Like the disciples in the days of Jesus, we sometimes struggle with prayer. They asked Jesus for help (Luke 11:1). We, too, can find help from God by looking into His word for instruction. The Psalms brim with the help with need, yet are an untapped resource for many. While there will probably always be times when “we do not know what we should pray for as we ought” (Rom. 8:26), we can minimize those occasions by utilizing the Psalms.
Consider the matter of penitence and confession. Far too many times, upon close personal examination, we find that we have fallen far short of God’s holiness. According to John there is no person on earth today who can claim that he is without sin (1 John 1:8-10). For the conscientious Christian, that is a condition that must be changed. And so we bow our heads to confess our sins to God and seek His mercy and forgiveness, but the words just don’t seem to come. Let the Psalms be your voice.
“Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin” (Psa. 51:1-2).
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit” (Psa. 51:10-12).
Each time the church meets for worship we sing songs written by others that express the thoughts and emotions of our hearts. Why can we not also do the same with our prayers? By incorporating the messages of the Psalms into our own devotions to God, we will deepen our relationship with God and increase the benefit that we receive from worship.