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Psalms for Praying: An Invitation to Wholeness
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Psalms for Praying: An Invitation to Wholeness

4.44  ·  Rating Details ·  145 Ratings  ·  20 Reviews
Every commentary on the Book of Psalms has had to face the issue that many of these prayers commemorate and celebrate wrath and vengeance. What is needed is not ingenious exegetical rationalization of ancient texts, but the kind of transformation into a work of piety and art that is provided here.Addressed are the needs of a world seeking to counter individual and societal ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published December 5th 2006 by Bloomsbury Academic (first published September 28th 1997)
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Richard Zelley
This profoundly beautiful reworking of the Book of Psalms has become my most precious resource for spiritual nourishment. Nan Merrill's inspired rendition of the Psalms transforms the fearsome thunderings of Yahweh into the gentle blessings of the Beloved. If you lean towards being at all contemplative, you'll be forever grateful that you have this gem bedude you.

Nov 01, 2014 Stephen rated it really liked it
Shelves: poetry
The psalms of David transmuted into psalms of love. Something is lost, something gained. There is less thematic variation psalm to psalm here, each is less distinct. If I had to be on a desert island with one or the other version, however, I'd pick this one.
Harry Allagree
Jun 01, 2016 Harry Allagree rated it really liked it
This is the 10th Anniversary Edition of Psalms for Praying, with a copyright of 2007, & this paperback was reprinted in 2013. One appreciates how timely her interpretation of the 150 ancient Hebrew Psalms is from reading what Merrill writes in her preface: "Out of the silence, as I continue to meditate and dialogue with the Psalms, they become living prayers that evoke, albeit subtly, new insights, new emphases, new words and phrases, and in some instances, new verses...The plight of our ...more
Oct 14, 2014 Leah rated it it was amazing
psalms for some situations

Nan C Merrill has provided a lovely version of the psalter for occasional, or possibly daily, devotional use. Psalms for Praying is very much a version rather than a translation, yet it's a faithful and faith-filled version of the prayerbook of the synagogue and the church. Some of it is removed from historical context, but every one of us uses prayer models from scripture and from other writers as inspiration for shaping our own private - and sometimes public - prayers
Amos Smith
Sep 18, 2015 Amos Smith rated it it was amazing
Shelves: top-books-other
The Psalter or Book of Psalms is the most ancient prayer book there is. Nan Merill draws out the prayerful nature of the Psalms and gives them a fresh spin. I was first introduced to "Psalms for Praying" when I did a 10 day Centering Prayer Retreat at Benedict's Monastery in Snowmass, Colorado. Before each session of Centering Prayer someone read from this translation of the Psalms. This translation drew me in then and continues to draw me in now. Merill has a holistic and prayerful sensibility ...more
May 22, 2014 Steve rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've used this version of the Psalms as my primary meditative reading ever since I discovered it several years ago. I especially like her rendering of the "Bash my Heathen Enemies to Death" Psalms to a "Help me deal with my Spiritual and Mental Torments" type." That is, making them more inner than outer directed. These may not have the poetry of some other versions (like the King James), but I find them more relevant to my life.
Ginny Messina
Jan 13, 2008 Ginny Messina rated it really liked it
Shelves: spirit
Nan Merrill attempts to capture the essence of the psalms and reinterprets them as gentle prayerful poems. She is careful to note that her versions are not meant to replace the originals. In fact, in some instances, I have a little trouble seeing how they even relate to the originals. But that's okay—they are lovely and often inspiring pieces. Her Psalm 114 is one of my favorites as a prelude to contemplative prayer or meditation.
Apr 23, 2013 Joan rated it did not like it
Although the poetry was beautiful, I did not like the author's interpretations. I found each each psalm to be too similar to one another, and barely distinguishable from each other. The psalms all seemed to be diluted, oversimplified and reduced to a single theme 'our Beloved'. This rendition also eliminated any connection to their roots in Old Testament, and therefore much of the meanings were lost.
Sorqaqtani Beki
Sep 01, 2009 Sorqaqtani Beki rated it it was ok
The Psalms capture every emotion humans ever have toward God: fear, love, anger, gratitude, the whole gamut. Many of these emotions are unpleasant. In an effort to avoid being discomfited, Merrill reduces this whole span to mere shades of affection. It ends up sounding an awful lot like the Song of Songs, making me wonder if that book is itself the result of a similar process, through some more ancient voice.
Jun 23, 2013 Sarah rated it it was ok
Shelves: spirituality, poetry
Honestly, I wasn't thrilled with this book. I found some of the interpretations of the Psalms to be stale and not nearly approaching the inspired poetry of the originals. In addition, I felt like the author was "dropping" certain terms that are popular in certain groups like "co-creating" and others. On the plus side, I liked the premise -- an updated version of the psalms. I just felt that it was not everything it could have been.
Aug 23, 2007 Aggie rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: innerwork
One of my most important books and one I turn to daily. It is a rendition of the psalms that tranmutes the hurtful, vengeful language into words that comfort, inspire and reflect our lives at the same time. It is an inspired work and one that is accessible to anyone...not just "religious" or "spiritual" people.
Connie Backus-yoder
Jun 08, 2013 Connie Backus-yoder rated it it was amazing
If I could rate this with more stars I would. Many times reading passages brought me to deep tears because of her gentle way of reaching into the walls of my heart to uncover what my true desires are. I have read, but am still currently reading over and over.
Aug 27, 2014 Jobie rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2014
Great interpretation of all the Psalms into prayers. I would not call this a "translation" - it's not. It's more a personal reworking of the psalms into personal prayers.

It's great for inspiration, for a fresh look but not for a serious devotion.
Leslie Swaim-Fox
Jan 22, 2016 Leslie Swaim-Fox rated it it was amazing
This is a wonderful book for prayer. Not a translation of the psalm but a revisioning in light of Jesus. Modern in it language and themes. I love it.
Olivia Jackson
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