Praying the 23rd Psalm

I’ve read this Psalm more frequently than any other passage of Scripture. I’ve quoted it more times that I can count. I’ve memorized it in different translations. I’ve translated it from Hebrew and dissected it multiple times. I’ve read it to dying Christians. I’ve read it at the grave of faithful saints.

Two weeks ago, however, it took on a very new and personal meaning to me. After a minor surgery to remove a skin cancer on Tuesday morning I began taking pain medications prescribed by the surgeon. The next day I was calling 911 and taking an ambulance ride to the local Emergency Room. I was afraid I was dying. My body had an adverse reaction to the pain medication and I was in a bad way. My mind turned to the 23rd Psalm and to the Shepherd of which David speaks.

What follows after the passage below is a simple prayer from my heart based on this special Psalm. Thank you for reading. I hope it blesses you.

The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
(Psalm 23, NASB)

O Lord, to know Your care is to know comfort.

Knowing that You know what’s best for me and that You provide for me all that I need is beyond my understanding.

You truly do restore my soul daily. You lead me where I need to go through Your Word.

When I fear death, when I feel its pangs, I know that You are there beside me to take up my burden and provide peace.

Thank you, O Lord, for always giving me the things I need, even in the midst of great trial and even in times of persecution and distress.

Though life has challenges, I know that You are with me, O God, and that Your plans for me are far beyond my wildest dreams. I desire nothing more than to dwell with You always.


Timothy (Tim) Gunnells started his blog "Desert Spiritual" while living and ministering in the desert in Arizona. He knows the world in which we live is a "dry and weary land where is no water" and souls are thirsting for God (Psalm 63:1).Tim currently lives with his family in East Tennessee. He is available for retreats, leadership development seminars, and church consulting. He enjoys hiking, singing, spending time with his family and friends, and blogging about Christian spirituality, culture, and life in general. He may be reached at

  1. […] Another interpretation of Psalm 23 can be found here, “Praying the 23rd Psalm.” […]