New Discipleship Resource: "How to Pray the Psalms"
Introducing: How to Pray the Psalms, from New Start Discipleship!
This study is all about learning to pray with the Bible’s own inspired prayer and song book, the Psalms.
Here’s the foundational truth of this study: God has given us a clear way to learn to speak TO Him and ABOUT Him.
The Book of Psalms is that clear way. It’s 150 songs (that’s what psalm means) that were written over hundreds of years to help us learn what God is like, to stretch our language about Him.
Think about this: When you’re praying, have you ever felt like you were stuck in a rut? Or that you were saying the same basic things over and over? (“Help me to have a good day. Help Mom and grandma. Amen.”)
If so, this study will help you find a NEW way of experiencing God’s presence.
Two of the foundational habits of your walk with God should be:
Your reading of Scripture
Your talking to God in prayer
Here’s what Praying the Psalms does: It reimagines these 2 things as JUST ONE THING. It turns the bible and prayer into a 2-way conversation with God instead of being 2 totally unrelated things.
Have you ever had a conversation with someone who was talking about something totally different than you were? You wanted to talk about one thing, and they were just itching for the chance to talk about something totally different? That’s a weird, frustrating experience.
A much better experience is when your friend talks to you about whatever you just said, then moves on to talk about what they’re interested in.
Praying the Psalms helps you talk back to God about what he just talked to you about.
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 just what we can think of, or what we want today.
· 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.
How to pray the Psalms
It might seem overwhelming if you've never done it before, but praying the Psalms is actually quite simple. I've taught new Christians to do it in just 10 minutes sitting in a coffeeshop over a Starbucks coffee.
Praying the Psalms 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 it’s literally why God wrote it!
This 21-day prayer Guide is based on the A.C.T.S. prayer structure. That stands for:
· Adoration – praising God for who He is.
· Confession – admitting weakenss and repenting of sin.
· Thanksgiving – thanking God for what he’s done and will do
· Supplication – asking God for what is needed in your life
Here’s what you’ll find on each day of this journey when you scan the QR codes or type the URLs from the workbook:
● A brief prayer for illumination, to get your heart ready to hear God
● The Psalm of the Day, with links to read it or listen
● Some good directions about how to do ACTS with that Psalm.
● A daily video giving you a chance to pray over that day’s Psalm, with quiet music behind it.
● A key quote about the Psalms from Christian history
● Links to other helpful resources you might need
● A daily hymn that goes along with the theme of the Psalm.
● A daily journal space to write down your thoughts, things you’re thankful for, prayer needs, or questions.
To give you an example, you can type in your browser: www.newstartdiscipleship.com/ps-intro
How the Daily Videos are structured:
Each daily prayer video is structured like this:
· 10 seconds to read 1-2 verses
· 20 seconds to pray over those verses
Just like that, it goes back and forth until you complete the Psalm of the day.
Here's an example of Psalm 1:
A Big Success Hint for Starting a Devotional Time Praying The Psalms
You need a mentor. Christianity is a team sport. It’s not a solo event. There’s just no place for a Lone Ranger style Christian life, where you single-handedly face every challenge and conquer every problem.
The truth is that if you want to succeed as a Christian, you need others who will walk with you. A mentor is someone more experienced and further along in their Christian walk than you are, who can be a voice of advice and encouragement as you walk with Jesus.
It could be a pastor, or someone at a local church. I’d encourage you to do this:
⮚ Contact someone and ask if they would be a mentor for you.
⮚ Ask if you can contact them regularly with questions about your faith.
⮚ Set yourself a reminder or alarm on your phone, so being in contact with other Christians can become a habit.
This is so important, that you’ll see regular reminders in the daily journal pages to contact your mentor… or to get one if you haven’t already!
What if I don’t have a habit of prayer & Bible in my life?
It’s not too late to start one! Here’s how:
How to Start a New Quiet Time Habit
Decide when: I’d recommend mornings, but sometimes lunch break or your commute, or just before bed works better for some people. Find a time slot that attaches to something you already do… maybe head for work 15 minutes early, and sit in the parking lot for your quiet time.
Decide where: Distraction is the enemy of quiet time with God. You’ll need a place that’s relatively free from interruption & distraction. Shut off the TV or radio, put your phone on silent, take a deep breath, and prepare to just be with God.
Gather what you’ll need: I’d recommend an NIV or ESV Study Bible (or something similar), a good pen, and this notebook.
Decide How: I’d encourage you to get alone, take a deep breath, smile, and say “Thanks, God for this chance to meet with You. Use Your Word to speak to me today. I’m ready to listen.” Then, just dive in.
If you’ll do this same habit daily, here’s what you’ll discover:
⮚ It might be tough at first. Maybe you won’t be sure what to say when you pray, or a Scripture won’t make sense. That’s OK. Just focus on what you do understand. It will get easier.
⮚ It will grow your spiritual life and change you – sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly.
⮚ You’ll get the most out of it, if you actually use the tool. Write down something, even if it seems simple or basic.
⮚ You’re building new habits, some new superhighways in your brain for new thoughts about God to travel on. Enjoy!
I look forward to hearing how God’s working in your life!