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.