Today’s reading is Psalm 25.
We don’t pick up on it in the English, but this psalm is an acrostic poem. Each verse begins with the next letter of the Hebrew alphabet. Admittedly, the acrostic is not perfect. The letter for verse 2 is missing, two letters are skipped, and the last verse is not part of the acrostic at all. However, it is clear that this psalm is anchored in the Hebrew alphabet. It seems the author of this psalm wanted to make it memorable. He wanted it passed down from the priests to the populace, from father to son, and from mother to daughter to aid in worship and prayer for generations to come. In fact, this may explain that very last verse which seems to be tacked on out of left field. It may be true that some later editor of the psalms added that line about redeeming all of Israel out of troubles. However, it seems just as likely to me that the author broke from the acrostic to call attention to the desire for this psalm to not just be personal but to be passed around the nation so that everyone would learn about prayer and meditation from it. And now it is included in the book of Israel’s Psalms and has come to us. We too can learn to pray to God and meditate on God from it. Since it doesn’t match our alphabet, it may be harder for us to remember, but we can learn great things about prayer from it. Keep reading. Keep learning. We’ll talk more about prayer over the next couple of days.
Tomorrow’s reading is Psalm 25.
A Word for Our Kids
Hey kids, did your parents share with you what I explained to them above about how this psalm is an acrostic poem. Do you know what an acrostic is? It is a memory aid device. An acrostic is when the first letter of each line makes up some organized structure. It can be a word. It can be the alphabet. People often use acrostics to make it easier to teach and remember principles. In fact, while I don’t expect you to remember the acrostic of the Hebrew letters for this psalm and few translators try to carry over the acrostic nature into their English translations, teachers often try to use acrostics in connection with prayer. For instance, some teach the acrostic of ACTS to help folks know how to pray. You start with Adoration (another word for praise), you bring in Confession, you offer Thanksgiving, then you make Supplications (a fancy word for asking for things). Do you see how the acrostic works? ACTS. I recently learned a new one that can apply to prayer or just to your life’s focus. It is anchored in JOY. Jesus first, Others second, You last. In prayer, you think of praising God first. Then you think of interceding for others second. Then finally you bring up your personal requests. I hope these acrostics stick with you and you find them helpful. Prayer is just so important that we want to use very trick in the book to help you learn how and make it easier for you.