Tag Archives: Bible Study

Lost In Prayer by Dr. D. Richard Ferguson

We would pray more if we enjoyed it more. But it’s hard. We get distracted and our minds wander. Lost in Prayer is more than a devotional. It’s a tool for guided prayer and meditation on God’s Word. The questions will stimulate your thoughts to enable you to think deeply about the Scriptures, and the prayer prompts will keep your conversation with God moving.” — Dr. D. Richard Ferguson (B.A., M.S.L., D.R.S.)

Lost In Prayer: Psalm 23 from Dr. Ferguson’s book –

Lost In Prayer.

PSALM 23:1-3

Prepare

3Who may ascend the hill of the LORD? Who may stand in his holy place? 4He who has clean hands and a pure heart.” (Psalm 24:3-4)

Before attempting to approach the presence of God, we must make sure we have clean hands and a pure heart. So begin today with a time of confession.

23Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. 24See if there is any offensive way in me.”
(Psalm 139:23-24)

Ask God to reveal any sins in your heart you have not confessed. Then confess them and ask God to cleanse you. Seek his forgiveness even as you forgive and release those who have sinned against you.

“Turn my heart towards your statutes.” (Psalm 119:36)

Ask God to turn and incline your heart toward what he has for you in today’s passage.

Your Deepest Desire

Earnestness is the key to answered prayer. What is the deepest, most driving desire in your heart today? Cry out to God for that.

Meditate

The 23rd psalm begins with the famous line, The LORD is my shepherd. Not everyone can say that. Jesus spoke of sheep that are not in his fold. As you read the psalm, try to answer this question: What does it mean to have a shepherd-sheep kind of relationship with God?

“The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. 2He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, 3he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. 4Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. 5You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. 6Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” (Psalm 23:1-6)

What does it mean to have God as your shepherd? The answer is summed up in the first line.

NIV: The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

CSB: The LORD is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack.

NLT: The LORD is my shepherd; I have all that I need.

Having God as your shepherd is an absolute guarantee that you will have everything you will ever need to carry out your purpose in life—everything you need to please the Lord by doing his will.

You will lack some things—most things. But you will never lack anything you need. Talk to God about that for a moment.

Of all the things we need that our Shepherd supplies, which one does he mention first?

“He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters.” (Psalm 23:2)

Quiet rest. Why do you think he starts there? Why is rest the starting point for us to glorify God?

What does it say about our relationship to our Shepherd when we are so skittish that we can’t rest?

What would it look like in your life right now for you to rest in a greater way?

The rest God provides is connected with food and drink.

“He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters.” (Psalm 23:2)

Contemplate the analogy. What benefits come to your body from food and drink?

Now consider what it means to receive those benefits in your soul.

Talk to God for a moment about what it means to receive those benefits directly from your Shepherd.

“He restores my soul.” (Psalm 23:3)

What kinds of things happen to your soul that make it empty or depleted or in some way in need of renewal?

What kinds of results would you expect when God renews your soul?

We run low on strength and become weak.
We run low on hope and get discouraged.
We run low on faith and become fearful and worried.
We run low on joy and become enamored with the world’s cheap substitutes.
We run low on love and become self-focused.
We run low on humility and develop inflated self-importance.

Everything we need in life, we tend to keep running out of. But God renews us, restores us, and enlivens us when life itself is draining away. What are some recent examples of God doing that in your life?

Express your gratitude to God for doing that.

The next benefit that comes from having God as your shepherd is guidance.

“He restores my soul. He guides me ….” (Psalm 23:3)

One of the most important signs that you have God’s favor is when he guides you. But what destination does he guide you to? Think of the last few times you prayed for guidance. What destination were you asking God to guide you to?

What is the destination God promises to guide us to in verse 3?

“He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”

Most people seek guidance into the most pleasant outcome rather than the path of righteousness. Are there any adjustments you need to make in what kind of guidance you seek from God?

Verse 3 is the first time in the psalm a reason is given for one of the benefits we receive.

“He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.”

How does God’s guidance make his name famous?

What could you do to contribute to the fame of his guidance?

Pray for Others – Your Pastor

Ask God to enable him to rest in his Shepherd and take delight in receiving spiritual food and drink and guidance.

Pray the same for anyone else the Lord has laid on your heart.

Pray for the kingdom of God to come and for his will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Thanksgiving

Delight yourself in the Lord. Think of two or three of the most wonderful blessings God has given you in the past year. Take delight in him and express your gratitude.

Take it with You

Pick one thought from this meditation that you want to carry with you. What can you use as memory cues in the upcoming day to help you bring that thought to mind at least twice more today?

Dr. D. Richard Ferguson (B.A., M.S.L., D.R.S.) at drichardferguson.com


Dr. Ferguson’s books are the fruit of 25 years of pastoral ministry and biblical counseling, formal theological training at Denver Seminary, and Trinity Theological Seminary, and a deep, lifelong passion for God’s Word.

Dr. Ferguson lives in Colorado where he and his wife Tracy planted two churches and now enjoy their three grown children and five grandchildren.

He currently hosts the Food For Your Soul podcast.