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Contemplating the Psalms

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Praying the psalms will help us to grow in God’s love.  They empower and affirm us in our faith and through their inspired words bless us.  Psalms can either praise or petition God.
When we pray them in a contemplative way the emphasis is on an inspired heart word or phrase from a specific verse.    It is a knowing of the Lord through love, a prayer of the heart and not of the mind.

This union of hearts prepares the way for the Holy Spirit to minister to us and through us.

Praise Psalms have two variations.

The first is personal thanksgiving and praise of God for his gifts and blessings.   Psalms: 18, 30, 40 & 66.

The second is to praise God for his greatness and goodness.
Psalms: 95,100,145, 150, 135, 136, 146 & 147.


I place myself in a quiet place in the presence of Jesus or I can imagine myself with Jesus before the Father
After reading a verse or phrase of the psalm I loving gaze at Jesus or the Father in faith.
Pray very slowly repeating the phrase
As you slowly continue to repeat the phrase savour the words
e.g.  I give thee thanks, O Lord, with my whole heart (ps.138)
Allow this phrase to resound within you with wordless thoughts for all the blessings you have received.  Remain in God’s presence for the following five to ten minutes.
Petition Psalms reflect the way we pray when we are deeply distressed or suffering. We tell God about our troubles and cling to Him in hope and trust.
e.g. My heart is in anguish within me (Ps.55:4)
…those who would destroy me… attack me with lies (Ps.69:4)
I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
And in his word I hope. (Ps.130:5)
Petition Psalms 22, 42 ,44, 69, 88, 102 & 140  are particularly suitable for personal prayer.

Choose one of these psalms and pray your way through the verses very slowly.
Stay with the same phrase or verse as long as you feel the spirit its prompting you to.
Do not pray with many words, but rest quietly with a phrase of the psalm gazing silently at God through the eyes of faith for five to ten minutes
Don’t be concerned if you never finish the psalm. The prayer exercise is about being infused with God’s love, hope and trust.

Recommended reading:  The Contemplative Way of Prayer by Robert Faricy S.J. & Lucy Rooney S.N.D. Queenship Publishing Company Santa Barbara CA  93140 2028 U.S.A.