35 Centuries of Praise: Part 1
Prayer in disguise

All Christian hymns have either a horizontal dimension (instruction, encouragement, or correction), a vertical dimension (prayer or praise), or both.

Hymns or psalms with the vertical dimension are really prayers in disguise. If they also have a horizontal dimension, that suggests that our communal prayers could also have this aspect. (Usually we think of prayer as being vertical only.) This switching back and forth is most obvious in the Psalms.

I think the idea is that God is included as a participant in a conversation his people are having. Some of that conversation is addressed directly to Him, some to His people, and some even even to unbelievers.

Read a psalm (Ps. 32, for example), and ask yourself, “Is this vertical or horizontal?” Then watch for the surprising answer.

Steve has been a Bible teacher for over 30 years. He has written many articles, more than 20 e-books, and several study guides, most recently, Overcoming: Guide to Understanding the Book of Revelation. His website, DeeperStudy.com, encourages all people to go deeper in their understanding of the Word of God, the Bible, and to become authentic, New Testament Christians who serve a risen Lord.

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