So you can imagine how delighted I was when a recent challenge from 40 Ways to Grow Closer to God involved praying a Psalm.
I love the idea of praying God's Word back to Him. There's something powerful about repeating inspired words back to our Holy God. I can't help but believe that it makes Him smile.
If praying God's Word is a new concept for you, I think Psalms is a perfect place to start. In most cases, the psalms are prayers that were sung. And some of them are so very personal, you almost don't need to change the words.
I'll give you an example from a familiar Psalm....Psalm 23. If you wanted to pray Psalm 23, you might say something like this.
Father, you are my shepherd. With you as my shepherd, I know I have everything I need. Thank you for providing ways for me to rest and for restoring my soul. Please continue to lead me in paths of righteousness for Your fame and glory.
Get the idea?
Now, the above example assumes that you are in a pretty good place when you start your prayer. But we all know...well...here's another version.
Father, I know you are my shepherd, but there are so many things we need right now. Please provide. I am so tired, Lord. If I have another day like yesterday, I won't make it past breakfast. Please lead me to places of rest. A few green pastures and quiet streams would be such a blessing after the roller coaster ride I've been on lately. My soul is wrung out. I cannot fix it on my own. Abba, you're the only one who can restore my soul. Right now, I don't know what to do, or where to turn. Please lead me. Show me the right path, not so I can boast, but so you will be glorified.
See the difference?
Regardless of whether you're relaxing by a cool stream in a soft, grassy field, or fighting for each step through a dark valley, try praying a few Psalms today. You might even consider getting really bold and journaling your version.
We're not going for literary genius here! There's not a right or wrong way to do this. When you first start praying God's Word, it's okay to "cut & paste" - just pray the words exactly as you read them. Over time, you'll naturally get more creative with the method.
The idea is to communicate with God. Prayer isn't talking (or shouting) at Him. It's opening ourselves up to what He wants to do. It's being still long enough to hear His soft voice. It's paying attention long enough to notice when He responds.
When you do, would you mind coming back here and sharing your experience with all of us? You could share the Psalm, or you could share why you chose it, the actual words you prayed, or how God has answered.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit! (That's from Philippians 4:23)