Praying the Psalms – Vermigili, Psalm 23

Here is the most familiar psalm to many in the church and outside the church. Psalm 23 continues to be a comfort to God’s people and a treasure store from which artists, poets, preachers and teachers continue to draw upon. I can recall several difficult days when Psalm 23 was a like a blanket of consolation to me – at the death of my father, my grandmother’s promotion to glory, during days of recuperation from major surgery and so many more trials.


This post is 4th in a series of 6. The first post on Psalm 1 provides links to the other posts on Psalm 2 and Psalm 8. These posts all refer to Sacred Prayers as our aide in this theme of praying the Psalms.


Psalm 23 like the Lord’s Prayer is one that we like to memorize. We like to sing it. We like to recite it during congregational worship. I often repeat its lines at night when the events and thoughts of the day drift toward the land of nod. Today we contemplate a few excerpts from Peter Vermigli’s prayers on Psalm 23. These come from his rich collection of meditations and prayers in his book, Sacred Prayers Drawn from the Psalms of David.


All who have you for their shepherd, O almighty God, spend their lives in great happiness like those who are provided with the food of heavenly doctrine and with the fertile irrigation of the Holy Spirit. They are restored and given heart whenever they have been hard pressed by the vicissitudes of this world or worn down by the blows of persecution…

Do not allow us to wander away from you into the byways and ravines of this world…

Now we need you to strengthen us and console us with the rod and crook of your authority. If only you wish it, you can refresh us with enlightenment from the banquet of your teaching and sacraments and give us to drink deeply from the chalice of your Spirit and grace, even while the enemies of your name look on.

We beg that we may always remain in the embrace of your kindness and paternal care, which are wont to have for your own people, so that they may be allowed to persevere in the Church which is your house and in the faith and glory of the Gospel…

…by the merits and favor of our Lord Jesus Christ who lives and reigns with your forever.


source: Peter Martyr Vermigli, Sacred Prayers Drawn from the Psalms of David, translated by John Patrick Donnelly, page 24.


note: Sacred Prayers is volume 3 of the Peter Martyr Library available from the Davenant Institute online book store.


image: ‘The Lord is My Shepherd,’ oil painting by Eastman Johnson, 1863.