Born in November of 1932, Eugene Peterson is now 85, retired and the possessor of a wikipedia bio that is a woefully inadequate summary of his impossibly huge influence on the Church. He has been a mentor to many almost from the beginning of his ministry when he planted Christ Our King Presbyterian Church in Bel Air, Maryland.
In my college years, I sometimes took a route between Philadelphia and College Park, Maryland that took me right past his church. I never stopped.
This past week I stumbled onto a gem from Peterson’s many gifts to the world in the short book, Answering God: The Psalms As Tools for Prayer. Those of you who are prejudiced against books that weren’t written yesterday will have no time for this one that was written 30 years ago. But those of you who have no such prejudice will find Peterson’s 150 pages taste like your favorite beverage after a day working in the hot sun—cool, refreshing, and complete satisfying.
There is a shelf in my office bearing the weight of 100+ books, all on prayer, and I don’t think there is a better one to introduce and guide the reader in how to pray the Psalms, the prayer book of Jesus. Read this book and grow. Read it slowly. And you might want to read it again next year and the year after too.
“. . . prayer requires that we deal with God—this God who is determined on nothing less than the total renovation of our lives. We would rather have a religious bull session.”
Eugene Peterson, Answering God, 12.
Let’s get beyond a religious bull session.
Let’s plow on to the face of God with the words of God in psalms.