PRAYING THE PSALMS WITH JESUS
In the days of His flesh, He offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety.
The prayer life of the man, Jesus Christ, is one of the greatest mysteries of all time. He is God, yet He became a man. As God, He is the ruler of all things. As a man, He is weak and totally dependent on His Father. In the prayer life of Jesus we see the beauty of His humanity. In the prayer life of Jesus we also learn to pray. Dietrich Bonhoeffer taught that the Psalms were actually the prayers of Jesus Christ. Bonhoeffer prayed the Psalms daily and taught his disciples the importance of praying the Psalms. Here is something he said about Jesus, prayer, and the Psalms of David.
“The Psalter is the prayer book of Jesus Christ in the truest sense of the word. He prayed the Psalter and now it has become his prayer for all time. Now we understand how the Psalter can be prayer to God and yet God’s own Word, precisely because here we encounter the praying Christ. Jesus Christ prays through the Psalter in his congregation. His congregation prays too, the individual prays. But here he prays, in so far as Christ prays within him, not in his own name, but in the Name of Jesus Christ. He prays, not from the natural desires of his own heart; he prays out of the manhood put on by Christ; he prays on the basis of the prayer of the Man Jesus Christ. But when he so acts, his prayer falls within the promise that it will be heard. Because Christ prays the prayer of the psalms with the individual and the congregation before the heavenly throne of God, or rather because those who pray the psalms are joining in with the prayer of Jesus Christ, their prayer reaches the ears of God. Christ has become their intercessor.”
Any look at the life of Jesus will see His dependence on prayer and His love for the Psalms. As He went to Gethsemane He sang a Psalm, when He died on the cross He was praying Psalm 22. The Psalms are so powerful because in them deity and humanity meet. I think of Psalm 110:4 as the Father declares the eternal priesthood of His Son, “The LORD has sworn and will not change His mind, “You are a priest forever according to the order of Melchizedek”. This is a beautiful picture of the current heavenly ministry of Jesus. Today, He is a man, seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high. What is He doing, He is ministering as a priest in prayer before the Heavenly Father.
So today, I stand in need before God. I need Him involved in every part of my life. How might He become more involved in me? It might just happen in that place of prayer. I think I will join in with Bonhoeffer, with Jesus, and the church from all generations and pray the Psalms with Jesus.