Praying The 23rd Psalm

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

Psalms 23:1-6 The LORD [is] my shepherd; I shall not want. (2) He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. (3) He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. (4) 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. (5) Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over. (6) Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

We live in a fallen, sin ridden world. I know when I say this, I’m not telling you anything that you don’t know. All you need to do for proof of this is to just turn on your televisions. Not too long ago an young woman decided that she would hitchhike across Europe to prove her theory that people are, at heart, all “good people”. This has been tried several times over the years, and each time it has not been a good ending. Though other people have tried, and have either been raped and/or killed, this young lady believed that “all people are good”. So she tried. Just a few days into her adventure she was raped and robbed by a person posing as a taxi driver. The young lady claims that she will try again in a few years, that she has not given up on human “goodness”. It is a miracle she was not murdered.

The Biblical narrative (a view that I personally believe) is that God created the earth perfect, but man rebelled against the Creator. When Adam fell, he not only brought corruption to humanity, but he also brought sin and death into the animal kingdom. The Scripture says of humanity:

Romans 5:12 Wherefore, asby one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

and of the animal kingdom,

Romans 8:20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly

Animals had nothing to do with the Fall. However, when one sins, often the innocent suffer. Since creation was bound to Adam’s station in Christ, his willing rejection of God brought death on him, his children, and all of creation.

To lost humans and animals/ creatures, a state of sin and death is considered normal. To the Christian, sin and death are products of a godless choice. To those Children of God (by faith in Christ), to sin is to defy God and light.

We live in an unredeemed and sin filled world, a world that normalizes what God says is wrong and evil. This causes the world to hate the Christian believer (John 15:18-20). Christian, we need to pray, to stay close to our Redeemer.

Let Us Draw Near To God By Praying His Scripture

One method of prayer that Christians have used is to pray Scripture back to God. To read and meditate on His Word while in the prayer closet. The Psalmist David often meditated and prayed through God’s Word.

Psalms 119:14-16 I have rejoiced in the way of thy testimonies, as [much as] in all riches. (15) I will MEDITATE in thy precepts, and have respect unto thy ways. (16) I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.

I was talking with a brother in Christ the other day, and share with you what he said he learned. My brother said that he was taught to not just hear a sermon, but to internalize it, to apply it to himself. This is the way of Christian growth. David MEDITATED on God’s Word. The word “MEDITATE” is the Qal Imperfect of the Hebrew חיש, siyach, (pronounced see’-akh), which means “to ponder, dwell on, declare or utter in prayer”. David considered prayer and meditation of God’s Word to be more important that sleep:

Psalms 119:148 Mine eyes prevent {stay open during} the night watches, that I might meditate in thy word.

During prayer – especially in prayer using the Scripture – we can apply God’s promises to our current situation. Have you ever had a sleepless night? Then use that time to pray, and use God’s Word in your prayers. Take a Psalm and pray it back to the Lord, applying it to your life. If it does not cure your insomnia, it will at least ease your fears!

Psalms 23:1 The LORD [is] my shepherd; I shall not want.

To Whom do I run when tried and suffering? The LORD is MY SHEPHERD. My trial does not own me, but my God owns me. He is MY Shepherd, and that makes me His sheep. When we are hurt physically or spiritually our first instinct is to curl up, to become defensive, to withdraw into a shell, to go through an emotional roller coaster. Sometimes we even get mad at God, though we should not do so. Some, like Job’s wife, will tell you:

Job 2:9 … Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.

What good comes from this? I am finite, but my God is The LORD. When you see the word Lord IN UPPER CASE in the King James this is the name YHWH, Yahweh, the Eternal Name of God.

My Shepherd is not finite.
My Shepherd is He Who created all things, and yet is created by none.
My Shepherd is the Great “I Am” (Exodus 3:14)
Not the God Who was, but the God Who says:

Revelation 1:8 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.

There is nothing too great for my God – the LORD – to handle. My God, my Shepherd, knows and controls all things. He says:

Isaiah 46:9-10 Remember the former things of old: for I [am] God, and [there is] none else; [I am] God, and [there is] none like me, (10) Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times [the things] that are not [yet] done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

The LORD, He alone is God, and He is MY SHEPHERD. Let us pray to our Shepherd:

You, O God, are my LORD, and my Shepherd. When I look at the beauty and majesty of all things, the immensity of space, the depths of the sea, the intricacy of all You have made, I can only praise You, Precious LORD. You are Infinite. You are worthy of praise. What ever I am going through is no accident. You are The LORD. You have the right to do as you will. “All things work together for good to those who love You, those who are called by Thy Name” (Romans 9:28). Satan has no power over me. You are MY SHEPHERD. You are MY KING. I praise You for Your power, Your majesty, that You are great, and do wondrous things: thou [art] God alone (Psalms 86:10).

My situation is not My LORD – You are!
My situation is not my SHEPHERD. You are!
My hurt is not My LORD – You are!
My pain is not My LORD – You are!
The suffering of my loved ones are not My LORD – You are!
My loss is not My LORD – You are!

You alone are God. You alone are worthy. You alone are majestic. You alone are The LORD, Blessed Be Your Holy Name!

Psalms 23:1 The LORD [is] my shepherd; I shall not want.

You, Oh Great Shepherd, saved me at a terrible price. Your Scripture declares:

1 John 4:9-10 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. (10) Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son [to be] the propitiation for our sins.

As My Shepherd You laid Your life down for Me. You are the “Door of the Sheep” (John 10:7). You paid a great, an immense price for me at Calvary. As the Door of the Sheep You lay your life down, taking death and sin upon yourself for my sake. You are my beautiful Shepherd!

Psalms 23:2 He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

It is God Who has given good to me. What I have, I do not have because of my genius, or because of my luck. It is the goodness of God that gives me life (Romans 2:4).

Psalm 130:3-6 If thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand? 4 But there is forgiveness with thee, that thou mayest be feared. 5 I wait for the Lord, my soul doth wait, and in his word do I hope. 6 My soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the morning.

You, O Lord, “make me to lie down”. I am where I am because You have placed me here. Thank You for Your leading!

A sheep is not a wild animal, wandering about, doing as it wishes. A sheep is possessed by the Shepherd. I am God’s property. I am not my own – I am bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20). I was purchased by the shed Blood of Jesus Christ. My life is costly to my Master. He will never abandon me – NEVER!

Psalm 23:3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Sin had destroyed me, but Jesus Christ saved me. The promise of Scripture is:

Matthew 1:21 … {Jesus} shall save his people from their sins

He does not save us IN our sins, but FROM our sins. He makes me complete. Sin tore at my soul, diminishing me, but Jesus brought me from darkness to light. I was not redeemed, purchased from the devil’s clutches with finite means, BUT WITH THE PRECIOUS BLOOD OF CHRIST (1 Peter 1:18-19).

It is in Psalm 22 that we see the prophecy of the Cross of Calvary. It is in Psalm 22 that we see Jesus crying out, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me? (Psalm 22:1; Matthew 27:46). Jesus chose to take the nails for you and I. He will not abandon us now, nor ever. He restores my soul to Heaven, to live with my God.

Psalm 23:3 He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

As His sheep, I am to live my life for and with my Shepherd. I no longer belong to sin nor Satan. There are many who claim that they are saved so that they can revel in their sin. Oh, no, Beloved. My Shepherd leads me in PATHS of RIGHTEOUSNESS for His name’s sake.

A Christian will not walk in darkness.
A Christian will not rejoice in lying.
A Christian will not pursue the works of the flesh.
A Christian will not engage in heterosexual or homosexual sin.
A Christian will live his or her life with Christ in the Light,
not imitating the darkness. Our Jesus said:

John 8:12 … I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.

A Christian will confess his or her sins, relinquishing them to the Cross of Calvary. If we confess our sins, our Lord is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:8-9).

Psalm 23:4 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.

We will all go through valleys in our lifetimes. David had many valleys in his life. Chosen by God to replace Saul as King (a mountaintop), David had to be pursued by Saul, who intended to kill him. Two things kept David straight through his valleys:

  • David knew that God had a plan for his life, and
  • David knew and trusted in the faithfulness of God.

Because David focused on the God Who is his Shepherd, the Great God Who saved us, the giants he faced were small in comparison. When David’s Goliaths approached him, David focused on the Lord his Shepherd, the Lord Who would never abandon His sheep. This, Beloved, is our God. Though the valleys often cause our hearts to flutter, we can rest assured that God’s plan for our lives will be fulfilled. Thy rod, O Lord, and Thy staff, they comfort me. If I am chastised of the Lord, He chastises me for my own good. If I am led of the Lord, where He leads me is where I need to be.

Psalm 23:5 Thou {O LORD} preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

O Lord, help me to focus on you, not on the trial. Let me rest at Your table, though enemies are all around me. You anointed David’s head with oil, making him a King over Israel. You, O Lord, anointed me with your holy Spirit. You, O Lord,

Revelation 1:5-6 … loved us, and washed us from our sins in Your own Blood, and hath made us Kings and Priests unto God our Father …

We who love You, O Lord, are a chosen generation …

1 Peter 2:9 … a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; we are to show forth the praises of our Lord Who has called us out of darkness, and into Your wonderful light!

I may not have everything, and I might suffer needs. Yet because of You, dear Lord Jesus, my cup runneth over! Every day of my life is a blessing because of You. Thank You for being my Shepherd, blessed Savior and Lord.

Psalm 23:6 Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

The enemy of my joy is a complaining spirit. Lord, as I look upon You, I cannot complain. You have been both good as well as merciful to me. I do not deserve nor have I earned Your blessings. You are my God, and I am not a god, but a sheep, a lowly sheep. Thank You for loving me as you do. And when it becomes time for me to depart, remind me, dear Lord, that one day I will dwell in the House of the Lord … forever! Let me, dear Lord, remember the words of the Apostle, Who said:

2 Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

Death is not my enemy, for death has no hold on Me. I belong to my Shepherd, my Jesus. Not to death, but to Him Who has given me eternal life. Praise You, Lord, praise You!

This life is not all that we have, dear Christian. We are not dying creatures headed toward death and the grave. We who have believed in Jesus are Children of God moving toward eternal life. We are Heaven bound. Let us take as many as we can to Heaven with us when we go. God is using us who believe to bring others into His Kingdom.

An early preacher by the name of Augustine said:

Death is not to be regarded as a disaster, when it follows on a good life, for the only thing that makes death an evil is what comes after death. Those who must inevitably die ought not to worry overmuch about what accident will cause their death, but about their destination after dying. Christians know that the death of a poor religious man, licked by the tongues of dogs, is far better than the death of a godless rich man, dressed in purple and linen. Why then should those who have lived well be dismayed by the terror of death in any form?”

These are great words! Let us look upward at the Lord our Shepherd, trusting Him with all of our lives. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! In Christ’s name I pray that God touch your hearts with these words. Amen and Amen!

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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