Journal Ps 63-65 (all references are from the ESV; changes in punctuation are mine)
Scripture: “O you who hear prayer, to you shall all flesh come.
When iniquities prevail against me, you atone for our transgressions. Blessed is the one you choose and bring near, to dwell in your courts! We shall be satisfied with the goodness of your house, the holiness of your temple!
By awesome deeds you answer us with righteousness, O God of our salvation, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas; the one who by his strength established the mountains, being girded with might…
(The one) who stills the roaring of the seas, the roaring of the waves, the tumult of the peoples, so that those who dwell at the ends of the earth are in awe at your signs…
You make the going out of the morning and the evening to shout for joy.” (Ps 65:2-8)
Observation: Every so often the Psalmist runs out on a direction that is totally directed towards the awesomeness of the Most High. It is a function of prayer I would do well to practice…
Analysis: What is the difference between prayer and praise?
The way that it is usually practiced, prayer is sort of quiet, sort of solemn, sort of asking or petitioning—there is this kind of mental picture of on my knees, hands out asking “please?”
Praise is almost the full opposite: Not quiet, but loud. Solemn, but in an expressive, sometime boisterous way. Music is a big thing in praise—the way it is usually practiced.
Sometimes I hear both prayer and praise focus on the god of the moment: Me.
It is tough to be different when I have been trained and conditioned throughout my life to consider Me the most. I have seen and heard a gospel presented that had Me at the core of it: What does being Christian get Me? What will Jesus do for Me? I will be healed; I will be satisfied; I will find peace, etc.
No doubt that folks can extract a cost/benefit equation out of the scriptures that addresses all the “Me” stuff. Shucks, given some time I bet I could do it—I would have to twist my mind into knots again that I had hoped were all gone.
The Psalmist isn’t going down the Me path: he is looking at God as square as he can.
“You, O Lord…You alone…You choose…You bring near…My satisfaction comes from the goodness of Your house…Your holiness…Your awesome deeds…Your strength…and, etc.” The drift here is evident and clear.
Good, clean, biblical prayer AND praise comes from Carnegie Hall…you know…” How do you get to Carnegie Hall? Practice, practice, practice.”
What to practice? A little less Me and a whole bunch of Thee…
Prayer: Sorry for the pun fun, Lord. “Can’t help myself, I love you and nobody else…”
It is so simple: focus on You. It is so hard at the same time. I get wrapped up in the things of this world: family, finances, world events, sorrows, and so much more. I want You, O God, to be center of my eyesight every day, all day and night. Multiply AWE in me, help me, make me see You in every corner, every breath of everything. Make praise and acknowledgement of You erupt in my mind in whatever I see. AMEN.