Some went out on the sea in ships;
they were merchants on the mighty waters.
They saw the works of the Lord,
his wonderful deeds in the deep.
For he spoke and stirred up a tempest
that lifted high the waves.
They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths;
in their peril their courage melted away.
They reeled and staggered like drunkards;
they were at their wits’ end.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
and he brought them out of their distress.
He stilled the storm to a whisper;
the waves of the sea were hushed.
They were glad when it grew calm,
and he guided them to their desired haven.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind.
Let them exalt him in the assembly of the people
and praise him in the council of the elders.

Psalm 107:23-32

In Jonah 2, Jonah modeled an ancient form of prayer. The Jewish people viewed and used the Psalms as a prayer book. They would pull from the language and experiences of those who had gone before them to give voice to their life with God. The psalms are helpful because as Eugene Peterson says, “every human emotion is expressed in the psalms.”

Yesterday we pulled from a few different Psalms to form a prayer. You can also use the Psalms as a jumping off place for your own prayer, letting them shape the themes of your prayer.

Let’s practice it together using Psalm 107:23-32. I’ll give you my words in between sections to model the methodology.

23 Some went out on the sea in ships;
they were merchants on the mighty waters.
24 They saw the works of the Lord,
his wonderful deeds in the deep.

Jesus, I know that the original readers viewed the sea as a place of chaos – a place of deep fear and uncertainty. They saw you work in that place. I’ve seen you work there too. Jesus help me remember a time when you came through for me amidst uncertainty.

25 For he spoke and stirred up a tempest
that lifted high the waves.
26 They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths;
in their peril their courage melted away.
27 They reeled and staggered like drunkards;
they were at their wits’ end.
28 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
and he brought them out of their distress.

Jesus, I see that it was the moment of fear and chaos that caused the people to call out to you. I’m not sure that’s often what we need. Jesus, even if there’s nothing catastrophic going on in my life today, help me see and surrender to you. If there are places in my life that I’m spiritual apathetic, help me see them. I want to wake up. I want to be changed.

29 He stilled the storm to a whisper;
the waves of the sea were hushed.
30 They were glad when it grew calm,
and he guided them to their desired haven.
31 Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind.
32 Let them exalt him in the assembly of the people
and praise him in the council of the elders.

Jesus, you have stilled some of the storms in my life. Even though there are still some storms that rage, I don’t want to lose sight of your past faithfulness. Thank you for your unfailing love. Thank you for your redemption. Thank you for your guidance.

That’s the idea behind using a Psalm as a platform for prayer. As you consider diversifying your prayer life, maybe this could be a practice you incorporate into your spiritual rhythms on a more regular basis.

By Ryan Paulson

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