Good Shepherd, Lead Us :: Psalm 23 Prayer


The Shepherd at Caesarea Maritime, Israel

For my Crossroads family as they mourn the death of a beloved pastor and friend.  May the Life and the Resurrection comfort you.


Scripture tells us that:

the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words. And God, who searches the heart, knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.[1]

And so we pray.

The LORD is our shepherd; we shall not want. You make us to lie down in green pastures: You lead us beside the still waters. [2]

Lord, our good Shepherd, the truth is that we are in want. Maybe the pasture looks green to you, but it tastes like dust in our mouth. The water that once was still and inviting, is now turbulent. We are in need of your living water, but it seems as though the way is too difficult. Good Shepherd we are hungry and thirsty and our souls are restless and disturbed. But…

You restore our soul: You lead us in the paths of righteousness for your name’s sake.

Faithful God, continue to restore us and lead us on this path upon which we find ourselves. Like the father whose son was almost destroyed by evil spirits, we cry out: “We believe! Help our unbelief![3]” Righteous is your name and this is the only way in which you can lead us – because this is who you are. This is true even when your righteousness can be difficult to see. You are ever faithful.

Yea, though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, we will fear no evil: for thou art with us; thy rod and thy staff they comfort us.

Jesus, may it be your Spirit that overshadows us as we walk in this valley of death. Your rod protects us as your staff guides us. Despite a darkness that sometimes leaves it difficult to see, we hold onto your promise that you would not leave us orphaned.[4]

You tell us, “Take heart, it is I; do not be afraid.”[5] And though comfort may be difficult to grasp, our hope is in you. Lord, hear our cry as we claim your promise: “Lord, to whom would we go? You have the words of eternal life.”[6]

Thou prepareth a table before us in the presence of our enemies: thou anointeth our head with oil; our cup runneth over.

The bitter cup that we drink from right now seems to be running over. Anger and confusion at what death has stolen from us creates a looming darkness. But just as the darkness cannot overcome the Light, neither can this cup of sorrow overcome your ever-flowing cup of living water. Lord, it is this cup of living water you offer to us in our baptism and the table of grace you prepare for us in the presence of our Enemy, death. May we smell the sweetness of your anointing oil even as we bear the stench of death.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our life: and we will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

Lord, our Good Shepherd, we shall not be in want. But in this time when our souls feel trampled and muddied, we give you thanks because your love knows no end. You are patient with us even as we rage and mourn. You hold us when we strike you with our fists; and you stroke our head as we lay it on your shoulder. All the time telling us, “Peace, peace.”

You call us your own and we boldly declare that in life and death, we belong to Jesus Christ. Holy Spirit continue to sigh deeply on our behalf praying the words we do not have, and fill us with the breath of resurrected life. Amen.

[1] Romans 8:26-27

[2] Psalm 23

[3] Mark 9:24

[4] John 14:18

[5] Matthew 14:27

[6] John 6:68

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