Prayer For The Sheep
You led Your people along that road like a flock of sheep (v.20).
The Psalms are diverse prayers. The Psalter (the name
for all the Psalms collected together) is a prayer
and song book. Whatever we learn from a psalm,
whatever questions raised or answers given—we must
never forget that it is first a prayer. It contains intimate
words spoken to God.
Psalms have been prayed to God for thousands of
years. Israel prayed them. The church prays them.
Christians in Hungary and Nigeria and Mexico pray
them. When we pray these prayers, we join the faithful
across time and history. With them, we echo our longing
for God, our desperation for God to act, our belief that
God is good and just and that He will treat us as dear
One of the constant images in the Psalms is that of God
as the shepherd and we as sheep. God is our Shepherd.
We’re dependent and in need. God is our Provider. God
is trustworthy to care for us. So, we prayerfully affirm
that, since God is the Shepherd, we “have all that [we]
need” (Psalms 23:1).
These prayers do not ask us to put on blinders, ignoring
the “darkest valley” and the wilderness we encounter
(Psalms 23:4, Psalms 78:52). Rather, these prayers invite us to joyfully
affirm that, though darkness comes, we “will not be afraid” because the Good
Shepherd stays (as good shepherds always do) “close beside” us (Psalms 23:4).
Prayer is the honest acknowledgment of life as it is and a faithful recentering
to life as God makes (and will make) it to be. Prayer helps us sheep to follow our
Pray through Psalms 79:1, noting the pinnacle image: God’s people
pictured as sheep. Watch for how the images build to this picture, and how
it reflects meaning on the rest of the prayer.
Where do you need the Good Shepherd to guide you right now? How
does seeing yourself as a dependent sheep reorient you to the faithfulness of