Life asks impossibly difficult things of us at times, and too often we can lose our way. We can misplace our maps that led us to the Father in the first place. We have drifted off center.
When Teems experienced this drift, he devoted himself to reading Psalm 119. He read the twenty-two sections in twenty-two days.
Strategy 119 is the application of Psalm 119. It is a progression, reading a section each day over twenty-two days. “With every movement toward the interior, the hope is that you will, with each successive day, surrender another part of yourself, that you will allow God permission to meddle deeply and effectively in your lean inner man to the finest possible detail.” (53)
Psalm 119 is Scripture about Scripture. It serve as a passage into all of Scripture. Before beginning, Teems asks just how willing we are, how badly we want to be caught up in the current of God.
The rules to his Strategy 119:
Read only eight verses a day (perhaps more than once). Do not skip a day.
Read them out loud. Listen to the creative Word.
If possible, isolate yourself. Try to keep a routine of time and place.
He includes a few “lesser” rules, such as including prayer and writing in a journal.
For each day, Teems has listed a quote from various authors, the portion of the Psalm, a short meditation, comments about the section's Hebrew letter, and a short prayer.
Teems adds many of his own insights. For example, for Day 11, on the letter kaph: “It resembles the palm of the hand. It is a symbol of nurture and protection, of paternity and comfort. Often the kaph includes a dot in the center that intensifies the image of one cradled in the palm of God.” (143)
Teems is a wordsmith. Here is his prayer from Day 20:
“I am an excess of wind and whine. I have been self-serving my entire life. I am the head and I am the tail. The greater part tail. Even some of my better intentions were fueled by my selfishness. Let the complaint in me die – the whine, the howl, the whimpering and needy little man. Breathe life into the neglected parts, the unfed and unredeemed parts. Save me according to your great love. You are Holy. Holy. Holy.” (189)
Teems predicts at the end of twenty-two days we will feel a “quickening of the interior.” (199) That fire will need maintenance. He suggests we read a portion of Scripture every day, and read it as a form of prayer. If we begin to drift out of center, return to the Strategy 119.
This book is a great tool to use when we get off track. Pick up this book and savor the work of Scripture in your life.
David Teems is the author of several books, a recording artist, songwriter, worship leader, and speaker. David and his family life in Franklin, Tennessee.
Leafwood Publishers, 202 pages.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.