How do we pray in 2020? Psalm 23

“The Lords Prayer” Illustrations by Tim Ladwig

Week of November 16: Psalm 23

  • Read Psalm 23 (each day or whenever you’re able)
  • Journal for 5 minutes whatever comes to mind. Don’t overanalyze what comes out – just put it out onto the paper.
  • Go on with your day, letting the psalm marinate within you.
  • Look back at your journal at week’s end. What do you notice?

How do I learn to pray?

“We prepare to pray not by composing our prayers but ourselves…. Prayer is primal speech. We do not first learn how to do it, and then proceed to do it; we do it, in the doing we find out what we are doing, and then deepen and mature in it.” – Eugene Peterson, Answering God: The Psalms as Tools for Prayer

How do I pray when there are real dangers?

“When I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil because God is with me. And His Presence makes the difference, because it cancels out the threatening element of the threat, the evil element of evil. Of course I may linger, or I may die; I may suffer acutely, or all my days may rest upon an undercurrent of muted agony. I shall not be overcome; God is with me. My awareness of God’s Presence may seem to some to be the merest childlike superstition, but it meets my need and is at once the source of my comfort and the heart of my peace.” – Howard Thurman, Meditations of the Heart

Who is this God that I pray to?

“All of these images converge into a statement of the buoyant trustworthiness of YHWH in the face of every circumstance, so that the speaker of the psalm is confident and serene in the face of every threat.”

“The generous provision of YHWH as shepherd means that there are no needs, deficits, or deficiencies, as these words from the hymn ‘Great Is Thy Faithfulness’ testify: All that I’ve needed thy hand hath provided; Great is thy faithfulness, Lord unto me.”

“The sense of the entire psalm is that of a calm assurance and abiding trust, all the while alert to the reality that is kept in check by the faithful God. This poem is a clear statement of how the God of Israel functions decisively to counter all circumstances.”

– Walter Brueggemann, William H. Bellinger, Jr., Psalms: New Cambridge Bible Commentary

Tim Ladwig’s illustrations for Psalm Twenty-Three with Jon Foreman’s song, “House of God Forever”
How do we pray when there’s so much at stake?
How do we pray Psalm 23 when we don’t feel Psalm 23?
How do we pray in the presence of our enemies?