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Prayer Guide – Psalm 1

We are now into Week 2 of our Daily Prayer Guide, and this week we are praying the Psalms!

I wanted to again give a walkthrough of what this could look like, since praying an entire chapter of Psalms can be a little more difficult – especially if you're not particularly fond of reading poetry. :) Even if that's the case, the beauty of praying the Psalms is that they give voice to the full range of human emotion – anger, despair, joy, worship, fear, etc. So let's dive into today's Psalm, following the instructions on the left-hand side of the Prayer Guide:

Psalm 1 (CSB)

1 How happy is the one who does not
walk in the advice of the wicked
or stand in the pathway with sinners
or sit in the company of mockers!
2 Instead, his delight is in the Lord’s instruction,
and he meditates on it day and night.
3 He is like a tree planted beside flowing streams
that bears its fruit in its season
and its leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.
4 The wicked are not like this;
instead, they are like chaff that the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand up in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
6 For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked leads to ruin.

Look for anything that tells you what God is like or points to his character, and write it down.

"His delight is in the Lord's instruction" – The Lord is a speaking God – he gives instruction to us, and what kind of instruction must it be if people are "delighted" and "happy" in it? It must be good and kind and full of grace. The Lord watches over the way of the righteous – Notice what the Lord watches over: the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked leads to ruin. So if the path of wickedness points to destruction, the path to righteousness has the Lord's watchful eye of protection and care and guidance covering it. It's not dangerous. It won't shift or suddenly change. It's protected.

Then look for anything that says what the people in the scripture are like, what they are doing, etc, and write it down.

Psalm 1 points to two kinds of people. Those who are like a tree producing fruit, and those who are like chaff that the wind blows away.

  • "TREE" PEOPLE – They are happy; they don't walk, stand, or sit (take advice from) with people who make a habit of sinning; they delight in the Lord's instruction and they don't forget it; their lives have deep roots – they aren't easily shaken or blown away, and they bear fruit in season; the Lord watches over their lives and they will be able to stand when God's judgment comes
  • "CHAFF" PEOPLE – They are wicked; they delight in their own instruction; they are happy to walk, stand, or sit with you and give advice but it is not rooted in anything, and instead leads to ruin; It's empty, lifeless and easily blown away; they have no fruit and when God's judgment comes, they are done.
Notice the primary feeling/emotion of this particular Psalm and write down what leads you to that conclusion.

I would say it's something like encouragement, or motivation. It seems that the author is setting these two kinds of people against each other in stark contrast in order that we wisely choose to follow the wisdom of the Lord instead of the "wisdom" of the wicked.

How does this Psalm point to Jesus? What points of the gospel story (creation, fall, redemption, glorification) do you see present in this passage?

Jesus is the only person to ever live who got Psalm 1 right the first time. He is the only person who never took his own advice or the advice of someone who just liked to hear their own voice. He didn't stand in the way of sinners or mockers – instead, he delighted in his Father's instructions and let sinners and mockers beat him, curse him, and crucify him – so that sinners & mockers would be saved! Everything Jesus set out to do, he accomplished, and the Father was delighted to glorify him (Philippians 2)! He is our example of what the "tree person" should look like.

I see the theme of Creation in Psalm 1 where God's instruction is perfect, giving life and bearing fruit. If you compare Genesis 1-3 with Psalm 1, you'll see two trees in the Garden of Eden as well. To choose one is to choose God's instruction and live. To choose the other, to follow the counsel of the wicked (the serpent) is to choose ruin.

I see the theme of Fall in this Psalm as well, where you see the result of people choosing their own wisdom over God's instruction: blown away by the wind; empty & fruitless chaff; ruin and judgment

I also see the theme of Glorification, where you see the outcome of people who DO follow God's instruction: happiness/blessing; fruit-bearing; prospering; life instead of withering; ability to stand in judgment; Lord watches over their way.

Turn the scripture into prayer!

Father God, although your ways are higher than ours, your thoughts higher than ours, and much more glorious than we could ever hope to be, you are a speaking God who has revealed the path of life to us. In a world where the latest winds of trends and fashions and change blow away anything without roots, you are a God who does not shift with the winds or change with the times. You are currently what you have always been.

Lord, you know better than I do how many times I've forgotten or simply your instruction. You know that while you whisper, the world shouts. So many times, I don't even take the time to listen for your instruction – I just assume I know the right things to do, and I've paid the price for following my own wisdom instead of yours. Have mercy on me, and forgive me, Father.

Restore me to being a tree planted by streams of your grace and forgiveness. Help me to drink deeply of the Living Water that is Jesus. Help me to bear fruit for your kingdom's sake, and when you bring or allow storms into my life, I know with confidence that I will not fall.

Watch over me today. Grant what I need for each moment, and help me to rest in your finished work. In Jesus' name, Amen.