Praying With the Psalms // An Introduction

Psalms 1-2 Matthew 7:12 Matthew 5: 1-11

Ten Ways to Find Happiness Right Now!

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Is the Key to Happiness in Your Back Pocket?

Those aren’t the actual titles of any blog posts or magazine articles. But they could be.  Our society is always looking for the “key to happiness.”  Indeed, it’s written in man’s heart to search for happiness. Likely you won’t find it inside the covers of Vogue Magazine, though. Nor any of it’s contemporaries.  We, of course, know that true happiness is found in God alone.

“Our hearts are restless until they rest in you.”

St. Augustine said. And it’s true. But what does that mean, exactly? And how does one go about actually “resting” in God? You feel like a small shepherd, alone and with the wolves prowling about. Or perhaps you can identify with Israel: a nation, surrounded by it’s enemies, violence eminent. Or maybe you are just mindful of your instruction by God, aware of sin and its consequences in your life.

In any case, there’s a Psalm for that.

And, as diverse as the Psalms are, at their heart, is a recipe. Pray in the light of the Law of God Psalms 1:1 and pray in union with Jesus Psalms 2: 6

Praying in light of the Law of God can sound scary and maybe a little legalistic. Should we pray the ten commandments, then? Meditate on  the book of Deuteronomy until we have it memorized? Certainly the Law of God as written in the Old Testament can teach us a few things.  And it’s never wrong to read any of God’s inspired word. But we can also turn toward our Lord and Savior, himself a fulfillment of the law.  

He told us,

“in everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets.” Matthew 7:12 See? It’s easy!

Alright then, maybe not easy. Psalm 2, beginning in verse 6 goes on to talk about the Messiah, of this new King of Zion.  It is this King that we should look toward and unite our hearts to.  And it is this same King who, several thousand years later, gave another set of “blessed be the man who…” that we find in the very first verse of Psalm 1 and also the closing verse of Psalm 2. And by performing these corporal and spiritual works of mercy that Christ gave us, we are serving our Lord. And by serving him - by practicing true charity - we draw near to him.

Paradoxically, when we practice this true charity and serve others, we find our own happiness.  And why not? Our hearts have taken refuge in him.

Reflect: Are there times when you find yourself feeling that happiness is elusive? Do you have a “go to” solution for that, and what is it?  

Reflect: According to the Navarre Bible, the “words ‘Blessed is the man who…’ or ‘happy the man whom…’ occur up to twenty-six times in the psalm, pointing out what a person needs to do to find happiness.” Our Lord repeated this same phrase. Why do you think Christ would quote the Psalms like this?

Act: Read over Psalm 1 and 2 again.  But before you start, ask God to draw you closer to him. Ask him for the wisdom and grace to draw closer to Christ.