Guide for Praying Psalm 1
Updated: Nov 7
Why Praying the Scripture is Important
Praying the Scripture is one of the most helpful prayer practices you'll ever find. Here's why:
It keeps prayer fresh, instead of being the same each time.
It helps us ask new things of God, instead of only our own desires.
You can always be sure you're praying God's ideas, not yours.
It shapes our thinking, conforming it to God's thoughts while we pray.
It treats the Bible and prayer as a 2-way conversation, instead of 1-way.
Praying the Psalms is a practice that takes a few minutes to learn, and a few days to feel comfortable, but then yields benefits for years.
What does Praying the Psalms mean?
Praying the Scripture involves:
Reading a verse of Scripture
Asking "what can I praise God for / confess / ask God from this verse?"
Then doing it.
Simple, right? It takes some practice to feel natural, but you'll be doing it in no time, if you'll simply get started. I recommend beginning Scripture-fed, Spirit-led prayer practice in the Psalms, because they are the Bible's inspired prayer book.
Why Should I Pray the Psalms?
The Psalms are a powerful summary of the themes in both Testaments. As John Wesley said in his commentary on the book of Psalms:
"We have now before us one of the choicest parts of the Old Testament, wherein there is so much of Christ and his gospel, as well as of God and his law, that it has been called the summary of both Testaments…. this book brings us into the sanctuary, draws us off from converse with men, with the philosophers or disputers of this world, and directs us into communion with God....And Christ the foundation, corner, and top-stone of all religion, is here clearly spoken of; both his sufferings, with the glory that should follow, and the kingdom he would set up in the world." (John Wesley, Explanatory Notes on the Old Testament)
A Plan for Praying the Psalms
This page provides a template for praying the Psalms, walking you through a simple process, with prayer prompts and direction. There is even a video with quiet music below to practice praying the Psalms.
Walk through the process below, and see what you think.
Prayer for Illumination
Almighty God, in you are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Open our eyes that we may see the wonders of your Word; and give us grace that we may clearly understand and freely choose the way of your wisdom; through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Psalm of the Day: Psalm 1
There is a sense in which Psalms 1-2 function as a gateway into the Psalter. These Psalms contain a number of themes that are further developed later in the Psalter. A central theme of the Psalter, as well as much of Scripture, is that there are two ways to live. The psalm reminds us that God blesses those who devote their lives to Him and His Word, yet that blessing is contrasted with the judgment of the wicked who reject God and His Word.
Using the ACTS model of Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, and Supplication, read through Psalm 1 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 are the source of all blessings” (1:1).
“Father, I praise you that you are the source of all truth” (1:2).
“Father, I praise you that you are my sustainer” (1:3).
“Father, I praise you that are the source of fruitfulness in my life” (1:3).
“Father, I praise you that you are the perfect judge and that I can trust in your judgments” (1:4-6).
“Father, I praise you that you are all-knowing” (1:6).
If you want a quiet meditation moment for each verse, use 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.
Confess ways in which you have walked in the counsel of the wicked, stood with sinners, or sat in the seat of scoffers (1:1).
Confess ways in which you not have delighted in God’s Word (1:2).
Confess ways in which you have failed to truly meditate and follow God’s Word (1:2).
Confess the truth that if we confess our sins, God is always faithful and just to forgive them! (1 John 1:9).
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.
“Father, I thank you for Jesus, the one this psalm points to. He is the blessed man who delighted to obey you and never failed in delighting in your law. Thank you for His perfect obedience to your law for us.”
“Father, I thank you for the blessings you have given me…” (be specific).
“Father, I am grateful to you for keeping me from the path of the wicked.”
“Father, I thank you for the fruit you have allowed me to bear for your glory.”
“Father, I thank you for watching over the path of the righteous.”
In this moment, pray for yourself and others that you will be able to put into practice what you have read and heard.
“Father, please give me a greater delight in you and your Word.”
“Father, help me to delight in your Word when I am tempted to walk the path of the ungodly.”
“Father, in order to serve you more effectively, I ask you for the grace to discern and reject unbiblical, worldly patterns of thinking and living.”
“Father, I am trusting you to sustain me and as I bear fruit for your glory.”
“Father, I pray for ________________ (name) today, that you would deliver them from the path of the ungodly.”
Hymn of Reflection on Psalm 1
How happy is the one
who stands apart from sin,
whose feet are quick to run
from ways of wicked men;
who keeps his heart from scoffers' pride
and makes the law of God his guide.
He loves the word of God
with heart and mind and will;
his leaves are green and broad,
his roots can drink their fill.
He prospers in his works and ways
and reaps a harvest all his days.
The godless quickly fade
like dust upon the wind,
their wickedness repaid,
their boasting at an end;
but righteous ones to God are known:
He loves and calls them all His own.
To the only God invisible, the Father of truth, who sent to us the Savior and prince of immortality, through whom also He revealed to us the truth and the heavenly light. To Him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.
Prayer Guide by Rev. Travis Johnson
Want to continue praying the Psalms?
Use this button to go on to Day 2 of the "How to Pray the Psalms" challenge.
How You can Teach Your Congregation to Pray Psalm 1
Pastors, if you like this, you can get the videos and more tools to help your congregation learn how to pray the Scripture at www.prayingthescripture.com.