Praying the Psalms of Ascent

The Psalms are likely my favorite book of the Bible. We see the humanity of David, the battles, the worship…a man after God’s own heart. They are my favorite Psalms to pray, my favorite Words of comfort, the encouragement and conviction my heart needs as I start each day.

“The Psalter is the prayer book of Jesus Christ in the truest sense of the word. He prayed the Psalter and now it has become his prayer for all time…we understand how the Psalter can be prayer to God and yet God’s own Word, precisely because here we encounter the praying Christ…because those who pray the psalms are joining in with the prayer of Jesus Christ, their prayer reaches the ears of God. Christ has become their intercessor…”― Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The Psalms are some of the most beloved and well known words of the Bible. The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want. He is near to the brokenhearted. Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet. Create in me a clean heart.

But the Psalms of Ascent are certain Psalms, chapters 120-134, and they are known as the Pilgrim songs. These Psalms remind us that we are on a journey. We are not home yet.

I don’t know about you, but I need that reminder!

Praying the Psalms of Ascent

“The more deeply we grow into the psalms and the more often we pray them as our own, the more simple and rich will our prayer become.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Here is a free printable PDF calendar for you to use as you go through the Psalms of Ascent. I have put just a few words to spark your prayers under each Psalm.

How do you pray the Scriptures? Read it, speak it, let the words of the Psalmist become your own prayers.

To receive a FREE guide book for Praying the Scriptures, subscribe here.

(I am doing this prayer calendar along with the She Reads Truth study for May of 2017, but you can use this calendar ANY time you’d like to spend a few weeks reading and praying through the Psalms of Ascent.)

Praying the Psalms of Ascent PDF

Praying the Psalms

“The Psalms wrap nouns and verbs around our pain better than any other book.” Joni Eareckson Tada

Learn to pray the Psalms with this 30 day how-to guide along with a Psalm to pray each day!

Why A Journaling Bible?

When Journaling Bibles first came out, I was pretty immediately smitten, though I didn’t purchase one for many months. I’m always a little nervous to get a new Bible, which may sound kind of weird.  I get pretty attached to the current Bible I’m using. I love taking notes, underlining, high lighting, putting dates and little notes in the margins. I have Bibles that I’ve used for years with so many notes in it that it becomes like an old friend. I am not always eager to replace them!

However, in recent years, I had been through 4 or 5 Bibles that kept tearing on me. I was ready to get a new Bible with a quality cover on it that wasn’t going to tear or have pages start falling out.

So, I started looking into the journaling Bibles with the leather covers on them. 2 Christmases ago this was my Christmas gift to myself!

And, oh, how I love my Bible! Do I worship my Bible? No. But I worship the God whose words are contained and through it I come to know and love Him even more. He transforms me through the pages of His Word. He allows me to know Him more through His very words. So, yes, His Word is very precious to me. Through His Word we can behold our God, we can know the God of the universe.

Now that Journaling Bibles have been around for awhile, there are so many options! So, I wanted to show some pictures of my Bible as well as some other lovely options!

WHY a journaling Bible?

If you already have a Bible that you LOVE, getting a journaling Bible may seem unnecessary…and I say stick with the Bible that you already love! But, if you’re trying to decide on a new Bible, I want to just share with you the reasons I love my journaling Bible!

3 Reasons I Love My Journaling Bible

Wide Marins — My very favorite thing about journaling Bibles is the wide margins. For many years I’ve been one to write little notes in my Bibles. Usually only a few words will fit. I will mark a phrase or verse that a pastor shares in a sermon or maybe a few words of a prayer for my family.

But, with a journaling Bible, you have wide, lovely margins with which you can write entire sentences! Even paragraphs!

Prayer Journal + Bible — because of the wide margins, you can have more room to write in prayers, answered prayers, the date you prayed something and prayers for your family members. I love this idea so much I wrote a whole post on using your journaling Bible as a prayer journal! 

Artwork — or not! You do NOT have to be artistic to use a journaling Bible. But if you DO want to add color, illustrations or even just washi tape, you can add your own unique touch without covering the words! If you need help in the artistic department, Dayspring has these adorable KITS that have short devotionals and all the supplies you need to create beautiful pages! (A few are on sale at the time of this post!)

I would love to hear from YOU! Do you have a journaling Bible? What do you love about it? 

More Encouragement

10 Ways to Fall In Love with Your Bible

5 Tips for a Meaningful Quiet Time

7 Different Bible Study Methods

10 Ways to Fall In Love with Your Bible

“We become what we behold.” — unknown

This has been my mantra for 2017. What do you spend your time beholding? Where are your eyes fixed? What is your heart full of?

Are we beholding the things of this world or are we beholding God and His Word? Are we so fixed upon our circumstances that we miss God at work?

God’s Word tells us to think about things lovely, true, noble and right. “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:8-9

How do we go about this?

I believe we fix our eyes on Jesus, we know Him more, we BEHOLD Him through the pages of His Word. 

This isn’t a religious rule or obligation. This is about a relationship. 

When we spend time in God’s Word, we can’t help but know God more.

But, maybe God’s Word is a mystery for you. Maybe you feel guilty when you don’t spend time in reading and studying His Word. Maybe you haven’t figure out a way to study that brings you joy. Maybe you’re picking up a book and forgetting Who the author is.

10 Ways to Fall in Love with Your Bible

So, I want to share some of my favorite tips & suggestions for helping you to LOVE spending time in God’s Word!

We behold God through the pages of His Word. Do you want to know God more? Read the Bible. Remember, this isn’t like reading other books. This isn’t a textbook. This is about knowing God and being known. This is about never growing old of the Greatest Love Story of all time.

Say good-bye to excuses. We are not focusing on “doing it right.” We are focusing on God and knowing Him more. We are not focusing on guilt or how many days we’ve missed in our reading plan. We are fixing our eyes on JESUS, the author and perfecter of our faith.

Start with prayer. Don’t leave God out of your quiet time. I know that sounds crazy, but invite Him in. Start with Him. Ask the Holy Spirit to speak to you, to convict you, to encourage you, to help you. I believe this is a prayer He loves to answer.

Grab a cup of coffee or tea, a cozy blanket and find your favorite chair. We are women, we enjoy comfort. I like to think of my comfy chair as a big hug from God every morning. Use a favorite mug and have a hot cup of something delicious.

Try out different methods of Bible Study! You can learn about 7 Simple Methods of Bible Study here! I *know* that one or more of these will appeal to you and truly help you to love studying the Bible! Methods such as: word study, apple method, verse mapping, and more!

Pray through the Bible. This is my favorite method of prayer, but it’s also my favorite way to read God’s Word. Praying the Scriptures has changed my prayer life. Don’t make it hard. Read a passage, what jumps out at you? Ask God to do that in your life. Read the words aloud to God. They are HIS Words, of course they are right and good words to pray! You will receive a Simple Guide to Praying the Scriptures when you subscribe to my blog. Or check out Praying the Psalms or 40 Verses to Pray in the Waiting. I also have free monthly praying the Scriptures calendars!

Consider the gift of God’s Word. I have spent time in a country where the Bible is not allowed. I have witnessed with my own eyes precious saints of God hiding a few PAGES of God’s Word so that they would have SOMETHING. When we consider what an immense TREASURE the Word of God is, we can’t help but want to read more and more of it!

Join a ladies Bible study group! It is important to have time that you spend with God on your own, but it is also important to not neglect the fellowship with other believers. This is one of my favorite ways to study God’s Word! Iron sharpens iron! If you aren’t in a local church that offers weekly Bible study times, get a few friends together and go through a book together as friends! You can even choose one that has videos so no one has to feel called to teach during your time together.

Write the Word. One thing that I started doing last year was writing out the Word of God as I read and pray through it! Why do we write things down? We write down things that are important to us, things we want to remember. So, why not write down God’s Word? I have a video telling a little more about this and a page full of FREE resources for writing various books of the Bible here.

Try something new! Maybe your Bible reading just needs a little spark of color or creativity. None of this is necessary, mind you.  But God is the most creative Being possible. So I happen to think He loves the trend in Bible Journaling. Try a Bible Journaling Kit from Dayspring. Watch a few videos and try something new! Step out of your comfort zone.

Bonus Tip!

Read the brand new book 10 Ways to Fall in Love with Your Bible by Shanna Noel. I was SO blessed to get an early copy of this book and I LOVE it. I finished the book in just a few short days! Y’all know how much I love God’s Word. Sharing resources with you all to help you love the Bible is one of my passions. So I was VERY excited to read this book. It’s fabulous.

I shared with you 10 of my favorite ways to LOVE the Word of God, but Shanna shares her ideas for helping you to fallen love with God’s Word in this brand new book! I”m so excited for you all to read this!

 

A Heart That Receives

What does it mean to receive? To have a heart that willingly opens  in surrender to receive what the Lord has for us?

It’s easy to receive certain things in life: the new home we just moved into, the pay raise, the promotion, the kind words, the upgrades.

But, what about when the gift is not to easy to receive? Can we still have a heart surrendered to the Lord to receive His gifts of loss, of grief, of confusion, of conflict, of broken relationships?

In the new devotional kit from Dayspring & Illustrated Faith, we learn about various Bible characters and how they received what the Lord had for them. Bible heroes such as Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Nehemiah, Peter and even Jesus, with 14 in total.

In Joshua we see God commanding Joshua to be strong and courageous 4 times in the first 18 verses alone. When we see things repeated in Scripture we know they are important!

But, before you get discouraged and think that God must have forgotten to give you strength, take heart! God’s Word is full of encouragement telling us that GOD gives us strength. We don’t have to depend on our own strength!

“But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:31

When we wait on the Lord, when we abide in Him, HE will renew our strength!! Let’s wait on Him and trust Him to do it!

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

In our weakness HE is strong.

Let us REST in HIS STRENGTH today, friends. This is easier said than done, yes, however, it gives me great freedom do know that I don’t have to do this on my own! I wasn’t created to, I am not called to. He is giving me His strength as I wait upon Him.

A Heart That Receives Devotional Kit

Kit Includes:

  • 1 plastic pouch
  • 1 devotional booklet
  • 1 clear stamp collection
  • 1 roll of washi tape
  • 1 sheet of cut-out paper pieces
  • 2 cardstock sticker sheets
  • 3 tip-ins
  • 1 magnet
  • 1 thank you card from Shanna

5 Suggestions for a Meaningful Quiet Time

To know God we must spend time with Him and in His Word. Yet this can be challenging this day and age. We have pulling at us from a million different directions. It can be hard to know WHERE to start or HOW to start or how to stop all the distractions.

I think we must start by asking the Holy Spirit to help us in our time of need. We must make our relationship with God a priority. We must say to our hearts, “This is the most important thing I can be doing now. More important than the dishes or making the bed.” This is vital. 

“The Word of God I think of as a straight edge, which shows up our own crookedness. We can’t really tell how crooked our thinking is until we line it up with the straight edge of Scripture.” Elisabeth Elliot 

So, we must be in God’s Word to know God, but also to allow the Holy Spirit to convict and comfort us through the power of His Word.

Shut off the distractions. At least the ones you can control. {wink}

Put the phone somewhere else not nearby. Turn off the tv. Maybe do a quick “brain dump” list before starting so you aren’t tempted to worry about what is for dinner. Write a quick to-do list of all that is on your mind and get it on paper. And feel no guilt if little ones are playing at your feet or crawling on your lap. There will be days of quiet in your future. But for now, it’s ok for children to see or hear you pray, for them to see you open God’s Word even if you only get but a minute to read.

Start with gratitude. Just begin naming your blessings…”Thank You God for…”

Naming our blessings reminds our hearts of our true joy and contentment and that it can only come from Christ. We are also reminded of how blessed we are. It is good for us to tell our hearts we are thankful. It is good for us to remind our hearts of the faithfulness of God.

Say a simple prayer, “Lord, I want to see You, I want to know You, I want to behold You.”

Sometimes we get worried or nervous that we aren’t praying right. Or that we don’t know what to say. Or that we aren’t eloquent enough. God sees our hearts and knows us intimately. He already knows what is on your mind, so just tell Him. Tell Him you want to know Him more. That is a prayer He loves to answer.

Don’t rush. Sit and wait. Be ok with silence.

In our culture today we are so used to the noise that we often have a hard time in the quiet. Yet, in the quiet, when we can still our hearts and minds, we can hear the still, small voice of our Lord. We can allow Him to minister to us in the quiet. Slow down. Sit with God awhile.

“The devil has made it his business to monopolize on three elements: noise, hurry, crowds. He will not allow quietness.” Elisabeth Elliot 

Read 1 Psalm a day.

If you aren’t in a Bible reading plan, I highly recommend reading and praying through 1 Psalm per day. The book of Psalms is the place where my heart first learned to pray the Scriptures. Through this book the Lord worked miracles in my own heart during a very dark season in my life.

What times would you add to this list? I would love to hear from you in the comments! 

Bonus Tip

If you aren’t sure where to start in studying God’s Word, I have a wonderful resource to share with you.

Learn 7 different ways to study your Bible in 7 days (or longer if you wish to spread out the content!) These 7 ways are do-able by anyone!

Bible Study Methods contains video content for each of the 7 methods as well as workbook pages to correlate with each method. Arabah Joy does a great job of walking you through each of the 7 methods and I know many of you will be so blessed by this resource!

You can read more about this course here. It is at an introductory price of $29 this week.

I also did a live video showcasing what is in this course, you can view that here

Free Ebook on Praying the Psalms

Through 3/26 you can get my ebook, Praying the Psalms, for FREE when you purchase Bible Study Methods through my link!

Please email me at candace@mercyisnew.com to request your free ebook!