Praying Psalm 23: The Lord Is My Shepherd

Susan Aken

iBelieve Contributing Writer
Published: Mar 22, 2021
Praying Psalm 23: The Lord Is My Shepherd

Scripture often compares us to sheep, animals who are easily led astray. Like them, we wander and get into trouble. Helpless on their own, sheep need someone to care, feed, protect, and shelter them. When one wanders off, it’s likely to be taken by a predator. A good shepherd keeps each one in sight and meets their needs.

Psalm 23 is one of the best known and most quoted chapters of the Bible. Its verses express David’s understanding of God’s care from his own personal experience. By praying its words, we can draw closer to who David knew God to be, and learn more intimately the ways God watches over us.

David was a King, author, poet, warrior, devoted to God, and ancestor of Jesus Christ, Son of God. A descendent of shepherds who as a boy killed a lion and a bear with his own hands while protecting his sheep (1 Samuel 17:34-36). God described David as, “A man after my own heart” (Acts 13:22).

Scripture often compares us to sheep, animals who are easily led astray. Like them, we wander and get into trouble. Helpless on their own, sheep need someone to care, feed, protect, and shelter them. When one wanders off, it’s likely to be taken by a predator. A good shepherd keeps each one in sight and meets their needs.

“A Psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the 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 have anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” (Psalm 23)

“The LORD is my Shepherd.”

The LORD God Almighty, Creator of all that exists is our Shepherd. He is my Shepherd. People may mentor, teach, guide, or fight for us, but our one true Shepherd is God. No one else can fill that role. Only God can always be with us and see what is ahead. He alone knows what’s in our hearts and what our true needs are. He is perfect. If we look to a person as our caretaker, they will disappoint us. But we can trust God, He never fails.

Lord God,

Thank You for being my Shepherd. You keep Your eyes on me. You know everything about me and still love me. I’m never out of Your care. You are my strength and shield, the perfect Shepherd who never makes a mistake. You never forget me or leave me behind. I trust in Your perfect love and know You will never lead me astray.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen

Photo Credit: © Getty Images/andreacerri

psalm 23:3 depression calm

“I lack nothing.”

In our consumer society, it seems we’re never satisfied. We frequently want more. How often does someone say, “I have all I need?” David expressed fulfillment saying, “I shall not want.” He trusted God to give him what he needed. He knew that though he might lack something for the moment, God would provide for his needs at the right time.

Father,

Because of Your perfect love and power, I have everything I need. I confess, Lord, I often feel like I’m lacking. I look for happiness in earthly possessions, people, or status. I seek comfort from temporary pleasures. I look at what I don’t have and think I’m missing something that would make me happy. But what I need is found in You. When I turn to You, You fill my soul with love and grace and make me complete. When I seek satisfaction from people or things, I’m left thirsty. In You, I find the fulfillment I’m looking for. You are enough. I love You Father! Thank You that in You I am complete.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen

“He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul.”

A good shepherd leads his sheep to a lush pasture with grass to eat and clean water to drink. A place where his animals feel safe and can lie down in peace.

The Lord gives us spiritual nourishment by filling the empty places in our hearts and giving us peace and hope. He is our haven in the middle of life’s storms and refreshes our souls. When we come to Him with our confusion, brokenness, and pain, He restores us and carries us through our struggles.

Lord,

Thank You for being my refuge in the storm. Thank You for providing refreshment for my soul when I’m battered and torn by circumstances. You are my spiritual food, my living water, and my place of rest. When trouble hits, help me slow down and trust you instead of running in circles looking for escape. Enable me to lie down in peace knowing You have my back.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen

“He guides me along the right paths for His name’s sake.”

God is our guardian. He shows us the way to go and enables us to live to honor Him. When we seek Him and ask for wisdom, He answers.

Lord,

Please give me wisdom to live righteously. Help me to glorify You with the decisions I make. Direct me and keep me in step with Your Spirit. Thank You for showing me the way.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen

lost little sheep in tall grass Parable of the Lost Sheep

“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.”

We experience some extremely dark valleys in this life. Times when the shadow of death feels like it will swallow us. But for those who are in Christ, evil can’t touch our souls. God is always with us. As a shepherd protects his sheep from predators with his staff, so our Shepherd protects our souls from Satan. We belong to Jesus Christ for eternity and no one can take us away.

Father,

Sometimes fear overtakes me and it feels like evil is winning. Help me remember You are always beside me, all around me, and in my heart. My soul is eternally safe in Your hands and no one can snatch it away. When I experience a time of pain or sorrow, I know I’m not alone. You give me the strength to endure. Your Spirit comforts me no matter what’s happening. Thank You for Your constant love.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen

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

Imagine a soldier on the battlefield. Instead of grabbing a quick bite of an emergency meal, he looks ahead and sees his commander has laid out a banquet. There’s a beautiful table laid with delicious dishes. He sits down right in the presence of his enemies and enjoys a meal. How could he do that? Only if he had complete faith and trust in his commander. We don’t have to panic in front of our enemies, the devil and his demons. God’s Spirit is always with us and has provided a banquet of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, and self-control. Our part is to have faith and trust our Commander.

In Scripture, being anointed with oil is a picture of God pouring His Holy Spirit on believers (NET Bible Notes). Oil flowing down one’s head and an overflowing cup are both pictures of abundance. God sent His Spirit to comfort, encourage, empower, and fill us to overflowing with His spiritual blessings.

Holy Spirit,

Thank You for giving me peace when the enemy offers anxiety. You help me love when he tempts me to hate. You offer joy when circumstances threaten depression. You’re my patience when I want to lash out. You give me all I need when I rely on You. You put Your shield around me when the enemy is throwing every poison dart of negative thoughts and fears. When I run to You in faith, I can sit at Your table in peace.

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen

“Surely Your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life.”

What a beautiful truth! His goodness and love, also translated as mercy or loving kindness, will be our constant companions.

Father,

Please soak this truth into my soul. Your goodness and love are always with me and will never leave. Remind me I can’t be separated from Your love. Empower me to stand on truth instead of my ever-changing feelings. Your love is a solid rock and a firm foundation which can’t be shaken, destroyed, or removed. Praise You Father! Thank You! I stand knowing I may get knocked down but I won’t be destroyed (2 Corinthians 4:9).

In Jesus’ Name,

Amen

“And I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.”

The ultimate promise! We will live with Him forever.

Jesus,

Thank You for making it possible for me to live with You for eternity! Thank You for promising You are preparing a place for me and proclaiming, “I will come back and take You to be with me that you also may be where I am” (John 14:3). I know this life is fleeting, a puff of smoke compared to eternity. Focus my heart on the truth of my forever home with You.

Praise You Lord!

Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Joaquin Corbalan

Susan Aken writes devotions and articles for Wholly Loved Ministries, is an Oklahoma native who’s lived in Nebraska since 1987 and has been in public education for over thirty years. She and her husband have one son and a wonderful daughter-in-law. Besides writing she has a passion for special needs and prayer ministries. She enjoys time with family, reading, photography, movies, walking in nature, and a nice cup of tea. She believes life is a journey and we’re all in different places. Jesus is everything to her and it’s all about grace. Visit her at susanaken53.wordpress.com or on Facebook.


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