Praying Psalm 23

Long ago, I learned Psalm 23 “by heart.” This means that I memorized it and it became part of my heart.  I have said this psalm most nights for  years.  Recently I began to see how it can be used as a framework for a conversation with  God.  Here is what came to me:

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not be in want.”

  • Do I need a shepherd now?
  • How do I need to be led by Jesus?
  • Do I feel as if I don’t have everything I need?  Why? What is missing?
  • What shall I pray for?

He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside still waters.  He restores my soul.”

  • Do I need rest and quiet?  Do I need to catch my breath?
  • What do You want to teach me, Lord, in this stillness?
  • Do you see me as ready to listen?  Help me shut off the world.
  • How does my soul need to be restored and refreshed?

“He guides me in paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”

  • Am I headed in the right direction?
  • This is where I am confused, Lord . . .
  • Please give me . . .
  • What areas of unrighteousness do I need to confess?
  • Thank you for guiding me!

Even though I walk through the valley of the shaddow of death, I will fear no evil for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

  • What fears am I battling?  Are they phantom fears or do they have reality behind them?
  • If they are fears caused by my own decisions, how can I use Your rod and staff to protect me?
  • How can I come closer to You as I walk through the valley?

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies.

  • Who am I perceiving as an “enemy”?
  • Help me to pray for these enemies.
  • Help me invite them to the table of grace You have set for me.
  • Help me to see the face of Jesus in each of them.

You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

  • I feel Your favor!  I bask in Your delight.  I am surrounded by Your presence.
  • I am filled with gratitude for the blessings you have showered on me today.
  • I now recount these blessings . . . .

Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

  • I rest in the assurance of the knowledge that you go before me and behind me.
  • I will try to be aware of your presence every moment of the day.
  • I pray that I will leave a trail of goodness and love wherever I go.
  • I will rehearse every day that I am safe in Your unshakable kingdom.


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