When first began homeschooling, a curriculum that we used suggested we memorize entire chapters of scripture rather than a verse here or there. It said to read a passage out loud twice in the morning and twice at night.
We tried it and in just a few weeks, we had memorized all of Psalm One! Even our two year old knew Psalm One with hand motions.
Memorizing Psalms helps me in that when I want to pray, I can use the words of the Psalmist.
I can use Psalms 23 to pray when I am afraid and need to remind myself that God is with me and that I have no need to fear. Psalm 32 reminds me that my transgressions are forgiven and my sins are covered when I acknowledge them to God. Psalm 127 tells me that God gives sleep to those He loves and that I should not rise early and stay up late toiling for food to eat (or worrying).
Since Andrew’s death, I have taken great comfort from Psalm 139 and find myself thanking God that he was fearfully and wonderfully made; that God knew him and that all Andrew’s days were written in God’s book before one of them came to be.
There are so many wonderful Psalms that express the author’s desires and thoughts about who he knew God to be. David wrote about what God had done for him and was honest about his fears and feelings.
Perhaps you have a favorite Psalm. Consider turning it into a prayer.
Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers.
But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.
Not so the wicked! They are like chaff that the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.
Looking at this passage, who is blessed? Do you want your children to be blessed? If so, you could pray that they would have the character and behavior that the blessed man in this passage has.
I pray that Jack would delight himself in your law. Cause him to walk not in the counsel of the wicked but to seek wise counsel. Help him to resist temptation to stand as sinners do. Cause him to choose not to sit in the seat of mockers. Teach him to be like a tree planted by water and to yield good fruit in season. Lord, we know that the wicked will not stand in the judgement, but that you watch over the way of the righteous. Through the blood of Christ, my son is righteous. I ask You to watch over him as he goes on his way. Amen.
Another of my favorite Psalms, and one I memorized years ago, is Psalm 103. It talks of how much God loves us and the things He has done for us. It reminds me to praise Him with all that is within me. I used to pray this when I was pregnant – that ALL that is WITHIN me (meaning my unborn child) would praise the Lord. I love how it says that He is “compassionate and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love”. This past year I have taken great comfort in knowing the character of God as described in this passage.
I encourage you to read this passage. Maybe even learn it by heart. And think today how you could turn this passage into a prayer of praise and thanksgiving.
1 Praise the Lord, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits–
3 who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
4 who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
5 who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
6 The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed.
7 He made known his ways to Moses,
his deeds to the people of Israel:
8 The Lord is compassionate and gracious,
slow to anger, abounding in love.
9 He will not always accuse,
nor will he harbor his anger forever;
10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve
or repay us according to our iniquities.
11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth,
so great is his love for those who fear him;
12 as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
13 As a father has compassion on his children,
so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
14 for he knows how we are formed,
he remembers that we are dust.
15 As for man, his days are like grass,
he flourishes like a flower of the field;
16 the wind blows over it and it is gone,
and its place remembers it no more.
17 But from everlasting to everlasting
the Lord’s love is with those who fear him,
and his righteousness with their children’s children–
18 with those who keep his covenant
and remember to obey his precepts.
19 The Lord has established his throne in heaven,
and his kingdom rules over all.
20 Praise the Lord, you his angels,
you mighty ones who do his bidding,
who obey his word.
21 Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts,
you his servants who do his will.
22 Praise the Lord, all his works
everywhere in his dominion.
Praise the Lord, O my soul.
Psalms 103:1-22 (NIV)
My friends Nicki is dealing with some junk. Help her to know that it is You who forgives all our sins and heals all our diseases. Redeem her life from this pit she has found herself in and crown her with love and compassion for the ones responsible for the harm done to her. Satisfy her desires with good things – like love, patience, forgiveness, compassion, mercy and grace – so that her youth is renewed. Help her to remember that it is You who work righteousness and justice for all those who are oppressed; it is not our job but Yours. Amen
My challenge for you this month: Read through Psalms. Really read the words and think of how you could pray for a friend who needs God’s comfort or guidance or assurance. Pray one of the Psalms for someone each week this month.