If you ever find yourself in a praying rut, let me introduce you to something that may just pull you out of it. I’m not sure how I started doing this. It might have been with my friend Dave Sommer, whom I mentioned a couple of weeks back. Maybe someone else introduced us to it, but however it happened, some many years ago I began praying through the Psalms verse by verse. It has been a joyous part of my prayer life for over 25 years.
It works like this: you read a verse or two from a Psalm and then you pray about it, however the Lord leads you. For instance…
“The Lord is my Shepherd. I shall not want. (Psalm 23:1 ESV)
“Lord, we praise you today because you are a Good Shepherd. You feed us…you protect us…you care for us. We have everything we need.”
The joy of praying the Psalms is that it aligns your heart with David, the man after God’s own heart, and therefore, in general, tends to keep your prayers God-centered.
Mostly I do this with a friend, although occasionally I do it on my own. Dave and I prayed the Psalms together that summer in 1986, but it was my buddy Mike Shea who in future years would really became my Psalm praying friend. Today, Jeff Thompson (Edgewood’s Director of Worship) and I probably do it a couple of times a month. We laughed about it this week because we can never remember what Psalm we’re on. (He’s better at the memory thing than I am though.) And, Psalm-praying is the format of prayer we use at our men’s prayer meeting 6:45 a.m. every Thursday.
Sometimes you read a verse and you have no idea what to pray (The Psalm 137 verse about dashing your infants against the rocks comes to mind). In such cases you can admit you have no idea, or just fake it till you make it. I think this latter idea is our general plan on Thursday mornings. That’s fine – just pray about whatever is on your heart.
Try it some time. I think you’ll find that it’s a great way to seek the Lord…by praying His word back to Him.