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Praying the Psalms

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By Junius B. Dotson

The practice of prayer simply means to spend time with God. Sometimes we talk; sometimes we listen; sometimes we seek; sometimes we rest—all are actions of practicing prayer. Throughout the scriptures, we have examples of varying forms of prayer, from Abraham stargazing with God; to David worshiping, lamenting, and grieving, and then praising God again; to Elijah in a cave listening for God; to Jesus himself giving us the words to pray. The Bible shows us time and again that God desires time and conversation with us. 

Set aside a period of time each day and designate a place that will be devoted to your prayer practice. Make this intentional, set-apart time just for you and God to spend some time together.

Sometimes life comes at us, and before we know it, our hearts are overcome with worry, fear, and anxious thoughts. Trials and suffering can make us feel like there is nothing good about our lives or that we’ll never experience joy again. The Psalms teach us how to praise God even in our suffering. David lays out all his feelings before God – anger, uncertainty, fear, defeat, sadness, depression – but he circles back to his love for God and finds a way to “yet praise,” even when he faces trials. Name before God your fears and worries, your trials and anxious thoughts. Then close your prayer with words of praise, and set your heart to praise.

Adapted from Soul Reset: Breakdown, Breakthrough, and the Journey to Wholeness by Junius B. Dotson. Copyright © 2019 by the author. Used with permission of Upper Room Books.

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While several strategies for reopening the world are being discussed, I encourage you—the people of God everywhere—to allow this season to be a formative one during which you can make new discoveries about God and increase your faith. Use this time to embark on a life of prayer, a life of study, and a life of action—involvement in the community.” 

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