Tag Archives: Psalm 150

Just Breathe

Just Breathe (CaD Ps 150) Wayfarer

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Psalm 150:6 (NIV)

With today’s chapter, Psalm 150, this chapter-a-day journey through all 150 chapters of the anthology of ancient Hebrew song lyrics is complete. The editors of the compilation chose a short, powerful song of praise for the final refrain. Some scholars believe that it may have been composed for this purpose. In the original Hebrew language, “Praise the LORD” is “Hallelu Ya.” Thus, we end the journey with a shout of “Hallelujah!” and a call for “everything that has breath” to join in the chorus.

Among my local gathering of Jesus’ followers we have a very active team of people who are committed to the spiritual discipline of prayer. They do a great job of teaching others, myself included, in ways to develop our spiritual muscle in this essential practice.

A few years ago, I learned from our prayer team a simple technique that transforms my natural rhythm of breathing into a repeated prayer. One phrase is repeated with every inhale, and another phrase is repeated on every exhale. I have personally found this helpful when I am trying to quiet myself from stress or anxiety and when I am preparing my heart to enter into corporate worship.

As for the specific phrases used, the options are endless, but I have found that certain familiar lines from Jesus teaching and the Great Story that I have particularly helpful…

Inhale: “Come to me you who are weary”
Exhale: “I will give your soul rest.”

Inhale: “Cast all my anxieties on Him.”
Exhale: “He cares for me.”

Inhale: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty”
Exhale: “Who was, and is, and is to come. The whole earth is full of His glory
(This one helps me breathe deeply! 🙂 )

Inhale: “Let everything that has breath”
Exhale: “Praise the LORD.”

In the quiet this morning, I find myself reflecting on my spiritual journey. As a child I was taught religion, in which empty rituals were carried out as part of a transactional process. I did the religious things in an effort to counter-balance my human failures with religious duties in the hope of earning God’s favor. After entering into a relationship with Jesus, I came to learn that the Spirit connects and holds all things together. It made all the empty religious ritual even more impotent while, at the same time, a whole knew world of possibility opened up to me. I discovered that connection with the God of creation is as simple and profound as breathing.

Just breathe.

If you know anyone who might be encouraged by today’s post, please share.


B.B. King All Star Drummerpraise him with the clash of cymbals,
    praise him with resounding cymbals.
Psalm 150:5 (NIV)

When Wendy and I were on our cruise we had the pleasure of being entertained nightly by the B.B. King All-Stars, an amazing group of Memphis based musicians. One night late in the week the band gave the vocalists a break and played a jazz set. They jammed on one tune that continued to build and build in intensity as each musician took solo turns. Towards the end of the song as things reached a fevered pitch, the drummer took off on a frenzied drum solo. I’ve seen, known and played with many drummers in my life. I have never seen anything quite like we witnessed that night. Cymbals crashed, sticks splintered and shattered as he beat the drums, threw caution to the wind, and lost himself in wild abandon. By the end of the song, he’d broken the snare drum.

In the introductory liner notes of some of the psalms you’ll see the Hebrew word shiggaion. No one knows for certain what the ancient musical term means, but the transliteration hints at a word picture of someone reeling as if intoxicated. Scholars suggest that these psalms were raucous songs intended for people to worship with the same loud, ecstatic, wild abandon Wendy and I witnessed in the musicians and drummer.

Wise King Solomon wrote that there is a time for everything under the sun. Certainly, there is a time for thoughtful, respectful quiet worship music. One of the most important lessons I’ve taken from the psalms is that there is also a time for shiggaion.

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Chapter-a-Day Psalm 150

The Divine Hours Hallelujah! Praise God in his holy house of worship, praise him under the open skies; Psalm 150:1 (MSG)

Over the past two weekends I've been able to spend a lot of time "under the open skies." It never ceases to amaze me how our little place at the lake is as much spiritual refuge as it is vacation play place. For several months now I've been enjoying "The Divine Hours." It's a selection of daily prayers divided into four daily offices. It's a return to the ancient idea of taking time each day, at different times of the day, to stop what you're doing and pray.

At the lake, the daily prayer times took on a deeper meaning for me. I felt the depth of the water, the rootedness of the trees, and the expanse of the skies as I quietly prayed through each office in the morning, mid-day and evening. As I read the opening lyric to Psalm 150 this morning, I caught the contrast of the author. Praise God in church, but praise Him under the open skies, too. There is much to be gained from learning to praise God inside church and out.