Praying Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.

Father, I shall not want because I have no need that you haven’t provided for. You are my good shepherd and my good provider. You care for me in ways I could never expect to care for myself. Nothing that you have withheld from me is needed, because you have, and always will, provide for my every need. You overwhelm me with your surpassing worth, greatness, and majesty in a way that causes me to see myself, in relationship to you, more appropriately. You are good, and will always do good to your children. I will not be in want as long as you remain my shepherd.

    He makes me lie down in green pastures.
He leads me beside still waters.

Lord, in view of your transcendence and immanence I’m comforted enough to lay down and rest. I’m reminded that I’m not God, but the God I serve is one that cares for me. You cause me to lie down, to acknowledge my creature-ness, and in doing so I acknowledge you as Creator. I’m comforted to be as calm as the waters I’m led by, and fully assured that I’ve been brought out of chaos into a tranquil and beautiful relationship with you.

    He restores my soul.
He leads me in paths of righteousness
    for his name’s sake.

God, you are about restoration. You are the restorer of my soul. When I’ve sinned, you restore me. When I’m weary, your presence and your easy yoke bring restoration and healing. You create in me a clean heart and renew in me a right spirit.

As my shepherd, you lead me and I can trust that your leading is good. I trust that your leading is right. Lord, you are about your glory, and I beg that I be about it too. Lead me, O Lord, in ways that will only magnify your name. Let my foot not stumble, because in stumbling I damage my witness about your risen Son. Would you receive much glory for the ways you lead me.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
    I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
    your rod and your staff,
    they comfort me.

Lord, I know I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, but by your grace it’s just a shadow. I don’t have to be immersed into the depths of death because you have been there for me, and by your Spirit you’re here in the shadow with me. In light of this, in light of your undeserved favor, what evil should I fear? What can be done to me to take away the hope of eternity?

Thank you, Lord, that you instead are here leading me. You reprove me with your rod, and in that way I know you love me. You care for me too much to let me wander too far away. Teach me to not despise your rod, but be reminded that you discipline those that you love.

You prepare a table before me
    in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil;
    my cup overflows.

Father, even in my darkest of times, you’re here providing for me. In the times that I have nothing but enemies around me you’re here to give me what I need. I can still cry, “I shall not want!” because you are here to set the table, bless me, and let those blessings abound so that I can be confident that every spiritual blessing is mine through your Son. When I am tempted to think that you have abandoned me you remind me that you promised you won’t.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
    all the days of my life,
and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord

Surely! Lord, fill me with assurance! I believe; help my unbelief! What I haven’t earned I can’t lose. You will finish this good work you began. Your goodness and mercy will never run out. Even if I live to see 200 years on this earth I will not exhaust your grace for me in Christ!

Father, let your words to me in this Psalm serve as a great assurance and rest for my soul. That by your eternal decree, through the finished work of your Son, and the seal of your Holy Spirit on my heart I can say confidently that I will dwell in your house forever. Through union with Christ I am already there in spirit, and one day I will be there physically as well. Let me live today in light of that day, in light of that truth, in light of that forever.

Through our Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ.