Thursday, January 6, 2005

Biblical Prayer Themes, Part III

[continued from Biblical Prayer Themes, Part II]
7. Marveling and wondering at the divine works. The psalmist, being vibrantly alive as a person, is alert to and therefore aware of the marvels God works both in creation and in salvation history (Ps 96; 104; 135; 107; 139:1-18). The prayerful person not only notices these astonishing things the Lord has done in his world. He ponders them, fixes them in his memory (Ps 46:48). Furthermore, he celebrates the glories of creation and finds great joy in the divine Artist and his splendors (Ps 104:1-35); 111:2-3). We should notice that to celebrate is to affirm the goodness and beauty of a thing or person or event. On Independence Day we proclaim the blessings of living in a free country. To celebrate a person's birthday is to declare in words and actions that this person's existence is a gift. Celebrating is singing to existence, a yes-ing or reality, exulting in the real -- either with words or without them. The psalter is full of examples ... and so also are they found in the minds and on the lips of the saints.

8. Meditation. It is not accidental that the first two verses of the inspired book of prayer deal with discursive meditation, that is, with thinking over and applying the word of God to one's life, and then in inwardly communing with him about it. Happy is that man who receives this word and then reflects on it in his heart day and night (Ps 1:1-2). Joshua is likewise to ponder the law of the Lord day and night (Josh 1:8). It seems to have been a common practice among the chosen people to meditate on the word in the quiet of the night (Ps 4:4, 63:6). Twice we read in Luke's Gospel that the Mother of the Lord, the perfect woman, pondered the word in her heart (Lk 2:19, 51).
Prayer Primer, Thomas Dubay, S.M.
[Varieties of biblical prayer themes to be continued...]

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