I like to start my days by reading and praying with the psalms and Psalm 1 is a favorite starting point for me. The book of Psalms, which was the prayer book of the Israelites and the prayer book Jesus prayed, doesn’t start with praise or prayer. It starts in Psalm 1 with preparation and posture…the posture of our heart. Here is how Eugene Peterson said it,
“Psalm 1 is not a prayer, exactly, but the preface to a prayer. We do not begin by praying but by coming to attention. Psalm 1 is the biblical preparation for a life of prayer. Step by step it detaches us from activities and words that distract us from God so that we can be attentive before him. Psalm 1 provides a kind of entryway into the place of prayer.” – (from Eugene Peterson, “Psalms: Prayers of the Heart”)
According to this psalm, which introduces the Israelites’ prayer book, we become attentive before God by meditating on his word—we chew on it, ponder it deeply, allow it to sink into our hearts and orient us toward God.
And doing that will give us roots, like a tree that God has transplanted by his streams of living water… And that in turn will cause us to thrive and bear fruit, not withering under the trials of life.
1 Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners
or sit in the seat of mockers,
2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever he does prospers.
4 Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand 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 will perish.
Meditating on or savoring God’s word will flavor our thoughts, guide our actions, and impact our relationships. Likewise our thoughts, actions, and relationships will affect our view of God’s word. This week let’s pay attention to the input we allow in our lives.
Monday: This psalm tells us that in order to be blessed (which means to be happy), we must not align ourselves with the counsel or ways of those who are opposed to God. Our thoughts affect every aspect of our lives, so it’s important to seek wise counsel. Ask God to give you good friends and companions who can advise you in ways that honor him.
Tuesday: The key to making wise choices in thought, behavior, and commitment is to take delight in God’s word. Ask him to help you love his word and be eager to read it.
Wednesday: Set aside time today to meditate on Scripture. Read it, think about what it means, mull over it, and ask God to help you apply it to your own life. How can you build a habit of meditating on God’s word throughout the day and even at night? Ask God to help you do this.
Thursday: Plan a way that you can both start and end your day with meditation on Scripture, even if it’s just one verse, to guide your thoughts both day and night. Thank God for the wonderful gift of his word!
Friday: Ponder the image of a tree growing by a stream. Ask God to help you be so rooted in Scripture that his Spirit flows through you, strengthening and refreshing you, no matter what comes your way.
Saturday: Think about the different outcomes for the wicked and for the righteous. Thank God for his word that transforms us and his promise that we will be blessed if we seek him!