So far in this series, we have looked at two ways to pray the Bible. First, we looked at how to pray a Bible verse a few words at a time with Romans 15:13. Then, we looked at how to pray multiple Bible verses a phrase at a time with Psalm 16:8-11.
Today let’s look at a self-explanatory method of praying a whole Psalm: paraphrase. The Scripture that I will use today is Psalm 4.
Below are Psalm 4, my paraphrase, and a few tips on how to practice this method.
Answer me when I call, O God of my righteousness!
You have given me relief when I was in distress.
Be gracious to me and hear my prayer!
O men, how long shall my honor be turned into shame?
How long will you love vain words and seek after lies? Selah
But know that the Lord has set apart the godly for himself;
the Lord hears when I call to him.
Be angry, and do not sin;
ponder in your own hearts on your beds, and be silent. Selah
Offer right sacrifices,
and put your trust in the Lord.
There are many who say, “Who will show us some good?
Lift up the light of your face upon us, O Lord!”
You have put more joy in my heart
than they have when their grain and wine abound.
In peace I will both lie down and sleep;
for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.
God Hears My Prayer
You are a perfectly righteous God, so will You not answer my prayers?
When I was in turmoil before, You were the remedy.
So please show me Your grace by answering my prayer!
Why do men bring shame to me when they should bring me honor? Why do men love to speak empty words to me and lie straight to my face!
But this shouldn’t affect me, because I know that my God has set apart godly people for His plan. And as one that He has set apart, I know that He hears my prayer.
I can be angry at what others do to me, but I must do so without sinning; I have to check my true motives and not say anything that could make things worse.
I must focus on offering myself to God in a way that honors Him and I must place all of my faith in the Lord.
Many people in this world ask, “Who will do something good for our benefit?”
I know that you can, O Lord, so please make Your face to shine upon us! The joy that God has given me is greater than any abundance of material possessions on this earth.
As I go to bed this evening, I will do so in peace. This peace is not my own doing, but is from You alone. My Lord, cause me to live securely in You.
Tips on Paraphrase
1. Read the Psalm multiple times in several translations.
2. Use a Strong’s Concordance or a website like Blue Letter Bible to see the meaning of the original Hebrew.
3. Use a thesaurus to get ideas of possible synonyms.
4. Use a commentary to spot any Hebrews idioms and replace them with modern idioms that are equivalent in meaning.
5. Use a different name for God that is mentioned elsewhere in Scripture (see here for the names of God and titles of Jesus).