All True Prayer Becomes Praise Eventually image

All True Prayer Becomes Praise Eventually

All [true] prayer, pursued far enough, becomes praise. Any prayer, no matter how desperate its origin, no matter how angry and fearful the experiences it traverses, ends in up praise. It does not always get there quickly or easily—the trip can take a lifetime—but the end is always praise ... There are intimations of this throughout the Psalms. Not infrequently, even in the middle of a terrible lament, defying logic and without transition, praise erupts ...

Psalm 150 does not stand alone; four more hallelujah psalms are inserted in front of it so that it becomes the fifth of five psalms that conclude the Psalter. These five hallelujah psalms are extraordinarily robust ... [This means] no matter how much we suffer, no matter our doubts, no matter how angry we get, no matter how many times we have asked in desperation “How long?”, prayer develops finally into praise. Everything finds its way to the doorstep of praise. This is not to say that other prayers are inferior to praise, only that all prayer pursued far enough, becomes praise ... Don’t rush it. It may take years, decades even, before certain prayers arrive at the hallelujahs, at Psalms 146-150. Not every prayer is capped off with praise. In fact, most prayers, if the Psalter is a true guide, are not. But prayer is always reaching toward praise and will finally arrive there.

So ... our lives fill out in goodness. Earth and heaven meet in an extraordinary conjunction. Clashing cymbals announce the glory. Blessing. Amen. Hallelujah.

—Eugene Peterson, Answering God, quoted in Tim Keller, Prayer: Experiencing Awe and Intimacy with God

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