Book Review: Praying the Psalms: Drawing Near to the Heart of God by Ben Patterson

Title:  Praying the Psalms: Drawing Near to the Heart of God
Reflection:   Ben Patterson
Publisher:  Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
Release Date:  March 1, 2017
Genre: Devotional

Learn to speak the language of God’s own heart.
Have you ever tried to pour out your deepest feelings to God, only to discover that you can’t find the words? We want to feel connected to God, but sometimes it seems like we’re not speaking the same language.

There is no better place in all of Scripture than Psalms to learn to be with God. Praying the Psalms includes 50 selections from this book—songs of praise, cries for help, glad rejoicings, and humble offerings—accompanied by inspirational devotions that will open a divine window in your prayer life.

Adapted from God’s Prayer Book; now in a deluxe LeatherLike binding.

Praying the Psalms is adapted from Ben Patterson's God's Prayer Book and though I've not read that one, I've heard great things. I was looking forward to Praying the Psalms with the intention of diving deeper into the meaning of the Psalms and in turn be a tool towards my prayer life. In the introduction, the author already stated that this is a "beginner's guide in learning to pray the Psalms." His aim "is not to tell you what to pray, but rather to say just enough about each psalm to stir your heart and imagination to lead you into prayer." With that, I continue on.

Psalms is the book of prayers in the Bible. The eloquence and insight in each psalm is the very reason I want to study Psalms, yet many times, I feel that I don't understand it as well as I should. Praying the Psalms is not a commentary, nor is it a reference guide. Praying the Psalms contains a selection of 50 Psalms where the author shares the whole or selected verses of the psalm first, then breaks it down by key passages. From there, he shares with us his devotional thoughts and reflections. In truth, I do find it useful as there are some background to the verses, and understanding on how the psalm acts as a prayer and how to lead us into prayers of our own. I specifically like the end where there is a "Psalm for a specific need," which would be a great source. 

As a pocket guide, the lovely leatherlike cover and pocket size makes it ideal to carry around and to reflect on when the need arise. Though I do wish it include all the psalms, but I understand that it negates the purpose of a pocket resource if it gets too big.  It is a good source, and I look forward to diving in more after this review. 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, and have not been compensated for this. This is my honest opinion.

For my review policy, please see my Disclosure page.



Reverend Ben Patterson has been campus pastor at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California, since 2001. He is responsible for organizing the college's chapel program, mentoring students, counseling, and encouraging every person in the Westmont community to grow toward their full maturity in Christ.

He is a contributing editor to Christianity Today and Leadership Journal. Previously he was a contributing editor and editorial writer with The Wittenburg Door. Ben has written several books, including Serving God: The Grand Essentials of Work & WorshipWaiting: Finding Hope When God Seems SilentDeepening Your Conversation with GodThe Prayer Devotional Bible; and He Has Made Me Glad. Ben's most current work, which was released in November 2008, is God's Prayer Book: The Power and Pleasure of Praying the Psalms.

Ben served at New Providence Presbyterian Church of New Jersey from 1989 until his appointment as dean of the chapel at Hope College in 1993. From 1975 to 1998 he served as the founding pastor of Irvine Presbyterian Church in California. Ben was also minister of youth and adult education at La Jolla Presbyterian Church in California. Previous to that he was assistant minister to college students at First Baptist Church of Pomona, California, working with the Claremont Colleges.

Ben earned his bachelor's degree from La Verne University and his master of divinity from the American Baptist Seminary of the West. Ben and his wife, Lauretta, have four adult children: three married sons, a daughter, and a grandson.




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