I was introduced to Lectio Divina as a student at Bible College. I found it refreshing as it deepened my relationship with God. Having experienced these benefits, I decided to share them with my Bible study group.
Our discussion centered on the Psalms; I relied on my theological background and experience to curate a list of the best Psalms for Lectio Divina.
That session inspired this article, where I share five Psalms for divine reading.
5 Best Psalms to read for Lectio Divina
“The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
The Psalmist describes his relationship with God. He compares it to the relationship a shepherd has with his sheep. This Psalm inspires confidence in God’s love for you.
Pray it when you’re in distress. Meditating on God’s love will encourage you through life’s trials.
“As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God? My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, ‘Where is your God?’ These things I remember as I pour out my soul: how I used to go to the house of God under the protection of the Mighty One with shouts of joy and praise among the festive throng.”
The Psalmist expresses a deep longing for God. He compares himself to a deer panting after water. He was despaired and discouraged but chose to hope in the Lord.
This Psalm is perfect when facing failure, trials, and suffering. It helps you center your focus on the Lord and realize that you need God more than you do a solution for your problem.
“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.”
David penned this Psalm after Nathan confronted him about his sin. He had committed adultery with Bathsheba and had Uriah killed. In the Psalm, he begs God for mercy and cleansing.
This Psalm is perfect when you don’t have the words to repent your sin. It helps you express sorrow over your sins.
“You have searched me, Lord, 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, Lord, know it completely. You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.”
David marvels at how well God knows him. He describes how God knew him before he was born and uses this knowledge to guide and protect David.
He ends the Psalm with a plea for justice.
This Psalm is perfect for self-reflection. It helps you see yourself in light of God’s majesty and love. Reading this Psalm will naturally lead you to worship.
“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 timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals.”
The Psalmist calls Israel to worship and praise God. Interestingly, he doesn’t list any reason for doing this. Commentators believe this Psalm is a culmination of all the rest, and all reasons for praising God are outlined in the 149 preceding chapters.
It’s perfect for congregational worship because it allows you to insert your reason for praising God.
How do you pick the best Psalms for Lectio Divina?
A lectionary is the easiest way to pick a Psalm for Lectio Divina. This works for those whose church follows a liturgical calendar.
Alternatively, you can rely on devotional or online Lectio Divina passages. It’s worth noting that most Psalms work for Lectio Divina.
How to pray the Psalms for Lectio Divina
Lectio Divina involves slowly reading and meditating on God’s word. It’s a practice that encourages believers to pray through God’s word. It has four steps:
Find a quiet place and slowly read through the Psalm for that day.
Read through the Psalm again. Think about what each verse says. Let God speak to you through the passage, and take note of the memories and emotions that surface as you do this.
Respond in prayer to what God places in your heart. You can incorporate the phrases in your prayer.
Contemplate in silence.
As a theologian, I have always been curious to learn more about the Christian Faith. That is why I pursued a Certificate in Christian Studies, Certificate in Christian Foundations and a Masters in Theology. I also have an immersive experience in editing for numerous websites. I have worked as an editor for over a decade and am currently the editor-in-chief at Christian Faith Guide. I enjoy working as an editor and feel privileged to share my expertise and help spread God’s word. You can read more about me on the about us page.