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Spiritual Practice: 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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"Thank you for the creative teams [of The Upper Room] who are working together to share the power of prayer around the world. You have collaborated with everyone working from our homes to share the gifts of hope, love, grace, and peace." (Written in response to The Upper Room COVID-19 response efforts). View Jaqui's video contribution to the initiative, helping us create space and time for God in these anxious times.