During a recent online bible group meeting, the question of whether we can pray through the Psalms came up. Some members wanted to know if praying the Psalms daily was okay.
Others asked for a list of the Psalms they could use as prayers. As a theologian, everyone looked to me for insight. Since I have always relied on the Bible to find out how Christians ought to pray, I was able to offer information on the topic.
I also thought of writing this article for anyone who might be asking similar questions. So, what are the best Psalms to pray?
10 Best Psalms to Pray
“I will exalt you, Lord, for you lifted me out of the depths and did not let my enemies gloat over me. Lord my God, I called to you for help, and you healed me. You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead; you spared me from going down to the pit.”
This Psalm is an excellent example of a prayer of thanksgiving to the Father. The Psalmist thanks God for hearing his cries and restoring him.
Likewise, this prayer is suggested as an excellent way for us to thank God for holding us fast through trying periods of our lives.
“I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.”
If you’re going through a difficult time, this Psalm reminds you that if you put your trust in the Lord, he will carry you through. The writer recounts how God brought him through a trying period and gave him a new song.
“Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, 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.”
According to these verses, the Psalmist encourages his soul to bless the Lord and not forget all he has done. This Psalm is suggested to be a great thanksgiving and adoration prayer.
“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.”
This Psalm is implied to be one of the best examples of prayer in the book of Psalms. The Psalmist explores the vastness of God’s power and knowledge over our lives.
It’s suggested as a great prayer in times of doubt or when you need to remind yourself of God’s power.
“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 you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge.”
This Psalm is suggested as a prayer for forgiveness. The verses discuss God’s right to judge us for our sins and transgressions.
It’s a prayer for him to cleanse us of our sins and lead us in righteousness.
“You, Lord, brought me up from the realm of the dead; you spared me from going down to the pit. Sing the praises of the Lord, you his faithful people; praise his holy name. For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”
Another thanksgiving prayer is found within these verses. The Psalmist urges us to trust the Lord since our weeping may endure for the night, but joy always comes in the morning.
If you’re grateful for how God has fought for you, this Psalm would be a great addition to your prayer.
“Teach me, Lord, the way of your decrees, that I may follow it to the end. Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law and obey it with all my heart. Direct me in the path of your commands, for there I find delight.”
These verses are a prayer for God’s guidance in our walk of faith. The Psalmist prays for understanding God’s law and a heart set on His statutes.
As a Christian trying to lead a holy life in a trying world, this prayer is a great way to feel connected to God.
“Since my youth, God, you have taught me, and to this day I declare your marvelous deeds. Even when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, my God, till I declare your power to the next generation, your mighty acts to all who are to come.”
This Psalm explores the righteousness of God and his marvelous deeds. It is suggested as a great prayer in times of hardship, as it reminds us of God’s power and ability to restore us.
“Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.'”
This Psalm is suggested as one of the most powerful prayers of protection in the book of Psalms. The Psalmist brings out the image of a powerful and loving Father who can keep us safe under his wings and protect us from all our troubles.
This scripture is a great reminder to call upon God at all times and rely on his ability to save.
“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.”
Being the most famous Psalm in the book, this scripture portion reminds us of God’s power and guidance in our lives.
The Psalmist praises a wonderful shepherd who can keep him safe from all kinds of trials and hardships, even in the valley of the shadow of death. We are encouraged to pray to this king, for he will always keep us safe.
What is the best Psalm to pray when you don’t know what to say?
The book of Psalms offers excellent prayers for the times when you don’t have something to say to God in prayer. Here are some great ones:
“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.”
This Psalm is filled with praise for God and the awesomeness of his deeds throughout time. If you don’t have the words, this prayer is suggested as a great way to exalt God and glorify him.
“Listen to my prayer, O God, do not ignore my plea; hear me and answer me. My thoughts trouble me and I am distraught because of what my enemy is saying, because of the threats of the wicked; for they bring down suffering on me and assail me in their anger.”
According to this Psalm, God is mighty to save us from our enemies and protect us when we feel weak. When you are going through a lot of opposition, you may feel so alone that you’re even unable to call upon God.
This Psalm is a gentle reminder to cast all your cares unto the Father and to trust in Him.
“Praise the Lord. How good it is to sing praises to our God, how pleasant and fitting to praise him!”
This passage is another excellent thanksgiving prayer, which refers to God as the creator and ruler of all things. It also emphasizes the importance of fearing God and putting our hopes in him.
When you have nothing to say, pray this scripture as it’s an adoration of the Lord.
Are Psalms Prayers or Songs?
Many believe Psalms are prayers of thanksgiving and adoration to God written in poetry and song. The Psalms vary in form and type, ranging from thanksgiving to supplication to repentance.
They can, therefore, be classified as both songs and prayers.
Can You Pray the Psalms every day?
Yes. The Book of Psalms contains over 2000 verses, all written as prayers to God. Therefore, you can pick out a Psalm that best suits your current situation or frame of mind and pray based on that.
There are Psalms for times of joy, like Psalm 136:1-3, and Psalms for times of hardship, like Psalms 63:1-4.
How do you Effectively Pray the Psalms?
To make the most out of your prayers, find a psalm that suits your current situation. When we pray, we often dwell on what is happening to us.
Praying using Psalms is no different.
Look for a psalm you relate with, then base your prayer on that.
Try praying the Psalm with the depth it was originally written with. When writing some Psalms, David faced formidable challenges, such as opposition and death.
These Psalms were, therefore, written as cries to God to save him and give him rest. Try praying with this in mind instead of just reading out the Psalm.
Remember, your prayers are a conversation with God. Instead of reading the Psalm as you would any other scripture, internalize those words and what they mean to you, then address them to God.
For example, when praying Psalm 23, talk to God like you’re speaking to the shepherd David talked of.
As a Christian, I have always been passionate about sharing God’s word with young people. This inspired me to pursue a Certificate in Christian Education, an Undergraduate degree in Religious Studies, and a Graduate degree in Theology. My knowledge in school and experience from dealing with the youth made me an expert at discussing Christian-related topics. I feel privileged working as the Coordinator of the Christian Youth Ministry at Christian Faith Guide. You can read more about me on the about us page.