Borrowed Prayers

Kristen Deede Johnson

READ : 1 Chronicles 16:7-36

Save us, O God of our salvation . . . that we may give thanks to your holy name, and glory in your praise. (v. 35)

Can you think of a time when you were so full of joy and gratitude that you couldn’t keep it inside? When I feel this kind of exuberant thanksgiving, I find myself wishing I was a poet like King David, so that I could express my gratitude as beautifully as he did.

Today we read one of David’s songs of thanksgiving that helped the Israelites celebrate the arrival of the ark of the covenant in Jerusalem. The ark was carried to Jerusalem to the accompaniment of many instruments (15:28). David was so full of joy that he leapt and danced through the streets (15:29). Then David appointed people to express in song the gratitude they were feeling. Afterwards, all the people shouted “Amen!” (16:36).

Because I don’t have David’s gift for words, I’ve started using his psalms as my own prayers. I’m not the first to do this—Jews often pray the psalms, as did Jesus himself, and Christians continue to use the psalms to express to God what they cannot say themselves. After I pray a psalm I add my own resounding “Amen!” just as the Israelites did many centuries ago.


Lord, we thank you for the gift of Scripture, that through it we can offer you prayers and thanksgiving.