All throughout my life I have read a Psalm here or there. I have looked up Psalms to suit my mood or current life situation. But one thing I have never done was to go one by one through the Psalms.
At the beginning of the year I decided to slow down and read through the Psalms from the beginning. My husband and I had prayer on our hearts in a big way and a felt that praying Scripture was missing. As we were beginning to make scripture prayer a routine we found ourselves in Psalms a lot. For my birthday an awesome friend gifted me some lovely new highlighters and I decided to dedicate one color to the parts of Psalms about God, the Righteous Man, and the Wicked Man.
I started in on Psalms, and as my pages began to fill up with color I started to wonder if I was destroying my Bible and future enjoyment of the Psalms. I had doubts that if someone saw my Bible they would think I was being reckless. But the truth is, I started to see Psalms in a whole new light. I had a VISUAL for the truths of Psalms. God always shows up and He always redeems. He is near in celebration and sorrow.
In the past, when reading Psalms I always felt like the wicked was such a HUGE theme, the enemy and oppressors were the loudest voices with a “but God” sentence at the end. Wow, was I wrong! God, God, God…it’s ALL HIM! Isn’t it ironic? Life feels that way! I feel like when we get to Heaven and our scroll is unrolled it’s going to be covered in green highlighter. Green is the color I chose to represent God. Green is my favorite color but that isn’t why. Green represents growth and life. He is my Life and the source of my Spiritual growth. No matter how BIG the evil around you seems, God has NOT abandoned you! He is a redeemer and He will redeem.
Are you looking for a way to dip your toe in Bible study? I wholeheartedly recommend this exercise in the Psalms! It allows you to look at the texts in an observant way and gives your a beautiful visual for how BIG God is in the Psalms. It will also expand your prayer life as you meditate on these beautiful passages of Scripture.
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I love my ESV Journal Bible and the space on the side to ask questions or make connections is a must have for me. I have been able to see connections to the words of Jesus and many New Testament writers just by slowly studying and internalizing the Psalms.
Another thing I like to do is journal a verse or two that is especially meaningful or applicable to me. I like it to be something I don’t want to forget or something I can pray in the future. After reading Habits of Grace by David Mathis I knew I needed prioritize journaling more than I do. Slowing down isn’t something I am good at but I see the value of making a habit of it for my spiritual health. So I got a cute little journal and use it however I want that day. Something that has held me back from journaling in the past was not being able to follow an elaborate method or system. I had to lower my standards and expectations. Some days I just write out the verse or passage, other days I decorate and doodle on the page.
Hope carries us through the hardest of times. Psalms is an anthem of hope and redemption. I pray that this gives you direction. Whether you have studied every book of the Bible or are lost for where to start, this is a study method anyone can use.
One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life.Psalm 27:4