Dear Church Family,

It’s hard for me to believe, but we have worked our way through the entire book of Genesis. That being said, we will be switching gears a little this summer to focus on the fifteen songs of ascents found in Psalms 120-134.

The Psalms have been called “the hymn book” of the nation of Israel as well as her “prayer book.” It is interesting to note how frequently the book of Psalms is used throughout the New Testament. Like the rest of the Scriptures, the Psalms are “breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17). That means the Psalms are not a bunch of quaint jingles that are beyond our understanding. Rather, they are meant to inform our lives and our worship.

That being said, if you have not begun preparing for each Sunday morning’s sermon by reading the upcoming text, now would be a great time to start. Except for Psalm 132, all of the songs of ascents are less than ten verses long. Let me recommend pairing the Psalm for each week’s sermon with your own regular time of Bible reading. You may benefit from taking some notes on the Psalm, praying the Psalm, singing the Psalm—but even easier than that is simply reading slowly through the Psalm and meditating on it.

You might ask the Lord to illumine your mind and heart by His Spirit to know, understand, and apply the Psalm to your life. Possibly you could ask your spouse or another church member his or her thoughts on the Psalm and how to best apply it.

One final suggestion: maybe you should commit yourself to memorize the Psalm for each week. That means, if you pace yourself, you would memorize one verse a day. This will help you slow down and think through what the verses are communicating. Even if you get to the end of the week and you don’t have the entire Psalm down, that’s okay. The time you spent meditating on the verses that week through your efforts to memorize them will not have been wasted time.

Regardless of whether you decide to follow any of these recommendations, still prepare and pray for our time together as a church body in corporate worship with a sense of expectation. “For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven and do not return there but water the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater, so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:10-11).

I am thankful to be blessed to see the Word of God working in your lives.