A Prayer for Praising God’s Goodness
Open Your Bible
Prayer is a startling invitation—one that, after thirty-five years of following Jesus, I still struggle to accept.
“Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and incomprehensible things you do not know,” the Lord says to His people in Jeremiah 33:3. The book of Hebrews urges the Christ follower to “approach the throne of grace with boldness” (4:16), and Paul tells the Philippians not to “worry about anything, but” instead to petition God in prayer (4:6). Perhaps most astonishing of all, Jesus Himself instructs His disciples, “Whenever you pray, say, Father…” (Luke 11:2).
Call out to God. Go boldly to the throne. Ask instead of worry. Talk to God as your Father.
This is the invitation. But what do we say? How do we find the words to pray?
Prayer, like everything else in the Christian life, is a practice learned over time. When it comes to learning the language of prayer, there is no better classroom than the psalms. The book of Psalms was the hymn and prayer book for the people of God even before the days of Jesus. God’s people have been praying these writings, and using them to shape their own prayers, ever since.
In this reading plan, we’ve selected fifteen psalms for you to use when you pray. They cover a range of topics and circumstances, from praising God, to calling on Him for personal cares and concerns, to lifting up the needs of this world. These psalms are worded both as prayers offered directly to God and as prompts to inspire prayer.
Three and a half decades after my first prayer, I’m still learning how to talk to God. I’m a person accustomed to communicating with other people, after all, but prayer is wholly other. There is no hiding, no putting on airs, no manipulation. All attempts at deceit are futile. God created us with the capacity to feel the very emotions we try to conceal. He knows our needs before we ask (Matthew 6:8), and our every circumstance exists in the context of His kingdom. There is nothing—not even our hearts—over which He does not rule.
May God use your time in these psalms to reveal more of His character and love to you. May He draw you into a daily and ongoing conversation with Him, and may His Word teach you to use your own words to express your heart to Him in prayer.