I ran across an interesting method of journaling the Psalms today from Vic Black with the Navigators. The method he describes is basically taking individual psalms and rewriting them in the first person—as if God himself were speaking them to you. It is no secret to those who have been around me that I have a great love for the Psalms (Thank you Dr. Allen Ross). And it is also no secret that I do my best to get others to love them as well. I hope this approach to praying/journaling the Psalms will do that for someone. Here is what Vic Black says about this:
After the experience of Psalm 23, I began to experiment receiving other Psalms in the first person. Several principles soon fell into place. First, this is much more a listening exercise than a writing exercise. There is harm in forcing yourself to write something. There is freedom and peace in waiting and soaking in a Psalm. Allow God to speak. Give yourself freedom to experiment. This is for enjoyment and relationship. This is not about doing it right or wrong. It is about intimacy with the Lord. This is a meditative exercise in which you are asking God, “What would it sound like if You, Lord spoke this Psalm to me right now, in the first person? I don’t want to put words in Your mouth. I don’t want my imagination to run away with me. But I do want to use my imagination, as well as my heart, my soul, my mind, all of my faculties. What I want more than anything is to truly hear Your voice. Would You give me ears to hear and block out all distractions? Please engage with my heart through David’s Journal, the Psalms.” I would encourage you to have several translations available and open. Observe the footnotes, definitions and cross references that expand the meaning of the passage. Live in one Psalm for a period of time. The objective is not speed. You are not trying to do one Psalm a day. The Psalms flowed out of David’s life (as well as Moses, Asaph, Solomon, and the sons of Korah…). Now you want the Psalms to flow out of your life and into your life. You may spend hours or even days reflecting, meditating, soaking, marinating in a favorite Psalm. Let the Psalm live. Let it breathe. Let it live in you. Let God speak.
- Relax. Enjoy the exercise. Pray, “Lord, what would it sound like if you spoke this Psalm to me?”
- Soak in the Psalm. Read it meditatively in several translations. Allow fresh, new phrases to form.
- Allow the footnotes and cross references to add color and meaning to the Psalm.
- Allow your sanctified imagination to soar and expand the Psalm.
- Work on one complete thought at a time. Don’t force it.
- Allow God to take your pen and add His personalized phrases.
- Listen to the Lord speak these thoughts to your heart.
- This is much more a heart exercise than a head exercise.
- Once you have finished the Psalm, read it over and over and receive it as the Lord’s blessing to you.
- Suggested Psalms: 1, 15, 24, 27, 34, 40, 42, 51, 57, 63, 84, 91, 96, 97, 98, 139