There are times in everyone’s where things seem out of control and beyond hope. It becomes so easy to grab the ice cream and the bag of chips and find a nice comfy chair and eat our way to what we feel is hope. While this may release some endorphins, we quickly realize that neither ice cream nor chips give us an ounce of encouragement. It just puts pounds on the hips. Prayer on the other hand can release the same kind of endorphins but without the extra baggage.
Praying the Psalms for Hope and Encouragement
We all know the benefits of prayer. We can all get into a rut where it starts to sound like the teacher on the peanuts gang, you know that prayer you say at the dinner table every time you have to pray out loud. Praying the Psalms takes the beautiful words of King David and other writers and fashions out prayers that bring you closer to an emotional connection with God. You also start speaking the words that bring positivity into our lives and creates a bigger faith that leads to broader hope.
What’s the Difference Between Hope and Faith
Sometimes it becomes difficult to figure out which came first, hope or faith. Can you have hope without faith? Is hope something that is even connected to faith? The Hebrew writer shows us that hope cannot exist without faith.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.
Hebrews 11:1 Niv
Faith is believing in things not seen and being convicted that it will happen or that is real. It is the platform for hope, for you to be able to stand on hope you must first have a faith that moves you upwards towards God and our creator.
Paul tells us in Romans 5:1 that we gain access to God’s grace by our faith.
Through him, we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. NIV
Paul then gives us the good news that because of our faith we can rejoice in the hope of seeing the glory of God.
Hope becomes that song that we can sing after a long night of tears.
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.Psalm 30:5 NIV
Prayers like these become powerful words that move us closer to God.
Why is the Book of Psalms so Powerful?
Many of the powerful Psalms are prayers that were written by King David. Each Psalm is a powerful reminder of God our creator, his forgiveness, and how he loves us. Reciting the Psalms keeps us in focus on who is really in control? It is a way to focus on the actual words instead of trying to think of something to say. We can maintain control of our thoughts while life is spinning out of control by praying powerful words.
How Do You Use the Psalms to Pray?
Sometimes we struggle with making the connections with God. Even though the holy spirit intercedes for us when we do struggle in prayer, we as humans still need to make that connection with God. God created us for his glory, and the best way to connect is through prayers and psalms. We then, in turn, speak the psalms back to each other as Paul states in Ephesians
Ephesians 5:19-21 NIV
Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your hearts to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.…
How do we use the psalms to pray?
We can pray the actual psalms word for word as if we were the writer.
We can also pray the psalms by replacing certain words with our own personal words.
We can pray the psalms by just expressing back in prayer the same theme that the writer expressed in the psalms.
We can even pick out those verses that we feel a connection with and recite them back to God.
You will find that most of King David’s words expressed many types of emotions and there is literally a Psalm for anyone looking for hope and encouragement during those upsides down, crazy and chaotic times in our lives. You can also jump over to our Podcast Praying the Psalms. It will take you through 15 days of just praying the psalms. Prayer can be a tough discipline to get into and praying the Psalms for 15 days will help jumpstart this disciple and then remember to do the following
Find a specific place to pray every day.
This will help you remember as you pass by that you need to pray.
Try to pray at the same time every day.
This habit connects your brain with the habit of praying and it will become muscle memory within weeks. Daniel in the Old Testament was a perfect example of this habit.
Pick specific Psalms for specific times in your life.
You can pray these Psalms over and over for hope and encouragement, for thanksgiving and joyous times in your life. It is not a one-time prayer.
Pray These Psalms of Hope
Praying the Psalms encompasses so many blessings. There are so many old hymns as well as new Christian music that are inspired by the hope that is present in the book of Psalms. The Psalms also help us create a deeper connection with God as we pour out our sins, cry out for help, and pray thanksgiving to the one that created us.
New International Version
Psalms 73-16-17 When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood their final destiny.
Psalm 121:1-2 I lift up my eyes to the mountains— where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven, and earth.
Psalm 23:3 he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.
Psalms of Hope and Encouragement
There were many times in David’s life that he felt alone and hopeless. I am so grateful that God gives us a glimpse of a man that was after his own heart. We are human and there are times that we still feel the tug of a world spinning out of control. The Psalms let me feel the emotion of David’s cries and the joy of the knowledge that God is where his encouragement comes from.
New International version
Psalm 145:14 The Lord upholds all who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down.
Psalm 100:5 For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.
Psalm 150:2 Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness.
Psalms of Hope and Strength
The major theme of the Bible is forgiveness. We can not go through life living out the hope of eternal salvation if we do not believe in the forgiveness that God gives us. There many Psalms that speak on forgiveness. They all speak to the guilt that we carry if we do not understand the power of God to forgive.
New International version
Psalm 32:5- I will confess my transgressions to the Lord and you forgave the guilt of my sin.
Psalm 103: 9 “He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities
Psalm 51:9 “Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
Our strength lies in the belief system that we are forgiven. Praying these prayers while inserting your name can and will help you believe that no sin is greater than Christ’s death on the cross.
Psalms About Hope for the Future
Our world is hungry for a better world. Hoping that the future will be better for our children and grandchildren. The truth is that the future only lies in Christ and when we all can put our trust in him then we can live in a hopeless world with hope. These psalms help us look forward to a better future because we live for Christ and not ourselves.
Psalm 31:24 Be strong, and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord!New International Version
Psalm 38:15 But for you, O Lord, do I wait; it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.
Psalm 33:22 Let your steadfast love, O Lord, be upon us, even as we hope in you.
Pray the Psalms of Hope to Remember That God is in Control
There is nothing more powerful than remembering that God is in control even as the world is burning down around you. It gives us hope to know that we cannot control others and events but God is still in authority over heaven and earth and will take care of everything we just need to pray out our continual trust in him.
These Psalms are powerful words about God being in Control
Psalm 139:1-4 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.New International version
Psalm 91: 2 I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”
Psalm 27:1 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?
As I write this, our world is what seems to be in out of control mode. I have found myself weary and paralyzed by the inability to change the world. I felt the pull of earth as it slung me around in the madness and paralysis of losing hope zapped my strength. It was not until I prayed through 15 days of the Psalms that I felt hope come back. The connection that I was able to make with God has kept my focus on the things that I have control over and the faith that I know God is in control of the rest.
I encourage you to make the Psalms a part of your prayer life. It will enrich your prayer life beyond measure.
Because he first loved me