Psalms: Real Prayers for Real Life ~ a book review

Disclosure: I received this complimentary product from the publisher New Growth Press for the purpose of this review.

Psalms: Real Prayers for Real Life is a Bible study in the series The Gospel Centered Life In The Bible from New Growth Press. This study on Psalms was penned by Barbara Miller Juliani and Patric Knaak. I received the Study Guide with Leader’s Notes in PDF format to use and review.

Psalms: Real Prayers for Real Life is a 10 week study designed for a group, not individuals. It begins with an introduction, 10 lessons, an article titled “How and Why To Keep Praying The Psalms”, Leader’s Notes, and a list of resources for further reading. The PDF is 129 pages, so out of the reach of printing at home for me.

Each of the 10 lessons is set up in the same form. There is a start to the lesson with a few words of introduction and then the statement of the Big Idea for the Psalm in view for that lesson. It is followed by the reading of the Psalm and the Bible Conversation. This engages the group in discussing the ideas for the Psalm in view and getting some talk going about the depth of the issue and ideas. These questions for not have a single right answer so this will challenge some. There are suggested answers in the Leader’s Notes at the end of the file but they are not the only possibility. It is suggested that these are only looked at after some other options have been considered. The Lesson 1 Bible Conversation also includes some general information about the Psalms so that better understanding of them is possible.

Following the Bible Conversation, there is an article written by one of the authors relating to the Psalm. Each of these articles are about 3-4 pages in length and often relate a personal application of the idea of the Psalm by the author, followed with some human insight into the the idea. Questions follow this article asking the group to dig into their own lives to think about the idea and to uncover some areas to explore. There are no right or wrong answers for these so there are not any notes at the end of the file for these.

After the questions, there is an exercise designed to help the group apply the lessons from the idea to their own lives in a helpful, productive manner. It is an individual application so will be completed by each person. After completion, it is a good idea to discuss what group members are willing to share about how they completed the exercise. The exercises vary from considering prayer and writing specific areas in your life to pray about, doing some creative writing, considering what you value, facing your fears and praying about them, to many other ways to approach the topics of the Psalms. Each is designed to engage you more deeply with the word of God in the Psalms.

Each lesson ends with a wrap-up and prayer time. This is a dedicated time for considering prayer needs and praying as a group over what was learned and how to apply it.

It is expected that each lesson will take about an hour. There are time designations on each portion of the lesson, such as saying the article will take approximately 5 minutes. I feel like this is a bit short on the time frame as when I was working through it on my own, it would take about an hour for me to complete a lesson and I was working without a group for discussions.

My Overall Thoughts –

Honestly, I find it difficult to evaluate a book like this when it is in PDF form. I do much better with printed Bible studies. I prefer them. This format is especially difficult when you need to access the Leader’s Notes, which are at the very end. Then you have to scroll back to look at the question and scroll to the end again for the notes, etc. I think I would like this better and find it more enjoyable if I had a printed book. As it is, I found this very difficult to engage in this study.

Another reason I found this a difficult book is that it is unusual for a Bible study to ONLY group format. This one is highly so and thus individual study of this topic using this study was not enjoyable. I think it would be a very good study in group format with people you know and trust. Because the topics of the Psalms are very personal (fear, anger, loneliness, discontent, etc.), I think having a way to effectively utilize this as a personal Bible study would be good.

Overall, this is a strong group Bible study for a group that is comfortable with each other.

Lori, At Home.

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2 thoughts on “Psalms: Real Prayers for Real Life ~ a book review

  1. […] sure to check out other titles in this study series from New Growth Press, including Psalms, Jonah, Ruth, Exodus, Mark, Ephesians, Titus, Revelation, and I John. You can read my review of […]

  2. […] study. Be sure to check out other titles in this study series from New Growth Press, including Psalms, Jonah, Ruth, Exodus, Mark, Ephesians, Titus, Revelation, and Ecclesiastes. You can read my […]

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