Praying the Psalms

Bible Reading Witness

Praying the Psalms  – Bible Reading Witness Part 1.

Bonhoeffer and the “Prayer of Christ”

 How can we learn to pray more effectively?  When we are bombarded with so much in society that is in opposition to the gospel, how  can we pray with depth and integrity?  Dietrich Bonhoeffer in a small book of his writings called “The Psalms: The Prayer Book of the Bible” (1970),  encourages us to enter into the “prayer of Christ” for it is in Him that we know our prayer is heard  (p 11).  If we want to pray with confidence,  Bonhoeffer says, then we need to turn to the Holy Scriptures.  He encourages us in our prayer life to focus on one book of the Bible that is made up almost solely of prayers, that is the book of Psalms.   He goes on to say  (p 14) that as we pray the psalms we need to ask first not what they have to do with us, “but what they have to do with Christ.”   The psalms, argues Bonhoeffer (p 25) are meant to be prayed daily otherwise when we dip in occasionally they are too weighty in “design and power” and we end up wanting a more palatable, easier way to pray.  He encourages us to pray the Psalter “seriously and regularly”.  Bonhoeffer (p 26)  believes that when the daily reading of the psalms is abandoned by the church a great treasure is lost, but with its recovery “unsuspected power” will come.    Billy Graham (2014) , recounts how he also discovered this power as he read through 5 Psalms every day and completing the whole book of Psalms every month. 

Serious Duty of Reading the Scriptures 

 The Basis of Union, paragraph 5 states that the Uniting church “ lays upon its members the serious duty of reading the Scriptures”.   It is interesting to note this word “serious” is the same word that Bonhoeffer used (p25).  The Psalms is a good place to begin with this “serious duty” of reading the Scriptures.  The Basis of Union encourages this not just for Ministers and leaders but for all the members of the Uniting Church.

During the last few months I have rediscovered the treasure of praying the Psalms daily and would invite you to join with me in this endeavor at the beginning of May.  There is great power in this as we pray for our church and nation at this time.   Reading of the Psalms is the first of patterns of bible reading that the ACC Council have agreed to encourage our devotional prayer life.  More will be coming in what we are calling “Bible Reading Witness”.

Challenge for May and June 2016.  Reading the Psalms
The idea for May and June is every morning and evening to read out loud or sing the following Psalms.  Remember what Bonhoeffer encouraged us to do is to first ask “what does this have to do with Christ”.   If you miss a morning or evening don’t worry about it or try to make it up.  Simply go on with the next day.  This is a communal reading of the Psalms. If you didn’t read it someone else will.  Commit only for May and June at this stage and see how you go.  Some of you might want to continue. I started in January and found it so rich that like Bonhoeffer and Billy Graham I don’t want to stop.  Please let me know if you are committing to the daily Psalms readings so we can encourage one another in prayer.   

 May the Lord bless us all in May as we read and pray the Psalms together.     Anne 


Graham, Billy  (2014)      foreword  to Words of Wisdom: A life-changing journey through psalms and proverbs  by  George M. Wilson.   Tyndale  2014   

Bonhoeffer , Dietrich.  Psalms, The Prayer Book of the Bible.   Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1970.





Psalter readings:  read all of the Psalms in one month.  

Prepared by Anne Hibbard for Uniting Church in Australia. 

Day 1. Morning :    Psalm 1-4             Evening:  Psalm 5-7

Day 2.  Morning:    Psalm 8-10           Evening:  Psalm 11-14

Day 3.  Morning:    Psalm 15-17         Evening:  Psalm 18

Day 4.  Morning:    Psalm 19-21         Evening:  Psalm 22-23

Day 5.  Morning:    Psalm 24-26         Evening:  Psalm 27-29

Day 6.  Morning:   Psalm 30-31          Evening:  Psalm 32-34

Day 7.  Morning:   Psalm 35-36          Evening:  Psalm 37

Day 8.  Morning:   Psalm 38-39          Evening:  Psalm 40-41

Day 9.  Morning:   Psalm 42-43          Evening:  Psalm 44-45

Day 10: Morning:  Psalm 46-48          Evening:  Psalm 49-50

Day 11: Morning:  Psalm 51-53          Evening:  Psalm 54-55

Day 12: Morning:  Psalm 56-58          Evening:  Psalm 59-61

Day 13: Morning:  Psalm 62-64          Evening:  Psalm 65-66

Day 14: Morning:  Psalm 67-68          Evening:  Psalm 69

Day 15: Morning:  Psalm 70-72          Evening:  Psalm 73-74

Day 16:  Morning: Psalm 75-77          Evening:  Psalm 78

Day 17:  Morning: Psalm 79-81          Evening:  Psalm 82-84

Day 18:  Morning: Psalm 85-88          Evening:  Psalm 89

Day 19:  Morning: Psalm 90-92          Evening:  Psalm 93-96

Day 20:  Morning: Psalm 97-100        Evening:  Psalm 101-102

Day 21:  Morning: Psalm 103-104      Evening:  Psalm 105

Day 22:  Morning: Psalm 106              Evening:  Psalm 107

Day 23:  Morning:  Psalm 108-109     Evening:  Psalm 110-114

Day 24:  Morning: Psalm 115-116      Evening:  Psalm 117-118

Day 25:  Morning: Psalm 119:1-48     Evening:  Psalm 119:49-96

Day 26.  Morning.  Psalm 119:97-144 Evening:  Psalm 119:145-176

Day 27.  Morning:  Psalm 120-123      Evening:  Psalm 124-128

Day 28    Morning:  Psalm 129-133    Evening:  Psalm 134-136

Day 29.  Morning:  Psalm 137-139     Evening:  Psalm 140-143

Day 30.  Morning.  Psalm 144-146      Evening:  Psalm 147-150








Gospel readings:  Read all the Gospels in one month

In preparation. 

Hebrew Scriptures

You are encouraged to choose one or more of the plans below. (more will be added soon)  There is a daily reading. You are encouraged to read aloud prayerfully the reading for the day. If you begin on day 1 of a month over that month you will have read the whole of that book/s.

Hebrew Scriptures


Pentateuch a) Genesis Exodus


Pentateuch  b)  Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy


History:  (before monarch) Joshua – 2 Samuel


History: ( During Monarchy) 1 Kings – 2 Chronicles


History:  (during Exile)  : Ezra – Esther


Wisdom and Songs: Psalms


Wisdom and songs:   Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs


Major Prophet; Isaiah


Major Prophets: Jeremiah, Lamentations


Major Prophets: Ezekiel, Daniel


Minor Prophets.


New Testament






Epistles and Revelation


Founding Documents


Basis of Union


John Wesley’s sermons


Westminster Confession


ACC Theological declaration




The Torah/Pentateuch


Pentateuch a) Genesis Exodus


Day 1:  Genesis 1 -3

Day 2:  Genesis 4-6

Day 3:  Genesis 7-9

Day 4:   Genesis 10-12

Day 5:  Genesis 13-16

Day 6:  Genesis 17-19

Day 7:  Genesis 20-23

Day 8:  Genesis -24

Day 9:  Genesis 25-27

Day 10: Genesis 28-30

Day 11:  Genesis 31-33

Day 12:  Genesis 34-36

Day 13:  Genesis 37-39

Day 14:  Genesis 40-42

Day 15:  Genesis 43-45

Day 16:  Genesis 46-48

Day 17:  Genesis 49-50  Exodus 1

Day 18:  Exodus 2-4

Day 19:  Exodus 5-7

Day 20:  Exodus 8-10

Day 21:  Exodus 11-13

Day 22:  Exodus  14-16

Day 23:  Exodus  17-19

Day 24:  Exodus 20-22

Day 25:  Exodus  23-25

Day 26:  Exodus  26-28

Day 27:   Exodus 29-31

Day 28: Exodus 32-34

Day 29:  Exodus 35-37

Day 30:  Exodus 38-40
















Pentateuch  b)  Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy


Day 1:  Leviticus 1-4

Day 2:  Leviticus 5-7

Day 3:  Leviticus 8-11

Day 4:   Leviticus 12-14

Day 5:  Leviticus 15-18

Day 6:  Leviticus 19-22

Day 7:  Leviticus 23-25

Day 8:  Leviticus: 26-27;  Numbers 1

Day 9:  Numbers 2-4

Day 10: Numbers 5-6

Day 11:  Numbers 7

Day 12:  Numbers 8-11

Day 13:  Numbers

Day 14:  Numbers 12-15

Day 15:  Numbers 16-18

Day 16:  Numbers  19-21

Day 17:  Numbers 22-24

Day 18:  Numbers 25-27

Day 19:  Numbers 28-31

Day 20:  Numbers 32-34

Day 21:  Numbers 35-36; Deuteronomy 1

Day 22:  Deuteronomy 2-4

Day 23:  Deuteronomy 5-8

Day 24:  Deuteronomy 9-12

Day 25:  Deuteronomy 13-16

Day 26:  Deuteronomy 16-21

Day 27:   Deuteronomy 22-25

Day 28:  Deuteronomy  26-28

Day 29:   Deuteronomy: 29-31

Day 30:  Deuteronomy: 32-34