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Praying the Psalms with Intention

Editors Note: this post is part of a series if posts titled Praying the Liturgy of the Hours.

“Our whole life is a prayer if it is directed to God alone, and not to anything else.” – Augustinian Constitutions, no. 31.

If the Psalms help us copy the movements of the Spirit as we lift our needs and our experiences to God and the Liturgy of the Hours provides a structure for us pray the Psalms, how do we identify intentions to bring with us to the Liturgy of the Hours?

In A Layman’s Guide to the Liturgy of the Hours:  How the Prayers of the Church Can Change Your Life, Fr. Timothy Gallagher, O.M.V. (p, 78-80) identifies three levels through which a psalm can be prayed.

First, we can pray from the perspective of our own personal lives.  As we did in the previous post of this series, we can reflect on a particular need in our life, something that is troubling us, or something that causes us fear.  

Second, we can pray from the perspective of the Church and the world.  We can think of how the Church suffers, the many areas of the world in which the Church is persecuted for her witness.  Further, we can remember those waking to affliction in the midst of persecution, violence, or another injustice such as systemic poverty.

Third, we can pray from the perspective of the Heart of Christ.  Since Jesus prayed the psalms throughout His earthly life, we too can pray with Jesus as He looks on the world today.  We can look at the many ways He suffers and is persecuted through His people today.

Next Post: Two Types of Psalms to Relate Our Lives To

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