Praying with Psalm 23

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                    Not want

          The Lord is my shepherd;
          I shall not want.
                    —Psalm 23.1

Lead me, shepherd,
through the cluttered junkyard of my desires,
through the noisy bazaar of all the stuff I think I need,
to the quiet meadow of your love,
where I have everything I need.

Breath prayer:
                              Enough … at peace.

                              Green pastures

          You make me lie down in green pastures.
                    —Psalm 23.2

God, I am trying so hard—
to keep up, to maintain,
to produce, to perform.
Give me energy; and give me rest.
For there is no need,
no such thing as good enough,
there is only my belovedness.
You are my resting place.
Lead me aside from the hustle,
to a quiet place in you
to find my rest.

Breath prayer:
                              Rest … in you


          You restore my soul.
                    —Psalm 23.3

O Love,
sometimes I am under pressure,
sometimes I am in grief,
and my heart falters,
my breath goes shallow.
Revive me.
Be my heartbeat,
be my breath
and restore me deep within.
I breathe you, deep and easy.

Breath prayer:
                              Breathing … God

                              Good path

          You lead me in good paths for your name’s sake.
                    —Psalm 23.3

Lead me, gentle one.
Lead me in a way of grace and forgiveness,
a path of beauty and kindness.
Lead me toward justice and mercy.
May each step be a step of love and courage.
Give me clarity to discern your way for me,
and faith to follow it,
one step at a time.

Breath prayer:
                              Love … lead me

                              Dark valley

          Even though I walk through the darkest valley,
          I fear no evil; for you are with me;
          your rod and your staff— they comfort me.

                    —Psalm 23.4

The way to love and light
leads through pain and loss,
and the darkness of not seeing.
And you, my Love, my Faithful One,
you go there with me.
Through the unknowing,
through the powerlessness,
through the grief,
there you are,
until we reach
another green meadow. Thank you.
Lead me.

Breath prayer:
                    Unseen … presence


          You prepare a table before me
          in the presence of my enemies.

                    —Psalm 23.5

O Holy Mystery,
in the face of all I fear
you spread a feast
of sustenance and beauty.
Though I flee from hurtful conflicts
sometimes you invite me to your table
where I share with my enemies
and we are reconciled.
For provision and safety,
for abundance overflowing, I thank you.

Breath prayer:
                              Despite all … abundance


          Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
          all the days of my life,
          and I shall dwell in the house of the Beloved
          my whole life long.
                              —Psalm 23.6

Ah, Beloved, wherever I am,
I am at home in you.
Every moment I am in your presence,
surrounded by your goodness.
Your gentle mercy shadows me,
clings to me, belongs to me.
Unseen, unfelt, your spirit hovers.
Your grace enfolds me.
Your mystery breathes in me.
Your love abides.
I thank you.
I give myself to you.

Breath prayer:
                              At home … in you

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