As promised, I want to share another way to use Psalm 119 as a guide in prayer and daily devotions:
The author of Psalm 119 set down a format for us. I have used this format for many years. Did you notice in your Bible that this Psalm is divided into 22 sections of eight (8) verses? Did you notice that each section begins with a letter in the Hebrew Alphabet? The Psalmist used the alphabet as an acrostic to help people to learn and remember the poems and prayers. For example, verses 1-8 begin with aleph; the next eight with bet, the second letter of the Hebrew alphabet, and the pattern is continued through verses 169–176, with taw, the 22nd letter, and last letter, of the Hebrew alphabet. Thus, we have 22 sections /groups of eight verses. All of them are prayers.
Each group of 8 verses has a theme, which is helpful because it enlarges the painting of the view of God. The theme can also help us see our need and our reliance upon God. The Word Biblical Commentary does a good job of summarizing each section. I will list each section and their theme in a coming blog post. I’d recommend writing the theme next to the Hebrew letter of each section in your Bible. It will help your mind focus in a direction of prayer for that day; that day of the month.
If you have a desire to commune with the Father but you’re struggling with what to do or how to stay focused and disciplined …
Here’s what to do:
Use an ink pen to number each of the 22 sections. Then, when you get alone to pray, open your Bible to Psalm 119 and look for the corresponding day of the month. You’ll have eight verses to read, meditate upon, and lead you in prayer. These sections glorify your God, remind you of your dependence upon Him, lead in you repentance, prompt to praise Him, stir towards good works, and much more.
For me, one of the most important things that this practice does is: get my mind focused on HIM!
I don’t know about you but my mind wanders, terribly. My quiet time is early in the morning and the first obstacle is getting the brain cranked up and functioning. A second thing it does is help me to be focused on the Lord. It helps me to keep my thoughts towards the things of His kingdom. This is not an easy discipline. Having a daily routine that begins in the scriptures helps me, more than that, it disciplines me.
I write in my two books the importance of marriage between scripture and prayer. This practice unites them. You can use this practice with any book or chapter in the Bible, and I encourage you to do that. I will be continuing this style of blog posting and I hope that it inspires prayer while teaching sound theology.
Let the scriptures help instigate prayer. Let it give you words to pray when you don’t know what to pray. Let His word help you to express your thoughts, feelings, burdens, joys, sorrows, fears, and confessions of faith. It is already laid out for you. The Spirit of God is inviting you to learn and commune with our Living, Loving, Saving God through His own word. He is showing us His will and invites us to bring it to Him in prayer. How incredibly awesome is that!
Psalm 119:18 (NKJV) — 18 Open my eyes, that I may see Wondrous things from Your law.