11 | Psalm119 | Your Word is a Lamp to My Feet
week12 | Psalm121 | My Help Comes from the Lord
week13 | Psalm139 | Search Me, O God, and Know My Heart
week14 | Psalm145 | Great is the Lord
Copyright © Darren Jackson 2017
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