The best session at New Wine 09 for me this year was led by Dan Browne. No, not the author Dan Brown, but a mid-30s guy who's been leading humanitarian work in Afghanistan for the last 8 years. He's deliberately bringing a Christian presence into a land where 99.9% are Muslims -- so praying is more obviously necessary than here in the UK.It's also a land in conflict, and stuffed with soldiers and militants. So he was intrigued to find that "the Psalms are full of warrior language". He also found that many great Christians through the centuries have written books on praying the Psalms. The one he particularly recommended is Answering God: the psalms as tools for prayer, by Eugene Petersen. In the Anglican Book of Common Prayer, there are 5 Psalms listed each day in the daily office.Here are some of the comments that struck me:
Prayer is a battlefield walkie-talkieOut of conflict heroes ariseIn 2 Sam 23, Eleazer's sword "became one with" his hand - should be like us and the BibleWar and trouble turn people to prayPrayer is primarily about relationshipWhat matters is not whatever we want to pray, but what God wants us to pray. (Bonhoeffer from The Psalms: the Bible's Prayerbook) So go look at the Psalms.Jesus quoted Psalm 22, 31 as part of his last wordsSo often Complaint from the psalmist turns to Praise: it's OK for us to do the samePsalm 95 effectively starts with "God get away from me" - God knows how we think and react, and is big enough to deal with itThe nasty Psalms (eg 137?) are best viewed in the life of Jesus.In Psalm 42, 63 King David feeling God is far off, and searches for Him.Our prayers have as their final destination praiseLearn to meditate - this is what Psalm 1 is aboutCouple ACTS (Adoration-Confession-Thanksgiving-Supplication) to a PsalmPsalm 5.1 "consider my sighing" - don't need intelligible words
He also recommended Derek Kidner as the best 2 volume commentary on the Psalms.