by William Gaultiere, Ph.D.,

Praying psalms to God is an ancient spiritual discipline that helps us to be deeply formed in the image of Christ. It equips us to become aware of, and offer to God, whatever we’re feeling and going through.

The Psalms express emotion honestly and reverently. They show us how to pray out in words our deepest hurts and longings, our struggles that leave us anxious or angry, our confessions of guilt, and our joyful thanks and praise. Through them we share all of our life experiences with our God who listens and responds compassionately. We lay out whatever it is that we feel and then we put our confidence in God and His kingdom rule. By doing this, we learn to trust the Lord and worship Him in all of our life circumstances.

I have found that there are two especially helpful ways to pray the Psalms. The first is to find a Psalm that expresses your heart at that moment and let the prayer of the Psalmist become your prayer also.

The other way to use the Psalms is to write your own psalm by journaling a personal prayer using the pattern of “honest faith” that the psalmist models for us. In many of the Psalms, the psalmist begins by venting his troubles and complaints and ends by looking with eyes of faith to God and putting trust in his goodness.

To identify particular psalms to help you and others to pray through a variety of needs and struggles, see the e-article below: Psalms for the Soul.

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