By, Isam Itson III
“They devoted themselves to prayer.” Acts 2:42
“Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, 20 giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, 21 submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” – Ephesians 5:17-21.
We get drunk when we want to forget the pressures and problems of life. Paul says don’t do that. Instead, he wants us to meditate on God’s word and sing songs together to God. The Psalms are prayers set to music. All of them evoke the writer’s response to the human condition in light of God’s presence, promise, and faithfulness.
Some psalms are joyful and happy like the latest pop music hit of the summer. Some of the psalms are full of outrage like the heaviest metal anthem. Others are as sad and mournful as the deepest Delta Blues. No matter the type of song we sing to God in prayer, the heart of all faithful prayer is our trust in God’s sovereignty, love, and faithfulness and the assurance that he hears us. Especially when we embrace our powerlessness and God’s faithfulness.
When we pray together it helps us focus on God’s faithfulness to us and frees us to put the needs of others before ourselves. We stand with each other in the same way that God stands among us. We weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. When we pray together we practice our solidarity with God and each other as children of God, committed to the fulfillment of God’s purpose in the earth.
When we pray together we remind ourselves that God is attentive, considerate, and supremely sovereign. As we pray together we are reminded that we are not alone. God is with us and in us and he has given us to one another so that we can help each other live for God in a dark and dying world.
No matter how low we get, God hears us and loves us. No matter how high we rise, God alone is our strength. We live and rest trusting in God’s power, love, and faithfulness to fulfill his purpose for his creation, no matter what we experience in this life.
When we regularly pray together we remind ourselves that we belong to God and find comfort and healing in relationship with each other. There is no drink, drug, or activity that relieves the pressures of life like praying to a God who hears us. Especially when God’s answer is no, or not yet.
A few of my favorite Psalms that help me pray are Psalm 8, Psalm 88, Psalm 3, and Psalm 23. Which of these psalms speaks to your current feelings about God, your life, or your relationship with another person or group of people?.