How to Pray Psalm 23

Learn How to Pray Psalm 23

[ Learn How to Pray Psalm 23 from the Bible for comfort and reassurance during the difficult times ]

How to Pray Psalm 23I didn’t know if God would take him home or if he would remain here on earth with me.  My husband had collapsed on the street of Daegu and had three brain aneuryms. 

I surrendered my will and told God that His will be done.  I also prayed for the Lord to be near to me and walk with me through the valley of the shadow of death if I had to trudge through that darkness.

It was during that time that my prayer life consisted of on the go S.O.S. prayers to the Lord asking for divine intervention.  It was also during that time that I started praying the 23rd Psalms prayer.

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Shepherd Tending His Sheep How to Pray Psalm 23 from the Bible

You’ve heard the Psalm and perhaps even memorized it as a child like I did.  The words speak of a great Shepherd who watches over His sheep in the good times and the bad and under all circumstances.  If you’ve not memorized it,  I would love to challenge you to committing it to memory so you can have it in your prayer tools arsenal.

The Psalm says:

The Lord is my Shepherd;
I shall not want. 
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:
he leadeth me beside still waters.
He resoreth my soul:
he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil:for thou art with me;
thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:
thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:
and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.  

If you’d like a background on Psalm 23 according to the Bible, you must watch this video below.

Sheep on the MountainKnowing the History helps you Pray Psalm 23 Effectively

Before we pray Psalm 23,  let’s dig into the history of the Psalm. Knowing the historical setting gives us insight into the word of God and helps us to apply the word and pray Psalm 23 effectively.

Who wrote the 23rd Psalm?

Who wrote the 23rd Psalm?  Psalm 23 was written by King David of Israel.  David’s heart longed to serve the Lord and do what was right in God’s eyes.  He was a man with a heart full of passion for God but also was a man who made many mistakes and committed the sin of adultery and murder.  Throughout his life,  he penned many songs, also known as Psalms, that have been compiled into our Bible as the book of Psalms in the Old Testament.

Sheep in Grass

When was the 23rd Psalm Written

It is believed that the 23rd Psalm was written towards the end of his life, possibly in the year 1015.  The last verse can seemingly confirm this since he speaks about dwelling in the house of the Lord forever.  Maybe David was looking to a time when he would dwell with God forever.

It’s amazing how God’s truth can span through time and still be a comfort to us in this modern age.

Related Post: Psalm 23 Bible Study + Free Psalm 23 PDF

What is the meaning of Psalm 23?

What is the meaning of Psalm 23?  Before David was King over Israel, he was a shepherd in the land of Israel.

In that day and age, shepherds were a very common sight in Israel.  Every day, he cared for, tended to and fed his sheep.  He led them from field to field to make sure they were well nourished.  When they were thirsty he brought them to water.  When they were sick, he nursed them.  When they broke a leg,  he carried them over his shoulder. How fitting that he would poetically write about his God being a loving Shepherd who cared for His sheep who were his children.

Sheep Portrait How to Make Psalm 23 Your Prayer

Are you ready to make Psalm 23 your own personalized prayer?
I have divided Psalm 23 into 12 portions that can be used as a daily prayer.

Can you do all in one devotional/prayer time?  Absolutely.

But I believe that it’s a good thing to slow down and take each portion of verses bit by bit.  There’s no need to rush, is there?  It’s also a good idea to slow down and absorb the message of what God is speaking to us through His word.  We can’t get that if we are speed reading.

I’ll start with a daily portion of the Psalm, elaborate on the verse and end with a daily prayer.  You can use my prayer as a guide or you pray spontaneously on the verse portion for that day while meditating on the Scripture.

I’m using the Blue Letter Bible in this time of study and prayer- you can check it out HERE.

Day 1: The Lord is my Shepherd;

In the first verse of Psalm 23 the stage is set as the Lord being our wonderful Shepherd.

The Shepherd’s main responsibility is the safety and welfare of his flock.

I’ve had many caretakers in life who watched me from infancy to adulthood, but the Lord as my caretaker on a daily basis is an amazing thought.  He watches for my safety and nothing goes unnoticed by Him.

In the Hebrew, the name Lord is Yehovah  (also spelled Jehovah) the one who has existed from before time. The God who has no beginning and no ending is our gracious Shepherd who watches after our soul.  He watches over our souls simply because he cares.

What a contrast there is between a lowly Shepherd and the God of the Universe. Jesus even stooped down to wash the feet of his disciples, who were fisherman by trade.  He sat with tax collectors who were thieves and sat with harlots.

We have a perfect Shepherd.

Prayer for Day 1: 
God, I am so humbled that you,
the True Lord who existed before time began,
cares enough for me to shepherd my soul
and guard my heart. 

Thank you for being my caretaker and Shepherd.
Thank you for loving me in my sin and redeeming me.
Thank you for allowing me to be one of your sheep
who follows you.

In Jesus Name, Amen. 

Day 2: I shall not want.

It takes discernment, in this generation, to discern the difference between needs and wants.  I watched a video of a sweet lady in the Philippines caring for the needs of her son in a shanty.  Her home was tiny.  She had a cushion for her and her son to sleep on.  Their kitchen was tiny with the luxury of a tiny refrigerator.  But it was clear that there was no lack of love for her son and caring for him.  She gave him his nightly bath with a bucket of water and a tabo.  She had bags of rice for food leaning against the wall.  I watched that video, enlightened because the definition of needs looks far different for me born as an American.

Needs are necessary to survive- food in our stomach and a place to sleep. But wants are excess that we enjoy liberally on a daily basis.  God has promised to fulfill what is necessary for our survival.

I shall not want.

The word for want in the Hebrew is chacer and means to lack and to be decreased,

I shall not lack.

I shall not be decreased.

I have exactly what I need.

That sweet Mom had everything she wanted for her son.  A roof over their head, food on the table and a small kitchen to prepare food.

It could be that the very things that we want are the very things that could destroy us.  We might not understand why God hasn’t blessed us with something but God could be shielding us from something that might destroy us.

The Shepherd of our souls has promised us water for our refreshment and food for the nourishment of our body. We woke up this morning with breath in our lungs and have another .day to Praise the Lord

For all of the things listed above, and for ‘all the extras’ we need to grateful for His divine provision.

We have perfect satisfaction in God.

Prayer for Day 2:
Thank you God for fulfilling all my needs and shielding from
wants and desires that could destroy me.
I want to be satisfied with all that you have provided
and not become selfish in wanting things that are above what is necessary.
Help me to have a spirit of humility with the extra blessings you have given and help me use them to glorify you.
In Jesus Name, Amen.  

Day 3: He maketh me to lie down in green pastures:

After a long day of work, I need to sit down and decompress.  More often than not, rest is often overlooked due to serving others. I love this Scripture where God says he prepares a place for us to rest in green pastures.  After the last verse of proclaiming that all of our needs being supplied, our Shepherd goes on to tell us of a pasture where we can lie down and rest.

When the Shepherd guides to greener pastures, we follow.  Did you notice that this verse says he MAKES us to lie down?

We can continually put other’s first and burn the candle at both ends to our detriment but God has prepared a place of rest for us.  Are you resting and recharging regularly as the Lord would have you to do?

If not, it’s time to lie down in green pastures!

We have perfect rest in God.

Day 3 Prayer:
Lord, you have provided a place of rest for me even in the busyness of life.
Help me to stop, slow down and rest in you.
Thank you for shielding me from things that might destroy me and my walk with you.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Day 4: He leadeth me beside still waters. 

When the Shepherd calls his sheep, they listen.  The Shepherd knows what’s best for his sheep because he has spyed out the land and gone before.  He knows where there are watering holes are to bring refreshment to those who he cares for.

The word lead is nahal in the Hebrew and means to to lead, give rest, lead with care, guide to a watering place or station, cause to rest, bring to a station or place of rest, to guide and refresh.  The waters that God leads us to will always bring refreshment to our soul.

In God, we have perfect peace.

Day 4 Prayer:
Lord, You have brought me to springs of refreshment and I am grateful.
Your living water is not bitter but is refreshing and gives me strength.
Thank you for your divine supply for my life.  

In Jesus Name, Amen

Day 5: He restoreth my soul:

I’m reminded of those old clunker cars that are rusted out and have lost their former beauty.

There are many professional restorers who will meticulously restore every detail of the car to where it is even better than when it was sold as new.

Better than new!

A wonderful miracle occurred on my day of salvation.  God took me from a sinner to saint and restored my soul.  Praise the Lord! God specializes in soul transformation! The Hebrew word for restore is shuwb and means to restore, refresh and repair.   The beautiful thing about transformation is that continues on until the day we go meet the Lord face to face.

In Jesus, we have perfect restoration.

Day 5 Prayer: Thank you Lord for divine restoration.
Thank you for taking me from sinner to saint and for your restorational work that continues on as I walk with you.  As much as I’d like to better myself, help me to know that true restoration is a work of the Spirit and not of my own works. 

In Jesus Name, Amen

Day 6: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.

The word lead in the Hebrew is nachah and means to lead and guide.  The Holy Spirit is our guide and will always lead us to righteousness.  Always.  He will never lead us to sin nor will he allow righteous results through unrighteous means.  God is pure good and his leading is always to good, honorable and Godly things.  Only for the sake of His glory does he lead us into good things, for the name’s sake of Jesus.

In Christ, we have perfect holiness.

Day 6 Prayer: Thank you Lord that you only lead me to good things.
You will never lead me to unrighteousness and I am so grateful that you are good, honest and true.
Thank you for your righteous leading to your truth.
In Jesus Name,  Amen.

Day 7: Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;

The earthly Shepherd’s main responsibility is the safety and welfare of his flock.  He usually has a dog to help keep all the animals together so none get lost.  The Shepherd stays close to his flock even while they sleep to offer safety from wolves, coyotes, mountain lions and even bear.

Jesus’ main responsibility is for your spiritual safety and welfare.  He will do whatever he can to protect you, teach you and help you to grow in your faith.

Are you sitting by the bedside of a dying relative?  Are you currently walking through a difficult path? Our Shepherd has told us to fear no evil that can come upon us because HE is with US!  I will not fear because He is with me.  I will not be afraid because His presence goes with me.

He is walking with you through the tears, dear Sister!  Lean into him and allow Him to walk with you in companionship.

We can fear no evil because we have the perfect presence of God with us.

Baby Sheep

Day 7 Prayer:
Lord, I am so grateful that your presence goes before me and accompanies
me as I walk through the dark and difficult times of life.
Thank you for keeping me safe from the enemies of my soul
and those that wish to destroy me.
You are my only Protector.
Thank you for your precious peace during difficult times.  

In Jesus Name, Amen.

Day 8:  thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

 In Psalm 23, our divine Shepherd and King carries out his duties with special equipment.  Two of those are a rod and staff.

Have you ever seen a portrayal of a King sitting on his throne holding a long golden rod?  That rod symbolizes rulership, authority and power and the King will always protect the citizens of his country.  The Shepherd watches his sheep, like a king, with a staff to protect his sheep from harm.  His sheep can be compared to his kingdom.

The shepherd’s rod had a point on one end and a fork on the other.  The point was used to prod the sheep to move along with the rest of the flock and the forked end was used to hold down the neck of snakes to keep the sheep safe.

We can perfect comfort in trusting in God’s authority and protection.

Day 8 Prayer:  Thank you for your Kingly authority and rod of protection in my life.
I am a subject of your kingdom and a sheep in your field-
help me to embrace the comfort of your divine protection. 

Day 9: Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:

Imagine being served a meal by God himself!  That’s exactly what we have here in verse 9 of Psalm 23.  God is preparing a table for those that have been redeemed.    The word prepare in the Hebrew is `arak and means  to arrange, set or put or lay in order, set in array, prepare, order, ordain, handle, furnish, esteem, equal, direct, compare.

This could be referring to the marriage supper of the lamb (not sure) but one thing is true, we will feast together with our Heavenly Father!

Dear Sister,  God is setting the table for you and I!  And the kicker is that we will be eating in front of our enemies.

Those that have mocked us will see the goodness of the Lord.  Those that have caused us hardship will see our wonderful Saviour serving us in humility.

In Christ, we have perfect provision.

Day 9 Prayer:
Lord, Thank you for preparing a table for me in the presence of my enemies.
I am looking forward to the time where we can feast and celebrate together.
Thank you for allowing my enemies being able to witness your goodness to me.

In Jesus Name,  Amen.

Day 10: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

When a man in the Bible was installed as King, their head was always anointed with oil.  This anointing was spiritually symbolic of the Holy Spirit flowing over the life of the King and ruling by God’s laws and tenets.

As children of God,  we are also anointed with oil, and not only that,  the anointing of the Holy Spirit runs over in excess!

What a wonderful expression of God’s children walking in the Spirit!

In Christ, we have the perfect Spirit of God’s presence in our lives.

Day 10 Prayer:
Lord,  Thank you for your perfect authority as King in my life.
Help me not to usurp your authority and grieve the Holy Spirit.
Anoint me to walk in your Spirit daily!  

In Jesus Name, Amen.

Day 11 : Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:  

The Hebrew word for goodness is towb and is described as goodness, pleasantness and agreeableness.   The word for mercy is checed which means kindness and faithfullness

Goodness and mercy follow us every minute of every day,  24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 52 weeks in a year.

Jack Hyles shares of how a women saying that she was being followed.  He tried to reassure her biblically and told her,    “Yes, I know there are two men following you, their names are goodness and mercy.”

As children of God, we have the promise of goodness and mercy shoring up our paths as we follow our Lord.

We have perfect goodness and compassion from God all the days of our life.

Day 11 Prayer:
Lord, thank you for your constant grace and mercy that follows me every moment of my life. 

In Jesus Name, Amen

Day 12: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. 

The final verse of the 23rd Psalm offers the glorious home of being able to dwell, remain, sit and abide with the Lord Jesus himself.

We shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

We will spend an eternity with Him and this journey of life will be worth it all.

In Jesus we have a perfect forever home and a perfect destiny.

Day 12 Prayer:
Thank you for the promise of eternity and dwelling with you forever.
Thank you for a perfect home and a perfect destiny.  

In Jesus Name, Amen

Dear Sister,  it is my hope that as you pray Psalm 23, it comforts you only as God and His word can.
I’m praying for God’s divine reassurance to wash over your life and that His balm of Gilead washes over your weary soul.

As you delve into the Shepherd psalm, make this prayer your own to the Lord.

Pray Psalm 23 with music

Perhaps you’d like to reinforce and pray Psalm 23 in your heart and mind by song?  I think you might enjoy this song by Keith Green.  It’s been one of my favorites of his for many years.

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