Deitrich Bonhoeffer in his book, Psalms: the Prayer Book of the Bible, says: “All the prayers of Holy Scripture are summarized in the Lord’s Prayer, and are contained in its immeasurable breadth. They are not made superfluous by the Lord’s Prayer but constitute the inexhaustible richness of the Lord’s Prayer as the Lord’s Prayer is their summation. Luther says of the Psalter: ‘It penetrates the Lord’s Prayer and the Lord’s Prayer penetrates it, so that it is possible to understand one on the basis of the other and to bring them into joyful harmony.’”
How are the Psalms intertwined with the Lord’s Prayer? Unfortunately, Bonhoeffer didn’t expand on this idea, leaving me wanting more. Fortunately I’ve been able to find elsewhere how the Psalms fit into the Lord’s Prayer.
Fr. Thomas Murphy, OFM, in the introduction to his book, Sing a New Song: Praying the Psalms in the Light of the Lord’s Prayer, writes: “Over time, I made the exciting discovery that the seven phrases of the Lord’s Prayer can be matched with seven categories of psalms which include all 150 psalms. In teaching us to pray, Jesus, the mediator of the New Covenant, had also provided a concise summary of the ancient psalms.”
What a wonderful framework for studying the Psalms! Fr. Murphy goes on to say, “The rich poetic grandeur of the psalms is brought into focus by the simplicity of the Lord’s Prayer. Meanwhile, the concise expressions of the ‘Our Father’ can be more fully appreciated through the poetic imagery of the psalmists.”
With this in mind, I propose to do a Bible study of the Psalms this Lent, looking at them through the framework of the Psalms. I will reflect on one phrase of the Lord’s Prayer each week, culminating with Holy Week. I invite you to join me in this endeavor.
Each week I will post the line and the psalms associated with that line. I will start with Ash Wednesday then will publish a new post every Monday until Holy Week. I encourage you to think about the particular phrase from the Lord’s Prayer all week, reflecting on what that phrase means for you in your life. Then read the psalms associated with the phrase when you have time to sit down with your Bible, perhaps first thing in the morning or before bed at night, or during your lunch break. Share your thoughts and reflections on this blog if you feel so inclined.
In this way we will explore the richness of the Lord’s Prayer and the Psalms together.
Wishing you a blessed and prayerful Lent!