PSALMS: Holy History by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The Prayer Book of the Bible

Holy History by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Psalms 78, 105, and 106 tell us about the history of the people of God on Earth, about the electing grace and faithfulness of God and the unfaithfulness and the ingratitude of his people.  Psalm 78 is not addressed as a prayer to anyone.  How ought we to pray these Psalms?  Psalm 106 summons us to thanksgiving, to praise, to commitment, to petition, to confession of sin, to the call for help in the light of the past history of salvation: thanksgiving for the goodness of God, which continues with respect to his people into eternity, which also we contemporaries experience as did our father; praise for the miracles which God works for our benefit, from the redemption of his people out of Egypt all the way to Golgotha; commitment to keep the command of God more faithfully than before; petitions concerning the grace of God according to his promise; confession of our own sins, unfaithfulness, and unworthiness in the face of such compassion; call for help concerning the final gathering and redemption of the people of God.

We pray these psalms when we regard all that God does once for his people as done for us, when we confess our guilt and God’s grace, when we hold God true to his promises on the basis of his former benefits and request their fulfillment, and when we finally see the entire history of God with  his people fulfilled in Jesus Christ, through whom we have been helped and will be helped.  For the sake of Jesus Christ we bring God thanksgiving, petition, and confession.


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