In Psalm 23 we read the famous words, “The Lord is my Shepherd.” But what does it mean and how do we pray this beautiful verse?
Why Do We Pray?
My mom would sit alongside me as I lay tucked in my bed. Each night she would pull out one of my two favorite children’s Bibles and with her beautiful German accent, read a story to me. Then, together we would pray the Children’s Prayer.
Then we would close thanking God for our blessings and asking Him to care for those we love and those who are hurting.
It’s a memory I hold close. One that fills my heart and reminds me of all that is right in the world.
I believe that is one of the reasons why God commanded us to pray. He knew that when we prayed together, our hearts would be lifted, relationships bonded, and memories made all in His name and for His glory.
I remember a time spent in the presence of some of my dearest friends.
I met them years ago as I began blogging. Our friendships started online, but we’ve taken every opportunity possible to connect face-to-face, as well. Over one particular weekend, we bounced ideas off one another and encouraged each other. We laughed, cried, and talked long long talks. But most of all we prayed for one another. It’s the glue God uses to knit us together.
One of the reasons we pray is because it builds relationship with Jesus and with others. Prayer pulls down walls and it covers us in the love of Christ.
Psalm 23 is a passage in the Bible many of us may recognize. It is one we turn to in times of need and one that gives us comfort and hope. But today I want us to look at it to see why we pray Scripture and why we would pray Psalm 23.
The Lord is my Shepherd: Psalm 23
Side note: I love the intimate tone of conversation conveyed in The Voice translation of the 23rd Psalm. I do wish it used “The Lord is my Shepherd” as opposed to “The Eternal is my Shepherd”, though.
What is a shepherd?
- a person who herds, tends, and guards sheep.
- a person who protects, guides, or watches over a person or group of people
verb (used with object)
- to tend or guard as a shepherd:to shepherd the flock.
- to watch over carefully.
Why do we pray, “The Lord Is My Shepherd” in Psalm 23?
We pray God’s Word for many reasons. I love this article about why we pray Scripture at the Gospel Coalition giving us 12 reasons why we should pray Scripture. I love the comfort praying Scripture brings in knowing that I am praying Truth — that I am praying within God’s will.
Yes, God wants to hear what is on our minds and in our hearts. It is an important piece to building a relationship with Him. But I also know that in my humanity, I get distracted and often a little self-absorbed. I get overwhelmed and don’t know where to start. Scripture gives me that start. It gives me focus and it ensures I am praying for things that God wants for us.
So when we pray Psalm 23, we are asking God to be the One who watches over us carefully. Because His Word tells us all these things about being our Shepherd, we can trust that He will do this for us. He cannot lie. His promises are always true.
We pray the Lord is my Shepherd and know that:
1. God will care for us always.
2. He will provide us rest.
3. God will soothe our fears.
4. He will make us whole again.
5. He will steer us away from worn roads of poor choices and draw us to righteousness.
6. God will be with us in the dark moments providing protection, comfort, and guidance.
7. The Lord will provide for us in the face of our enemies.
8. He will pour cup upon cup of grace into our souls.
9. God will pursue us wherever we go for all of eternity.
With all this in mind, how can we NOT want to know the Lord as our Shepherd?
As we read the words to Psalm 23, how can we not want to know our Shepherd? How can we not want to know the One who makes us whole again? The One who steers us off worn and hard paths to roads of truth and righteousness? The One who is with us providing comfort, protection, guidance, and a way through our fears?
And then I must ask …
If we long to know Him, how can we not talk to Him?
Talking. It’s important because communicating is the way in which we connect with others. That includes our Savior. If we long to know Jesus, we must communicate with Him. We can do that through prayer.
Prayer is talking with God.
Prayer is getting to know God. It’s authentically revealing our thoughts and feelings even when they aren’t pretty or wrapped up neatly with a bow.
Sometimes we question the why of prayer because we believe God already knows all that will come to pass. And this is true. He is all-knowing … omniscient. Yet our omniscient Father longs for us to connect with Him in prayer. And friends, our prayers do matter and they do change things. They change us. They change the world.
I love this quote about prayer by Watchman Nee.
Why Do We Pray?
- Draws us closer to God and others as it builds healthy strong relationships.
- Changes us giving us eyes to see the world differently.
- Changes circumstances as we open the road for God’s transforming power.
- Changes the world.
Friends, if we are living in the will of God, building healthy relationships with God and others, loving well, and accessing His transforming power, how can the world not be changed into a better place for all?
A Collection of My Best Prayer Resources
If you have more questions about prayer, just jump on over to any of my other posts on prayer. The six posts below are the best of the best, but you can find even more quality insight and encouragement about prayer in the series titled Revive Your Life With the Power of Prayer.
Books That Will Guide You in Prayer and Help You to Know the Lord is My Shepherd
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