After his baptism, Jesus spent 40 days in the wilderness being tested. After the transfiguration, Jesus headed out on the journey to Jerusalem. A journey that would end, not in death, but in resurrection.
The season of Lent, like difficult wilderness moments, uncomfortable journeys, truths, or times in our lives, can be painful. When God is growing us into the disciples we were created to be, growth can be painful. When God is asking us to go and make disciples, it can be painful.
Though the pain may last for a time, God is always with us, speaking to us still through holy scripture and the Holy Spirit.
During seminary, I engaged in an immersion experience with the Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica in Atchison, KS. I learned many things in my time with the sisters. Something I will never forget is the richness of praying the psalms.
One of the sisters noticed I did not know how to follow along in their prayer book. She leaned over to me and said sweetly, “it’s the Psalms. You know the Psalms, they are written on your heart.” I would ask her about this at breakfast the next morning. She informed me that the Psalms were the psalmist’s way of expressing all of his human emotions. From sorrow to fear, anxiety to joy, remorse to anger, gratitude to stillness, the Psalms are our stories.
We prayed and sang the songs in monotone several times a day. I must confess that there were a couple of Psalms that I did not feel right adding a tune to. I spent more time in these words during my time with the sisters.
In the practice of the Psalms, I realized how well they could articulate what I could not. When I didn’t know what to pray or how to tell God what was on my heart, the Psalms could say it for me.
Praying the Psalms is a powerful spiritual practice. You don’t need a special devotional or a class. All you need is the Word of God and a little bit of dedicated time. Lent is a great time to pray the Psalms. This is often a season I do not have the words for. God already knows what is on our hearts, and the Psalms give us the words to speak out loud what we cannot seem to utter.
The Psalms reminds us we are not alone in this human experience. What a salve it is to the wounds of the human spirit when we truly realize we are not alone.