Praying the Psalms

For centuries, the Psalms have been the basis of prayer. Prayer rooted in Scripture is prayer rooted in the will of God. The Psalms are well worn paths of prayer, drawing believers together in intercession, petition, and exaltation of our God. The Psalms contain a multitude of human experiences. In prayer, we learn from the Psalms, we are guided by them. The following are twenty-four Psalms that can accompany our time of prayer. We daily bring God into our lives in prayer, allowing Him to shape us, mold us, lead us, and put us within what 
He is doing. May the Psalms help us in that.

Psalm 1
Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners
or sit in the seat of mockers,
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.
Not so the wicked!
They are like chaff
that the wind blows away.
Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,
nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.
For the Lord watches over the way of the righteous,
but the way of the wicked will perish.

Psalm 13
How long, O LORD? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart?
How long will my enemy triumph over me?
Look on me and answer, LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death,
and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.
I will sing the LORD’s praise, for he has been good to me.

Psalm 16
Keep me safe, O God, for in you I take refuge.
I said to the Lord , “You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing.”
As for the saints who are in the land, they are the glorious ones in whom is all my delight.
The sorrows of those will increase who run after other gods. I will not pour out their libations of blood or take up their names on my lips.
Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the Lord , who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me.
I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure,
because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. You have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Psalm 20
May the Lord answer you when you are in distress; may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
May he send you help from the sanctuary and grant you support from Zion.
May he remember all your sacrifices and accept your burnt offerings. Selah
May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed.
We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the Lord grant all your requests.
Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed; he answers him from his holy heaven with the saving power of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm.
O Lord , save the king! Answer us when we call!

Psalm 23
The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters,
he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
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.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.
Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

Psalm 24
The earth is the Lord ‘s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;
for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.
Who may ascend the hill of the Lord ?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to an idol or swear by what is false.
He will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God his Savior.
Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek your face, O God of Jacob. Selah
Lift up your heads, O you gates; be lifted up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.
Who is this King of glory? The Lord strong and mighty, the Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O you gates; lift them up, you ancient doors, that the King of glory may come in.
Who is he, this King of glory? The Lord Almighty- he is the King of glory. Selah

Psalm 27
The Lord is my light and my salvation- whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life- of whom shall I be afraid?
When evil men advance against me to devour my flesh, when my enemies and my foes attack me, they will stumble and fall.
Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then will I be confident.
One thing I ask of the Lord , this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.
For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.
Then my head will be exalted above the enemies who surround me; at his tabernacle will I sacrifice with shouts of joy; I will sing and make music to the Lord .
Hear my voice when I call, O Lord ; be merciful to me and answer me.
My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, Lord , I will seek.
Do not hide your face from me, do not turn your servant away in anger; you have been my helper. Do not reject me or forsake me, O God my Savior.
Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.
Teach me your way, O Lord ; lead me in a straight path because of my oppressors.
Do not turn me over to the desire of my foes, for false witnesses rise up against me, breathing out violence.
I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait for the Lord ; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord .

Psalm 51
Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.
Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.
For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.
Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge.
Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
Surely you desire truth in the inner parts ; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.
Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will turn back to you.
Save me from bloodguilt, O God, the God who saves me, and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
In your good pleasure make Zion prosper; build up the walls of Jerusalem.
Then there will be righteous sacrifices, whole burnt offerings to delight you; then bulls will be offered on your altar.

Psalm 62
My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.
How long will you assault a man? Would all of you throw him down- this leaning wall, this tottering fence?
They fully intend to topple him from his lofty place; they take delight in lies. With their mouths they bless, but in their hearts they curse. Selah
Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.
He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.
My salvation and my honor depend on God ; he is my mighty rock, my refuge.
Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge. Selah
Lowborn men are but a breath, the highborn are but a lie; if weighed on a balance, they are nothing; together they are only a breath.
Do not trust in extortion or take pride in stolen goods; though your riches increase, do not set your heart on them.
One thing God has spoken, two things have I heard: that you, O God, are strong,
and that you, O Lord, are loving. Surely you will reward each person according to what he has done.

Psalm 63
O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and your glory.
Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.
I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands.
My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you.
On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night.
Because you are my help, I sing in the shadow of your wings.
My soul clings to you; your right hand upholds me.
They who seek my life will be destroyed; they will go down to the depths of the earth.
They will be given over to the sword and become food for jackals.
But the king will rejoice in God; all who swear by God’s name will praise him, while the mouths of liars will be silenced.

Psalm 103
Praise the Lord , O my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord , O my soul, and forget not all his benefits-
who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.
The Lord works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed.
He made known his ways to Moses, his deeds to the people of Israel:
The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.
He will not always accuse, nor will he harbor his anger forever;
he does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.
For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear him;
for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.
As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field;
the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more.
But from everlasting to everlasting the Lord ‘s love is with those who fear him, and his righteousness with their children’s children-
with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.
The Lord has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all.
Praise the Lord , you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word.
Praise the Lord , all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will.
Praise the Lord , all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the Lord , O my soul.

Psalm 104
Praise the Lord , O my soul. O Lord my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty.
He wraps himself in light as with a garment; he stretches out the heavens like a tent
and lays the beams of his upper chambers on their waters. He makes the clouds his chariot and rides on the wings of the wind.
He makes winds his messengers, flames of fire his servants.
He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved.
You covered it with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains.
But at your rebuke the waters fled, at the sound of your thunder they took to flight;
they flowed over the mountains, they went down into the valleys, to the place you assigned for them.
You set a boundary they cannot cross; never again will they cover the earth.
He makes springs pour water into the ravines; it flows between the mountains.
They give water to all the beasts of the field; the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
The birds of the air nest by the waters; they sing among the branches.
He waters the mountains from his upper chambers; the earth is satisfied by the fruit of his work.
He makes grass grow for the cattle, and plants for man to cultivate- bringing forth food from the earth:
wine that gladdens the heart of man, oil to make his face shine, and bread that sustains his heart.
The trees of the Lord are well watered, the cedars of Lebanon that he planted.
There the birds make their nests; the stork has its home in the pine trees.
The high mountains belong to the wild goats; the crags are a refuge for the coneys.
The moon marks off the seasons, and the sun knows when to go down.
You bring darkness, it becomes night, and all the beasts of the forest prowl.
The lions roar for their prey and seek their food from God.
The sun rises, and they steal away; they return and lie down in their dens.
Then man goes out to his work, to his labor until evening.
How many are your works, O Lord ! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.
There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number- living things both large and small.
There the ships go to and fro, and the leviathan, which you formed to frolic there.
These all look to you to give them their food at the proper time.
When you give it to them, they gather it up; when you open your hand, they are satisfied with good things.
When you hide your face, they are terrified; when you take away their breath, they die and return to the dust.
When you send your Spirit, they are created, and you renew the face of the earth.
May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works-
he who looks at the earth, and it trembles, who touches the mountains, and they smoke.
I will sing to the Lord all my life; I will sing praise to my God as long as I live.
May my meditation be pleasing to him, as I rejoice in the Lord .
But may sinners vanish from the earth and the wicked be no more. Praise the Lord , O my soul. Praise the Lord.

Psalm 112
Praise the Lord . Blessed is the man who fears the Lord , who finds great delight in his commands.
His children will be mighty in the land; the generation of the upright will be blessed.
Wealth and riches are in his house, and his righteousness endures forever.
Even in darkness light dawns for the upright, for the gracious and compassionate and righteous man.
Good will come to him who is generous and lends freely, who conducts his affairs with justice.
Surely he will never be shaken; a righteous man will be remembered forever.
He will have no fear of bad news; his heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord .
His heart is secure, he will have no fear; in the end he will look in triumph on his foes.
He has scattered abroad his gifts to the poor, his righteousness endures forever; his horn will be lifted high in honor.
The wicked man will see and be vexed, he will gnash his teeth and waste away; the longings of the wicked will come to nothing.

Psalm 113
Praise the Lord . Praise, O servants of the Lord , praise the name of the Lord .
Let the name of the Lord be praised, both now and forevermore.
From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the Lord is to be praised.
The Lord is exalted over all the nations, his glory above the heavens.
Who is like the Lord our God, the One who sits enthroned on high,
who stoops down to look on the heavens and the earth?
He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap;
he seats them with princes, with the princes of their people.
He settles the barren woman in her home as a happy mother of children. Praise the Lord.

Psalm 115
Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.
Why do the nations say, “Where is their God?”
Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him.
But their idols are silver and gold, made by the hands of men.
They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but they cannot see;
they have ears, but cannot hear, noses, but they cannot smell;
they have hands, but cannot feel, feet, but they cannot walk; nor can they utter a sound with their throats.
Those who make them will be like them, and so will all who trust in them.
O house of Israel, trust in the Lord – he is their help and shield.
O house of Aaron, trust in the Lord – he is their help and shield.
You who fear him, trust in the Lord – he is their help and shield.
The Lord remembers us and will bless us: He will bless the house of Israel, he will bless the house of Aaron,
he will bless those who fear the Lord – small and great alike.
May the Lord make you increase, both you and your children.
May you be blessed by the Lord , the Maker of heaven and earth.
The highest heavens belong to the Lord , but the earth he has given to man.
It is not the dead who praise the Lord , those who go down to silence;
it is we who extol the Lord , both now and forevermore. Praise the Lord .

Psalm 116
I love the Lord , for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy.
Because he turned his ear to me, I will call on him as long as I live.
The cords of death entangled me, the
anguish of the grave came upon me; I
was overcome by trouble and sorrow.
Then I called on the name of the Lord :
The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion.
The Lord protects the simplehearted; when I was in great need, he saved me.
Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.
For you, O Lord , have delivered my soul from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living.
I believed; therefore I said, “I am greatly afflicted.”
And in my dismay I said, “All men are liars.”
How can I repay the Lord for all his goodness to me?
I will lift up the cup of salvation and call on the name of the Lord .
I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people.
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.
O Lord , truly I am your servant; I am your servant, the son of your maidservant ; you have freed me from my chains.
I will sacrifice a thank offering to you and call on the name of the Lord .
I will fulfill my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people,
in the courts of the house of the Lord – in your midst, O Jerusalem. Praise the Lord .

Psalm 128
Blessed are all who fear the Lord , who walk in his ways.
You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.
Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your sons will be like olive shoots around your table.
Thus is the man blessed who fears the Lord .
May the Lord bless you from Zion all the days of your life; may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem, and may you live to see your children’s children. Peace be upon Israel.

Psalm 130
Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord ;
O Lord, hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy.
If you, O Lord , kept a record of sins, O Lord, who could stand?
But with you there is forgiveness; therefore you are feared.
I wait for the Lord , my soul waits, and in his word I put my hope.
My soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen wait for the morning, more than watchmen wait for the morning.
O Israel, put your hope in the Lord , for with the Lord is unfailing love and with him is full redemption.
He himself will redeem Israel from all their sins.

Psalm 136
Give thanks to the Lord , for he is good.
Give thanks to the God of gods. His love endures forever.
Give thanks to the Lord of lords: His love endures forever.
to him who alone does great wonders, His love endures forever.
who by his understanding made the heavens, His love endures forever.
who spread out the earth upon the waters, His love endures forever.
who made the great lights- His love endures forever.
the sun to govern the day, His love endures forever.
the moon and stars to govern the night; His love endures forever.
to him who struck down the firstborn of Egypt His love endures forever.
and brought Israel out from among them His love endures forever.
with a mighty hand and outstretched arm; His love endures forever.
to him who divided the Red Sea asunder His love endures forever.
and brought Israel through the midst of it, His love endures forever.
but swept Pharaoh and his army into the Red Sea; His love endures forever.
to him who led his people through the desert, His love endures forever.
who struck down great kings, His love endures forever.
and killed mighty kings- His love endures forever.
Sihon king of the Amorites His love endures forever.
and Og king of Bashan- His love endures forever.
and gave their land as an inheritance, His love endures forever.
an inheritance to his servant Israel; His love endures forever.
to the One who remembered us in our low estate His love endures forever.
and freed us from our enemies, His love endures forever.
and who gives food to every creature.
Give thanks to the God of heaven. His love endures forever.

Psalm 139
O Lord , you have searched me and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord .
You hem me in-behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you.
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!
Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand. When I awake, I am still with you.
If only you would slay the wicked, O God! Away from me, you bloodthirsty men!
They speak of you with evil intent; your adversaries misuse your name.
Do I not hate those who hate you, O Lord , and abhor those who rise up against you?
I have nothing but hatred for them; I count them my enemies.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.

Psalm 142
I cry aloud to the Lord ; I lift up my voice to the Lord for mercy.
I pour out my complaint before him; before him I tell my trouble.
When my spirit grows faint within me, it is you who know my way. In the path where I walk men have hidden a snare for me.
Look to my right and see; no one is concerned for me. I have no refuge; no one cares for my life.
I cry to you, O Lord ; I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.”
Listen to my cry, for I am in desperate need; rescue me from those who pursue me, for they are too strong for me.
Set me free from my prison, that I may praise your name. Then the righteous will gather about me because of your goodness to me.

Psalm 145
I will exalt you, my God the King; I will praise your name for ever and ever.
Every day I will praise you and extol your name for ever and ever.
Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise; his greatness no one can fathom.
One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts.
They will speak of the glorious splendor of your majesty, and I will meditate on your wonderful works.
They will tell of the power of your awesome works, and I will proclaim your great deeds.
They will celebrate your abundant goodness and joyfully sing of your righteousness.
The Lord is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love.
The Lord is good to all; he has compassion on all he has made.
All you have made will praise you, O Lord ; your saints will extol you.
They will tell of the glory of your kingdom and speak of your might,
so that all men may know of your mighty acts and the glorious splendor of your kingdom.
Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and your dominion endures through all generations. The Lord is faithful to all his promises and loving toward all he has made.
The Lord upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.
The eyes of all look to you, and you give them their food at the proper time.
You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.
The Lord is righteous in all his ways and loving toward all he has made.
The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them.
The Lord watches over all who love him, but all the wicked he will destroy.
My mouth will speak in praise of the Lord . Let every creature praise his holy name for ever and ever.

Psalm 148
Praise the Lord . Praise the Lord from the heavens, praise him in the heights above.
Praise him, all his angels, praise him, all his heavenly hosts.
Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars.
Praise him, you highest heavens and you waters above the skies.
Let them praise the name of the Lord , for he commanded and they were created.
He set them in place for ever and ever; he gave a decree that will never pass away.
Praise the Lord from the earth, you great sea creatures and all ocean depths,
lightning and hail, snow and clouds, stormy winds that do his bidding,
you mountains and all hills, fruit trees and all cedars,
wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds,
kings of the earth and all nations, you princes and all rulers on earth,
young men and maidens, old men and children.
Let them praise the name of the Lord , for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.
He has raised up for his people a horn, the praise of all his saints, of Israel, the people close to his heart. Praise the Lord .

Psalm 150
Praise the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his
mighty heavens.
Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre,
praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute,
praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals.
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord . Praise the Lord.

 

(Verses taken from the NIV)

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