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Devotional: Praying Through the Psalms

May 14, 2024

By Jill Motley, Women's & Men's Ministry Admin

Some people say the Psalms are the prayer book of the Bible. Others say the Psalms are the emotions of the Bible. Open the book of Psalms, and you will be able to find scripture written in emotions like despair, praise, trust, song, thanksgiving, and wisdom. 116 quotations from the Psalms are in the New Testament, showing us that the Psalms were used by early Christians in worship. Jesus Himself quoted the Psalms.

To pray the Psalms is to climb inside the scripture and let it become a part of us, changing the core of who we are and how we think. The Psalms give voice to our emotions when we cannot voice them for ourselves. It is here we can express our emotions to the creator of the universe in the safest relational environment. God is not offended by our cries just as He wasn't offended by the Biblical authors' cries. The Psalms are truly a gift to us as believers.

During the month of April, my small group has decided to pray through the Psalms. Using Lectio Divina, we are to choose a Psalm or two and take time to connect with God. Lectio Divina is a practice of reading, meditating, and understanding God's word. The process is as follows:

  1. Read the passage for the first time for content. Note any spots that stand out to you or make you pause.
  2. Read the passage a second time for meditation. Contemplate the parts. that made you pause. Reflect for a few moments.
  3. Read the passage the third time and consider if God is calling you or shaping you with His words. Praise Him for His work in you.

Here it is, April 18, and I have spent the last 18 or so days on Psalm 121. It reads:

I life up my eyes to the mountains — 

where does my help come from?

My help comes from the Lord,

the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip —

He who watches over you will not slumber;

indeed, He who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you —

the Lord is your shade at your right hand;

the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm —

He will watch over your life;

the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.

When I first started reading this Psalm, I said to myself, "Oh, I will pick a different Psalm each week." How much could I possibly spend a whole month on one short Psalm and continue to grow? Well, I can say that I am a few weeks in and, honestly, I don't want to leave this Psalm. Here are a few things I have learned so far.

  • I am small, and God is big. He is the creator of heaven, earth, me, and my day. He is who will help me today. Praise God!
  • He is watching. I am not alone; He sees it all and doesn't miss a single detail. Praise God!
  • He is holding the whole world in His mighty hands! I can trust Him in my prayers for this world. Praise God!
  • He is my shade, my safe place out of the oppressive heat. Shade, beautiful shade that is close to me. Praise God!
  • He will not stop watching over me. Even when times are difficult, He is watching, now and forevermore! Praise God!

I encourage you to take some time to consider praying through a Psalm. Pick one out that gives your heart a stir, and then climb inside to have your world changed.

Praying for all of you. 

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