with the Word online Bible study: heart and seek

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Psalm 119:10-16

With my whole heart I seek you;
do not let me stray from your commandments.
I treasure your word in my heart,
so that I may not sin against you.
Blessed are you, O Lord;
teach me your statutes.
With my lips I declare
all the ordinances of your mouth.
I delight in the way of your decrees
as much as in all riches.
I will meditate on your precepts,
and fix my eyes on your ways.
I will delight in your statutes;
I will not forget your word.

The psalms are often called the prayerbook or the hymnal of the Bible. How often do you use the psalms in your own prayer? How often do you use hymns or songs in your prayer? Saint Augustine said that “the one who sings prays twice”–possibly because melody and words combine in ways beyond our own intellectual capacity, perhaps because God just likes music, perhaps because singing is an embodied experience so we pray with not just our voices but our whole selves…do you agree with his statement? Does singing feel like prayer to you?

What are some ways you seek God? How do you nurture your relationship with God? The psalmist suggests meditating on God’s word and proclaiming God’s goodness as two of the ways he seeks God with his whole heart. Those are certainly good ways! What other ways can you think of, or do you practice?

In ancient culture, the Heart was the seat of reason as well as emotion–it was the place of the spirit, the center of the being, the word you would use to say “with the essence of who I am.” Sometimes we use “mind/body/spirit” as a way to say the same thing the ancient Hebrews said using “heart.” How does knowing that change the way you read this psalm?

Try praying this psalm a few times each day–perhaps in the morning, at lunchtime, and before bed–for the rest of this week. How does that change your outlook on your day, your work, your commute, your family, your leisure? When you’re consciously seeking God, what do you see differently?

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