These suggestions are adapted from Ben Patterson’s article “5 Ways to Pray the Psalms.”
Say them out loud.
Respond to the Psalm with your own prayer (see Acts 4:24-31 for an example). Dietrich Bonhoeffer in his book Life Together writes that all the prayer themes in the Psalms are summarized by Jesus in the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13, Luke 11:2-4). You can use these Lord’s Prayer themes to guide your response to the Psalm and make it your own.
How does this Psalm inspire me to:
- Cry out to my Father? (Our Father in Heaven)
- Move me to cry out for my needs and the needs of others in my family, community and around the world? (Give us this day our daily bread, lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil)
- Long for God’s kingdom? (Your kingdom come)
- Cause me to repent? (Forgive us our debts)
- Move me to forgive others? (As we forgive others)
- Cause me to worship and glorify God? (hallowed be Your Name)
Write out the Psalm in your own words.
Memorize a portion of the Psalm or the whole thing.
Marinate in the Psalm. Develop a pattern of praying, meditating and thinking about the psalm throughout the whole day. Read it in the morning, come back to it at lunch time and read it one last time before you fall asleep.