Praying through the Psalms

There are several ways we can pray through the Psalms during our quiet time with God. I already wrote about one way, called Lectio Divinia. A member of our community recently told me about how she uses the Psalms in prayer. She follows a Roman Catholic tradition called Novena. It involves nine days of public or private prayer for some special occasion or intention. Its origin goes back to the nine days that the Disciples and Mary spent together in prayer between Ascension and Pentecost Sunday.

I did some research on Novenas and adapted one of my own to fit with the Psalms. It's a meditation on Psalm 91. You can follow it below. This could be a great way to try a new discipline of prayer. Challenge yourself to set your alarm to stop and pray through the "novena" below for the next nine days. Or write your own novena by breaking a Psalm down by verses and repeating a simple prayer, asking God for what you need this week and always.

 photo by Matthew Kern 

photo by Matthew Kern 

Before you begin each day, center yourself by praying the Lord's prayer or another common prayer and sit in silence for a few moments. 

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be Thy name, Thy kingdom come, Thy Will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For Thine is the Kingdom, the Glory and the Power forever. Amen


Day 1: 

Psalm 91: 1-2

 You who sit down in the High God’s presence,  spend the night in the shadow of the Almighty, say this: “God, you’re my refuge. I trust in you and I’m safe!”

Now name your anxieties out loud. Cast your fears upon the Lord.

Repeat this 9 times...

O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything! Help me to hear your will for my life today.


Day 2: 

Psalm 91: 3-4 

That’s right—he rescues you from hidden traps, shields you from deadly hazards.
His huge outstretched arms protect you— under them you’re perfectly safe;  his arms fend off all harm.

Now, name your anxieties out loud to God. Cast your fears upon the Lord.

Repeat this 9 times...

O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything! Help me to hear your will for my life today.


Day 3: 

Psalm 91: 5-6

Fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night,  not flying arrows in the day, not disease that prowls through the darkness, not disaster that erupts at high noon.

Now, name your anxieties out loud to God. Cast your fears upon the Lord.

Repeat this 9 times...

O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything! Help me to hear your will for my life today.


Day 4:

Psalm 91: 7-8

Even though others succumb all around, drop like flies right and left,  no harm will even graze you. You’ll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance, watch the wicked turn into corpses.

Now, name your anxieties out loud to God. Cast your fears upon the Lord.

Repeat this 9 times...

O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything! Help me to hear your will for my life today.


Day 5:

Psalm 91: 9-10

Yes, because God’s your refuge, the High God your very own home, Evil can’t get close to you, harm can’t get through the door.

Now, name your anxieties out loud to God. Cast your fears upon the Lord.

Repeat this 9 times...

O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything! Help me to hear your will for my life today.


Day 6:

Psalm 91: 11-12

He ordered his angels  to guard you wherever you go. If you stumble, they’ll catch you;  their job is to keep you from falling.

Now, name your anxieties out loud to God. Cast your fears upon the Lord.

Repeat this 9 times...

O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything! Help me to hear your will for my life today.


Day 7:

Psalm 91: 13-14

You’ll walk unharmed among lions and snakes, and kick young lions and serpents from the path. “If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God, "I’ll get you out of any trouble. I’ll give you the best of care if you’ll only get to know and trust me."

Now, name your anxieties out loud to God. Cast your fears upon the Lord.

Repeat this 9 times...

O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything! Help me to hear your will for my life today.


Day 8:

Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times;  I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party. I’ll give you a long life, give you a long drink of salvation!” 

Now, name your anxieties out loud to God. Cast your fears upon the Lord.

Repeat this 9 times...

O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything! Help me to hear your will for my life today.


Day 9:

Read Psalm 91 and meditate on what you've learned about it over the past 8 days. 

You who sit down in the High God’s presence,
    spend the night in Shaddai’s shadow,
Say this: “God, you’re my refuge.
    I trust in you and I’m safe!”
That’s right—he rescues you from hidden traps,
    shields you from deadly hazards.
His huge outstretched arms protect you—
    under them you’re perfectly safe;
    his arms fend off all harm.
Fear nothing—not wild wolves in the night,
    not flying arrows in the day,
Not disease that prowls through the darkness,
    not disaster that erupts at high noon.
Even though others succumb all around,
    drop like flies right and left,
    no harm will even graze you.
You’ll stand untouched, watch it all from a distance,
    watch the wicked turn into corpses.
Yes, because God’s your refuge,
    the High God your very own home,
Evil can’t get close to you,
    harm can’t get through the door.
He ordered his angels
    to guard you wherever you go.
If you stumble, they’ll catch you;
    their job is to keep you from falling.
You’ll walk unharmed among lions and snakes,
    and kick young lions and serpents from the path.

“If you’ll hold on to me for dear life,” says God,
    “I’ll get you out of any trouble.
I’ll give you the best of care
    if you’ll only get to know and trust me.
Call me and I’ll answer, be at your side in bad times;
    I’ll rescue you, then throw you a party.
I’ll give you a long life,
    give you a long drink of salvation!”

Now, name your anxieties out loud to God. Cast your fears upon the Lord.

Repeat this 9 times...

O Jesus, I surrender myself to you, take care of everything! Help me to hear your will for my life today.

Finish with this closing prayer of thanksgiving: 

Thank you, Father, for having created us and given us to each other in the human family. Thank you for being with us in all our joys and sorrows, for your comfort in our sadness, your companionship in our loneliness. Thank you for yesterday, today, tomorrow and for the whole of our lives. Thank you for friends, for health and for grace. May we live this and every day conscious of all that has been given to us, casting our fears upon you and living each day free in the joy of your abounding love. Amen.