5 beautiful prayers from the psalms

Marie Anne Torres

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash
One of my favourite books of the Bible is Psalms. There is so much depth and beauty in the words — words of hope, of despair, of love, request, and praise. There's a psalm for every season of our heart.
The psalms are rich with beautiful prayers that we can say ourselves, when we are looking for the words to speak, or simply as a boost in our quiet moments.
I’ve identified five prayers from the psalms that really move my soul. Here they are, as well as suggestions for contexts in which you might want to pray them:
 

A prayer to ask the Lord to help us walk with Him

Psalm 119:33-40
Lord, teach me the way of your statutes,
And I will keep them to the end.
Grant me insight that I may keep your law,
And observe it wholeheartedly.
Guide me in the path of your commands,
For in them is my delight.
Bend my heart to your decrees,
And not to wrongful gain.
Turn my eyes from gazing on vanities;
In your way, give me life.
Fulfill your promise to your servant,
That you may be revered.
Turn away the taunts I dread,
For your decrees are good.
See, I long for your precepts;
Give me life by your righteousness.
 

A prayer of thanksgiving and praise — that promises to proclaim God’s goodness to all generations

Psalm 71:17-22
O God, you have taught me from my youth,
And I proclaim your wonders still.
Even till I am old and gray-headed,
Do not forsake me, O God.
Let me tell of your mighty arm
To every coming generation;
Your strength and your justice, O God,
Reach to the highest heavens.
It is you who have worked such wonders.
O God, who is like you?
You have made me witness many troubles and evils,
But you will give me back my life.
You will raise me from the depths of the earth;
You will exalt me and console me again.
So I will give you thanks of the lyre
For your faithfulness, O my God.
To you will I sing with the harp,
To you, the Holy One of Israel.
 

A prayer of total worship and adoration of God, a prayer that invites others to do the same

Psalm 148:1-2, 11-14
Alleluia!
Praise the Lord from the heavens;
Praise the Lord in the heights
Praise the Lord, all his angels;
Praise the Lord, all his hosts.
Rulers of the earth and all peoples,
Sovereigns and all judges of the earth,
Young men and maidens as well,
The old and the young together.
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For God’s name alone is exalted,
Whose splendor rises above heaven and earth.
The Lord exalts the strength of the people,
And is the praise of all the faithful
The praise of the children of Israel,
Of the people to whom our God is close.
Alleluia!
 

A quiet, intimate prayer between the reader and God

Psalm 63:1-8
You, God, are my God,
I earnestly seek you;
I thirst for you,
My whole being longs for you,
In a dry and parched land
Where there is no water.
I have seen you in the sanctuary
And beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life,
My lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live,
And in your name I will lift up my hands.
I will be fully satisfied with the richest of foods;
With singing lips my mouth will praise you.
On my bed, I remember you;
I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help,
I sing in the shadow of your wings.
I cling to you;
Your right hand upholds me.
 

Lastly, a prayer if you're worried about the coronavirus pandemic, or any other difficult trial facing our times today

Psalm 46:2-4, 9-12
God is for us a refuge and strength,
An ever-present help in time of distress:
So we shall not fear though the earth should rock,
Though the mountains quake to the heart of the sea;
Even though its waters rage and foam,
Even though the mountains be shaken by its tumult.
The Lord of hosts is with us:
The God of Jacob is our stronghold.
Come and behold the works of the Lord,
The awesome deeds God has done on the earth.
God puts an end to wars all over the earth;
Breaking bows, snapping spears, and burning shields with fire:
“Be still and know that I am God,
Exalted over nations, exalted over Earth!”
The Lord  of hosts is with us:
The God of Jacob is our stronghold.
 

Want to know more about praying and meditating with the psalms?

Join Cardinal Thomas Collins each month for Lectio Divina in St. Michael's Cathedral Basilica in Toronto.
This season (2020-2021), he leads us in meditating on the songs of the Bible.
For more information or to watch past episodes, click here.

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