Guide for Praying Scripture: Psalm 40
Updated: Oct 25
Why Pray the Psalms?
The Meaning of Psalm 40
One of the beautiful things about the psalms is how the author’s mood, tone, and perspective changes. In this psalm, David goes from the mire to the choir; from the pit and the bog, to the having his feet set upon a rock. In the midst of his trial, David puts his trust in the Lord and God saves him.
How to Pray Psalm 40
Prayer for Illumination
Lord, to whom shall I go? You hold the words of eternal life. Help me now to hear and obey what you say to me today through your Word. Through Christ, my Lord. Amen.
How to Pray Psalm 40
Using the ACTS model of Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication, read through Psalm 40 and then pray the following:
Look for anything that tells you what God is like or points to His character and give Him praise.
“Father, I praise you that you always turn to me and hear my cry” (40:1).
“Father, I praise you that you lift me up and fill my heart with a song” (40:2-3).
“Father, I praise you that you are trustworthy” (40:3-4).
“Father, I praise you that you are generous in your works and thoughts towards me” (40:5).
“Father, I praise you that you are my deliverer” (40:9-10, 13, 17).
“Father, I praise you that you are my faithful Savior and that you are loving, faithful, and merciful” (40:10-11).
“Father, I praise you that you are great” (40:16).
For a video for quiet meditative prayer on Psalm 40, try this video:
As you acknowledge who God is and adore Him for all that He is, confession is a natural consequence. This is a moment of introspection as you ask God to search your heart for areas that displease Him.
Ps. 40:1 says that “I waited patiently for the Lord.” Confess to the Lord your impatience.
Ps. 40:4 says that we shouldn’t turn in the direction of the proud and go after a lie. Ask God to search your heart and make your confession to God for those times you have done the opposite of what is commanded here.
Ps. 40:9 says that David told the news of his deliverance to the congregation and that he has not restrained his lips from testifying to what God has done. Confess to the Lord those times where you have publicly and privately failed to praise Him for His faithfulness.
This is a time to express gratitude for what God has done and for who He is. Allow the Scripture you have read to feed your thanksgiving.
Thank the Lord for hearing you and making your steps secure (40:1-2).
Thank the Lord for the songs He gives you (40:3).
Thank the Lord for the joy He gives you in doing His will (40:8).
Thank the Lord that though your sins were many, His mercy was more (40:11-12).
In this moment, pray for yourself and others that you will be able to put into practice what you have read and heard.
“Father, lift me up out of the pit of……and set my feet upon the rock.”
“Father, lift up _________ (name) of their pit of……”
“Father, help me to declare to others what you have done for me.”
Hymn of Reflection
I waited patiently for God
until He heard my cry;
He pulled me up from death's deep pit
and out of miry clay;
He set my feet upon a rock;
my footsteps He restored.
He put a new song in my mouth,
that men may praise the Lord.
How blessed is the man who puts
his confidence in God,
who turns not to the proud, or men
whose way is one of fraud.
For God alone does mighty deeds
and sets His thoughts on me;
I could not count His wondrous works,
for they are great indeed.
Great sacrifice and costly gifts
the Lord has not desired;
a heart that loves to do His will
is all He has required.
For Christ fulfilled God's perfect law
and kept all His commands;
a body God prepared for Him
to do as He had planned.
Like Him, I love to do Your word
and keep Your holy law;
Your people hear my mouth speak forth
Your truth and steadfast love.
Lord, I have sung Your faithfulness;
salvation I proclaimed;
from telling all Your righteousness,
my lips have not refrained.
Then You, O Lord, will not withhold
Your mercy now from me;
Your steadfast love and faithfulness
will all my safety be.
For countless evils close me 'round;
my sins sweep o'er my head;
iniquities pursue my soul
and fill my heart with dread.
Be pleased, O Lord, to rescue me;
come quickly to my aid!
Make all my enemies draw back,
and let them be dismayed.
Since I am poor and weak, O Lord,
be mindful of my need.
May all who seek You now rejoice,
for You will save indeed!
Almighty God, give me divine grace that precedes, follows, guides, sustains, and sanctifies me every hour. May I rely upon your Spirit to supply every thought, speak every word, direct every step, prosper every work, and give me a desire to show forth your praise, to testify of your love, and to advance your kingdom. For Christ’s sake. Amen. ~Adapted from The Valley of Vision, Puritan Prayer Book
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Prayer Guide written by Rev. Travis Johnson.