The hungry heart will plunge with longing into James Sire's new study, Learning to Pray Through the Psalms. But be forewarned. While this intelligent exploration may be written mostly for private study, it seems best navigated in a group. Indeed, to pray through Sire's "country of the Psalms," as Eugene Peterson describes the Psalter—with its deep and rocky calls for deliverance and vengeance—is to plow through spiritual fire and water. It may be best not to attempt this journey alone.

Thankfully, Sire offers 10 finely wrought chapters—based on specific psalms—with small-group study instructions on "how we might more profoundly employ these psalms as our own speech." With Sire as guide, groups can traverse the rich and salty range of the Psalms—finding timeless words for their modern feelings of pain and thirsting, joy and anger, wonder and praise.

As such, says Sire, this book "is more like instructions for riding a bike than a presentation of a theory of prayer." Rather than more talk on prayer, Sire aims to help people actually pray the Psalms. It's in such praying, Sire promises, that we discover that "Yes, yes, oh yes. This is what I want to say to God."

Related Elsewhere:

Learning to Pray Through the Psalms is available from and other retailers.

Other reviews of books on prayer and the Psalms include:

When You're Sick of Prayer | Two books that make a delightful difference. (December 21, 2006)
Stranger in a Strange Land | Words to God's Music: Laurance Wieder's splendid new version of the Psalter. (May 1, 2003)
The Psalms at Prayer (January 9, 1995)
Devotions on the Run | Help for going short and deep. (May 19, 1997)

Have something to add about this? See something we missed? Share your feedback here.

Our digital archives are a work in progress. Let us know if corrections need to be made.