Praying the Psalms is a powerful way to pray God’s Word. There is nothing like waking in the morning to a brewed cup of tea or coffee–it’s a wonderful Psalm to begin your day! Spending time praying the Psalms each day is a great way to connect with God and receive refreshment and strength for our souls.
What if we woke up each day with a Psalm on our hearts and a hymn of praise on our lips? We would conquer our days with greater peace instead of finding ourselves paralyzed by fear and anxiety. Instead of wallowing in despair and defeat, we would be determined to hand over our cares to the One who prepares a feast for us in the presence of our enemies (Psalm 23:5).
So how can praying the Psalms radically transform our prayer lives and give us strength and peace each day? Let’s look at how praying the Psalms will revive and restore our souls.
What are the Psalms?
Before diving into how to pray the Psalms, let’s first look at what a Psalm actually is. There are many types of literature that the Bible was written in (narrative, history, poetry, prophecy, parables, biographies, to name a few.) A psalm is a sacred song or poem used in worship (source). The Psalms in the Bible are a collection of poetry and hymns that were written specifically for singing praises to God. Many of the Psalms were written by King David, although some were written by the Sons of Korah (source).
It is important to understand that the Psalms were written in the beautiful literary style of poetry, and were designed to be accompanied with music. When we read the Psalms, this helps us understand the purpose of the Psalms, and how we can best incorporate them into our lives.
When we read the Psalms we are not just reading historical information, but powerful depictions of poetic language that highlights the greatness of our God. The Psalms also describe real human emotions, struggles, victories, and feelings of joy, and despair. We can identify with many of the emotions in the Psalms as we walk through our own spiritual journeys with God.
Why do we Pray the Psalms?
The Psalms are not only great for reading and reciting during times of worship, but praying the Psalms is a wonderful way to pray Scripture. Praying the Psalms is a powerful way to pray because reading the Psalms is like reading a prayer journal filled with the thoughts, feelings, and praises of the psalmists. Praying the Psalms is also a great way of expressing our heartfelt emotions, desires, and our love for God.
How Can We Pray the Psalms?
When praying the Psalms, we can use the prayers straight from Scripture to personalize them with our own thoughts and experiences.
When I pray the Word of God, I like to use the 4 P’s of prayer:
Step 1: Pick a Psalm (or another Bible passage)
When choosing a Psalm to pray, you don’t have to choose an entire chapter. You can pick a Psalm with a couple of verses. Make sure that you read the context of the passage so that you can best understand the Psalm and what it means.
Related: Read this post on how to study God’s Word, and download a FREE devotional planner!
Step 2: Paraphrase the Psalm
After you have chosen the Psalm you want to pray, you can write it down on a prayer journal page. Then you can write down the passage in your own words.
Step 3: Pray the Psalm
After you have written the Psalm in your own words, write your thoughts down as a prayer. You can add your own emotions and experiences, and really make it your own. God loves to hear from us when we pray!
Step 4: Praise God in your Prayer
Remember that the Psalms were used as a way to worship God through singing and music. You don’t have to turn your prayer into a song, but praising God in your prayer is a powerful act of worship. He is good, and is worthy of our praise!
Praying the Psalms can cultivate sweet communion with God. It calms the turbulent storms in our lives, and restores our souls by the still, quiet waters of his presence!
Here are six different types of Psalms that you can incorporate into your prayers.
Six Different Types of Psalms to Pray
1. Psalms of Praise
I will give thanks to the Lord because of his righteousness; I will sing the praises of the name of the Lord Most High.Psalm 7:17
Some of the most common Psalms in Scripture are Psalms of praise to God. Whenever you need to be reminded of the greatness of our God, read a Psalm of praise! These Psalms will take your focus off of the challenges in your life, and help you put your trust in the awesome power of God!
Here are a few Psalms of praise to pray:
Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits—who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
I will extol the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.I will glory in the Lord; let the afflicted hear and rejoice. Glorify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together.
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Related: Check out this blog post on 11 Psalms of thanksgiving to pray!
Praying the Psalms: A Prayer of Praise
Prayer: Lord, I give thanks to you because you are righteous and holy, and I praise you for who you are. Your Word says that the praises of your people silence the voice of the enemy (Psalm 8:2), therefore I open my mouth and glorify your name! I will worship you with gladness and come before you with joyful songs (Psalm 100:1). As long as I live, may I continue to glorify your name. Amen.
2. Psalms of Protection
But let all who take refuge in you be glad let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you.Psalm 5:11
The book of Psalms is also filled with prayers and hymns of God’s protection over his people. What a comfort it is to know that God’s shield of grace and favor surrounds us!
Here are some powerful Psalms on God’s power and protection in our lives.
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
“Because the poor are plundered and the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the Lord. “I will protect them from those who malign them.”
May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, Lord, is in you.
Do not withhold your mercy from me, Lord; may your love and faithfulness always protect me.
Praying the Psalms: A Prayer of Protection
Prayer: Lord, thank you for spreading your protection over me and my family. I take refuge in your name as a strong tower, and I rejoice in you as my salvation. I praise you that you are my refuge and fortress. You are my God, in whom I trust. Please continue to surround me with your grace and favor as with a shield (Psalm 5:12).
Free Printable: Praying Psalm 91
Download a free printable page with the entire passage of Psalm 91 in the printable below!
3. Psalms of Blessing
The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.Psalm 21:11
I love praying Psalms of blessing over my family. We can confidently pray for God’s blessings in our lives because he has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1:3). There are so many Psalms that highlight God’s blessings over his people. Here are some Psalms of blessings that you can use to pray in your life each day!
From the Lord comes deliverance. May your blessing be on your people.
Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god. They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Savior.
Blessed are all who fear the Lord, who walk in obedience to him. You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table.
Related: Check out this post on how you can pray Psalm 128 over your family, and download a free printable!
Praying the Psalms: A Prayer of Blessing
Prayer: Thank you Lord, for blessing me with your peace today. May your joy be my strength as I go about my day. May your blessings of peace, hope continue to rest upon me and my family. Amen.
4. Psalms of Lament
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.Psalm 42:5
Psalms of lament are Psalms that we can pray to God when we are in deep despair, grief or sorrow. Even on the days when we feel down or have suffered great loss, the Lord meets us in our pain. When we need to cry out to the Lord, he is there, keeping each tear in a bottle (Psalm 56:8). No shed tear goes unnoticed by our Good Shepherd.
When you are in difficult seasons filled with sadness and grief, know that God has never left your side, and will carry you through the darkest storms.
Here are a few Psalms of lament that we can pray when we need to cry out to God:
I went about mourning as though for my friend or brother. I bowed my head in grief as though weeping for my mother.
You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book.
Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.
Praying the Psalms: A Prayer of Lament
Prayer: Lord, even in my despair, you are here with me. Though I may not understand all of life’s circumstances, I will trust in your unfailing love, for you are my Savior, and my God.
5. Psalms of Love
Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.Psalm 63:3
How wonderful it is to reflect on the love of God! There are so many great Psalms that highlight God’s unfailing love. That is the beauty of reading the Psalms as prayers of poetry. The rich imagery of God’s amazing love is powerfully described in the Psalms.
Here are a few Psalms that beautifully describe the powerful love of God!
But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.
Show me the wonders of your great love, you who save by your right hand those who take refuge in you from their foes.
Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.
By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me— a prayer to the God of my life.
Praying the Psalms: A Prayer of Love
Prayer: Oh Lord, your love is unending, overflowing, and unfailing! It is better than life itself, and may my lips and my life glorify you forever.
6. Psalms of Victory
Now this I know: The Lord gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand.Psalm 20:5
There are also Psalms that highlight the victory we have in the Lord! King David was a psalmist and a soldier, who fought many battles with the help of God. Though we may not fight in physical battles the way David did, we are constantly fighting spiritual battles. As it says in Ephesians 6:12, our struggles are not against the physical things around us, but against the spiritual forces of evil in heavenly realms. We can pray Psalms of victory when we need encouragement to conquer each day with the power of Christ!
Here are some Psalms of victory that we can use as we pray the Psalms:
May we shout for joy over your victory and lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the Lord grant all your requests.
Now this I know: The Lord gives victory to his anointed. He answers him from his heavenly sanctuary with the victorious power of his right hand.
…but you give us victory over our enemies, you put our adversaries to shame.
Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous: “The Lord’s right hand has done mighty things!
For the Lord takes delight in his people; he crowns the humble with victory.
Praying the Psalms: A Prayer of Victory
Prayer: Thank you Lord that through Christ, I have victory to overcome any obstacle in my life. No habit or sin has any power to rule my life. If you are for me, who can be against me? I praise you for the victory that I have through you!
40 Days of Praying through the Psalms
Will you join me in a 40-day challenge of praying through the Psalms? Find hope and peace through praying the Word of God each day, and use this free Scripture reading plan to guide your prayers each day.
Praying the Psalms is a wonderful way to transform your prayer life! If you ever run out of things to pray about, read through the Psalms, and pray the Psalms as powerful prayers back to our Lord!
Looking for ways to deepen your prayer life? Sign up for the BOLD Prayers of Jesus Challenge! When you sign up for the challenge you will receive a prayer guide, Scripture reading plan, Scripture cards, a prayer journal, a Bible journaling page and more!