Revisit the 80s with Amy Grant & Me
If We're Honest - A CD Review

The Psalms Teach Us What Prayer Really Is

We discussed prayer in Bible study one evening. A lady shared a story about some of her earliest childhood memories. 

I remember coming downstairs every morning and seeing my dad praying at the kitchen table. He was a farmer so he got up early to take care of the cows. Then, he’d sit down to the table for a time of prayer until us kids got up.


Her words burned a picture in my mind. They also sent a message to my heart. What image would my daughter remember of me in the early morning hours? Would she remember me reading my Bible to start my day? Would she recall times I bowed my head in prayer?


I felt convicted as I realized I’m not very good at that last part. I pray throughout the day as God lays people or circumstances on my heart. I spend a lot of time praying He would help me find something (how often I misplace items in my own house). But at 5:30 in the morning... after milking the cows. I don’t do anything at 5:30 in the morning but sleep.


I received a copy of A Travelogue of the Interior written by Karen Dabaghian from NetGalley for the purpose of generating a review. This book released in April 2015. Italicized quotes from this point on are from the book. The opinions expressed here are my own.


That’s why I appreciated the lessons I learned from A Travelogue of the Interior, A debut book written by Karen Dabaghian. What started out as a 12-week class through her church turned into an entire year immersed in the Psalms. In telling readers her story, she encourages us to use the Psalms to help us carry on a real, transparent conversation with God.


Isn’t that what prayer really is, a conversation with God?


This book is one such instance, a simple telling of what happens when we take the Psalms seriously, peruse their nuances, and labor to sing them back to God?


In her journey, Karen would read one Psalm at a time. She would read it in the context where it was written, often taking her to the biblical books of 1 and 2 Samuel. She would read commentary about a particular Psalm. She’d immerse herself in the emotion of the Psalm. Finally, she’d put pen to paper and pen her own thoughts to God.


I wrote a lot of bad poetry. I wrote some good poetry. But most importantly, I discovered a place of raw intimacy with God. As it turned out, God wasn’t a literary critic - God just wanted me to talk to Him honestly, no posturing or posing.


Isn’t that what prayer really is, talking with God honestly?


She wove a story of what she had going on in her life personally with what God was teaching her through the Psalms. Thus the term, travelogue. About her friend, Jim, who fought a mighty battle with ALS before Jesus called him home. About her pastor, the Rabbi, who has learned so much in his own journey through the Psalms.




She encourages her readers to traverse through the Psalms on their own, warning us in no uncertain terms that the entire process starts with the act of lament. Raw, honest conversation with God. In particular, she helps you get started by providing you reflection questions she labels “Vista.” 

Grab pen and paper, get away from your chores, gadgets, and other people. Just listen. What do you hear? Wind laughing with trees? The ebb and flow of traffic? The metronome tick of a wall clock? Listen to yourself - your feelings, your fidgetings, your doodles. If anything occurs to you, write it down. Practice solitude.


Here is one of the author’s poems, based on what God showed her through Psalm 4: 

Evening (by Karen Dabaghian)

Night air carries the sounds of

cars on the freeway

and crickets. 

Dark loiters just outside my door

minding its manners

and my lamp.


Alone at last, deep calls to deep 

and hunger gnaws

at my soul. 

Push just below the surface 

and there I am,



What? Everything. You. Me, too.

To taste and see

what is real.

I think I’d give my whole life

for one day without



The Psalms brought me every single day to Jesus.


Isn’t that what prayer really is, coming to Jesus every single day?


After reading this book I sense deep within me that working my way through the Psalms holds a key to enhancing my prayer life as well.


comments powered by Disqus