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The Psalms to the Lord's Prayer



If you read the Psalms, you'll quickly discover the book is full of laments about the state of the world at that time and our human condition. In fact, much of the first three sections of the Psalms contains laments, sprinkled with moments of praise. Praise poems become more frequent as the book moves on.

It's the very nature of prayer that it is a tension between lamenting and praising. True prayer is not ignoring our pain and the world's situation. It's looking to God and looking forward in faith.

If you look closely at the Psalms, you'll see many of the same elements found in the Lord's Prayer. Both are a witnesses to this tension.

In the gospels of Matthew and Luke, Jesus Christ teaches the crowds, and us, how to pray. It's a combination of adoration, consecration, supplication, intercession, and protection.

Here are just a few examples of what the psalmists have to say.

Example of adoration:
"I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever. Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever. Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom." (Psalm 145:1-3)

Example of consecration:
"Open my lips, Lord, and my mouth will declare your praise. You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise." (Psalm 51:15-17)

Example of supplication:
"To you, Lord, I call; you are my Rock, do not turn a deaf ear to me.
For if you remain silent, I will be like those who go down to the pit. Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help, as I lift up my hands toward your Most Holy Place." (Psalm 28:1-3)

Example of intercession:
"Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care." (Psalm 95:1-2, 6-7)

Example of protection:
"Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence." (Psalm 91:1-3)

When we metaphorically or actually go on our knees before God praying the Psalms or the Lord's Prayer, we should always be cognizant of the tension between the pain of our human condition and the relief God offers, his wisdom and power through the Holy Spirit, and present and future hope through Jesus Christ.


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