Find your Strength in the Psalms
We are told that the psalms are considered food for the desert and follows the example of the desert fathers of Monasticism. Those of us under the mandate to pray the Sacred Office daily begins with the words “Lord,open my lips to praise your holy name, cleanse my heart of any worthless, evil, or distracting thoughts, give me the wisdom and love necessary to pray this office with attention, reverence, and devotion, for it is offered through Christ our Lord.” Amen!
Finding the most fitting place, position, and either alone or with a group can be an individual decision unless mandated by rules of religious monasteries or convents. However, the office and the psalms which entail the greatest portion of this prayer can be the most efficacious result of getting your mind and soul in touch with the Lord.
Without trying to discern which psalm may have the best starting point to write about, let’s look at the shortest psalm and indulge ourselves with the deep meaning this psalm can produce.
“O praise the Lord, all you nations, acclaim him, all you peoples! Strong is his love for us; he is faithful for ever.” Psalm 117. A Psalm of Thanksgiving, announcing God’s Supremacy demonstrated by his gracious fidelity.
Of all the psalms this one says a thousand words with two stanzas thanking God for his graciousness. Herein, we may contemplate the tireless effort God uses to remind his people how much and how far he will go to treat his degenerate children with unending love and protection.
With all the different prayers and methods of reaching out to the Lord, following the fathers of the desert using the psalms for comfort, and isolating their time of nurturing with only God. Antony the Great, father of Monks, said “pray constantly, for one should pray alone without ceasing.”
St. Paul, to the Thessalonians, says; “Rejoice always. Pray without ceasing. In all circumstances give thanks, for this is the will of God for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thes: 5: 16-18).
This is why when praying the Liturgy of the Hours the reader is exposed to all of the 150 psalms in the cycles of the Church. Therefore do not cease praying, or do not look for the easiest way to pray. Prayer with God is an open conversation with the Lord and all prayer reaches a waiting God who seeks to hear from you.
Ralph B. Hathaway, Prayer 2021