The Christian Hedonist’s Playbook (Part 8)

“The Psalms are prayers for those who are engaged in an ongoing, spiritual conflict. No one else need bother even opening the book.” (Patrick Henry Reardon)

One thing we learn from the Psalms is that prayer is an essential weapon in the Christian Hedonist’s arsenal. The Psalmists don’t merely apprehend truth about God in a stoic manner, they use those truths as catalysts for prayer. And these prayers—i.e., the Psalms—are fervent. These men recognize how desperate they are for God. They know that apart from the life-sustaining grace found in God alone, they can do nothing (see John 15:5).

Martin Luther is quoted as saying that praying the Psalms brings us “into joyful harmony” with God’s Word and God’s will. He continues:

Whoever begins to pray the Psalms earnestly and regularly will soon take leave of those other light and personal little devotional prayers and say, “Ah, there is not the juice, the strength, the passion, the fire which you find in the Psalms. Anything else tastes too cold and too hard.”

To my shame, prayer is not a weapon that I have used as much as I should. Too often I feel self-sufficient, even in the face of my own sin. What a paradox! Being proud is bad enough, but being proud even when confronted with your own sin is quite an accomplishment in depravity. But I believe my study of the Psalms is affecting my prayer life. By God’s grace, my thoughts and prayers are (slowly) becoming more God-intoxicated and I am becoming more satisfied with the sufficiency of God’s grace.

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