P.R.A.Y. Psalm 80 “Restore Us, O God”
Goal: To understand the Psalms better – not only how they were used in ancient times but how modern Christians use them to pray and worship.
Background: Psalm 80 can be called a “lament”. It is a heartfelt cry for God to restore Israel’s former faithfulness and sense of living under the obvious blessing of God.
We might call this a “prayer for revival” or “renewal”.
It is impossible to understand the imagery of the Psalm fully without continual reference to numerous other passages and concepts in the history of Israel.
A study bible that lists “cross references” will help make these phrases clearer.
Look these cross references up, read them in their original setting, and then ask yourself how Psalm 80 uses them.
For example, what does it mean to pray for God’s face to “shine” (v.3)? This is a cross reference, among others, to Numbers 6:25, the blessing the Aaronic priests would pronounce over the Israelites as they marched to possess the promised land.
The writer of Psalm 80 is “in the Promised Land” already. So how would God’s “shining” relate to these people?
As Christians we do not “enter the promised land” so to speak. How might this prayer apply today? How would the blessing apply today? It is frequently used in church services of one type or another.
Many more wonderful cross references should be looked up such as the reference to the “cherubim” in v. 1. Pertinent verses are Cf. 1 Sam. 4:4; 2 Sam. 6:2 (1 Chron. 13:6); 2 Kings 19:15 (Isa. 37:16); Ps. 99:1. They ultimately refer to the tabernacle and the “Ark of the Covenant” from Exodus 25:17-22.
As you read those verses, how do they deepen our understanding of God? Why do they describe God in that way?
In the same way, what does the Psalmist mean by “saved”? How does it amplify our understanding of “salvation”?
Additional Helps and Tools:
- Use more than one Bible version (i.e. New Living Translation, English Standard Version; New International Version). By comparing different versions, often a question is answered.
- The ESV Study Bible, NIV Study Bible, and NET Bible have notes can help you understand various Bible issues and provide additional information
- Read through Psalm 80 this week. Observe, Interpret and P.R.A.Y. through the Psalm and be prepared to share next week.
- As part of your “observing” and interpreting, answer the questions above.
- For more tips on how to “Observe” and “Interpret” remember you can always check out this web page: PrayTheBible.net and click on the “What-How To” page, then “Observe”.
- How will you say “Yes!” to God as a result of studying Psalm 80?
- Who will you share the message of Psalm 80 with in the coming week? Family? Friend? Co-worker?