A Psalm a Day
Someone recently asked me where in the Bible it tells us to have a daily quiet time. To the surprise of many, perhaps, it doesn’t. That’s important to know in a day that popular Christian culture deems it a must. A daily quiet time is not an ordinary means of grace. This is not to say that setting aside time each day to be quiet before the Lord is a bad idea or an unusual practice. The psalmists quite frequently talk about daily activities of praise, lament, blessing, etc. But daily prayer isn’t a measure of closeness to God. It doesn’t earn you points with God. It doesn’t somehow placate God or put Him in your debt. There is a real danger of fueling a sense of pride or superiority over those who don’t have such a practice. If that is the case, it might be time to stop for a while.
Daily prayer can be a very good thing, however, and there is precedent for it. The Lord’s prayer implies that we are daily in prayer as we learn to look daily for God to realign our desires (Hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done…), trust him for our every need (give us this day our daily bread) and depend on him to maintain our relationship (forgive us our debts…). The reality is, we need God every day. He is the only one to satisfy the thirst in our soul.
One of the best places to learn how to go before the Lord daily is to read the Psalms. Pick one a day and read it through, mull it over, and join your prayer to it. But if you do it, don’t approach it as something to “check off,” as if the absent-minded practice of doing it will do much for you. If you decide to practice it, don’t be legalistic about it. Instead, approach it with a measure of expectation to learn from the psalmist and hear from the Lord.