A Prayer Primer

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.


Click here to take about 15 minutes to listen to the Text Talk conversation between Andrew Roberts and Edwin Crozier sparked by this post!

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I Want to be Truly a Widow

Today’s reading is 1 Timothy 5.

Okay, okay, let me clarify. First, I know I’m a man, and that would make me a widower, not a widow. Second, I don’t want my wife to die or my kids to abandon me. But here is what I do want. Because the true widow has been left all alone by biological and legal family, she knows her only hope is God. Therefore, she spends night and day in supplications and prayers. That is what I want. I want to be so convinced my only hope is God that I spend night and day in supplications and prayers. Too often, I place my hope in my strength, my work, my relationships, my plans, and then I use prayer more as the rubber stamp to get God’s religious seal of approval on all my hopes and dreams. I’ve come to realize that I can be a church-going Christian who reads my Bible a lot and even teaches the Bible who still leads a relatively godless existence. I don’t mean the pursuing immorality and sin kind of godless. I mean leading an existence where reliance on God is only in the background if thought about at all. I make sure to “say my prayers,” but I don’t necessarily see them as practically necessary to my daily living. I guess what I’m saying is I don’t want to wait until I’m in the true widow’s circumstances to have the true widow’s spirit. My only hope is God. Today, I want to pray like it. How about you?

Tomorrow’s reading is 1 Timothy 6

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