Learning to Pray Through the Psalms, By James W. Sire

Learning to Pray Through the Psalms

by James W. Sire

Learning to Pray Through the Psalms
  • Length: 229 pages
  • Published: December 12, 2005
  • Imprint: IVP Formatio
  • Item Code: 3332
  • ISBN: 9780830833320

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Weariness. Wonder. Joy. Longing. Anger.

These are the feelings of the Psalms: honest expressions of pain and joy penned by real people in the midst of real life circumstances. Though they were written centuries ago, the Psalms still resonate deeply with us today, giving voice to our thoughts and longings:

"Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD." (Psalm 130:1)

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble." (Psalm 46:1)

"As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God." (Psalm 84:2)

In Learning to Pray Through the Psalms, James W. Sire teaches us to take our appreciation for this rich book of Scripture a step further. Choosing ten specific psalms, Sire offers background information that helps us read each one with deeper insight and then lays out a meditative, step-by-step approach to using the psalmists' words as a guide for our own personal conversation with God. A group study is also included in each chapter, along with a guide for praying through the psalm in community.

The Lord loves when his people pray. And his Word is a powerful tool for framing honest, intimate prayers. Sire's innovative approach will enrich our minds and our souls as we read more perceptively and pray with all of our emotions.

"The country of the Psalms—its soaring mountains, cascading streams, wildflower meadows of prayers—compels exploration. Jim Sire's wide-ranging intelligence, fused with his attentive spirit, makes him a welcome guide through this country, opening our eyes and ears—our hearts!—to these prayers that teach us to pray."

Eugene H. Peterson, author of A Long Obedience in the Same Direction and translator of The Message

"At times intimate, at times pastoral, but always focused, Sire here creates a solid study of the Psalter for use in Christian devotion, be it private or corporate."

Phyllis Tickle, author of The Divine Hours


1. Becoming Right with God--Psalm 32
2. Waiting for the Lord--Psalm 130
3. Night Thoughts--Psalm 4
4. A Morning Meditation--Psalm 5
5. Thirsting for God--Psalms 42-43
6. A Plea for Deliverance from Slander--Psalm 7
7. A Blazing Song of Joy--Psalm 84
8. Praying Our Anger--Psalm 137
9. The God Who Knows Me--Psalm 139
10. Our Mighty Fortress--Psalm 46
11. Teach Us to Pray
Appendix: Guide for Small Group Leaders
Annotated Bibliography


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James W. Sire

James W. Sire (1933–2018) was a widely-respected apologist, author, and lecturer who served for more than thirty years as senior editor at InterVarsity Press. He is the author of more than twenty books, including the seminal apologetics title The Universe Next Door, which was first published in 1976 and has sold over 350,000 copies in five editions and has been translated into eighteen foreign languages. Sire's teaching and books often covered the concepts of worldview and Christian apologetics. His many books include The Universe Next Door, Apologetics Beyond Reason, Beginning with God, Scripture Twisting, Discipleship of the Mind, Chris Chrisman Goes to College, Why Should Anyone Believe Anything at All?, Habits of the Mind, Naming the Elephant, Learning to Pray Through the Psalms, Why Good Arguments Often Fail, and A Little Primer on Humble Apologetics.