Are you a woman who leads? Maybe you don’t see yourself as a leader, but God has you leading someone right where you are. Maybe it’s your kids, your friends, or the teenager next door. Maybe it’s a Women’s Ministry, a team at work, or a small group. This series—led by our women’s ministry specialist Kelly King—will help you no matter where you lead, and whether you’re leading one or one thousand.
When crisis hits, when loss is painful, or when life is joyful, there is one section of Scripture that always seems appropriate—wisdom and poetry. If you’re like me, when I’m feeling unsure about how to pray or what to pray, I generally open my Bible to Psalms and find comfort—or at least Scripture that resonates with what I want to say to God. The poetry of the Bible reminds me that God is ever faithful and available. While some may think that the psalms were for the particular people who wrote them, they are also an invitation to participate in the relationship that was described by the psalmists. For Israel, the psalms were a reminder that God’s relationship wasn’t just with them as a nation, but as individuals that could take part in a personal relationship with the Creator.
That purpose still holds true today. The wisdom and poetry books of Scripture are an invitation to express your feelings, whether they are praise or a lament. As a leader, the poetry and wisdom books of Scripture (from Job through Song of Solomon), should be a regular part of your devotional diet. Not only do they help us relate to others, but they also help us relate to our Creator. When you read the Psalms, you see the psalmists processing life circumstances and the characteristics of God, creating songs we can sing back and pray to Him. When you read the Proverbs, you are given instruction in your horizontal relationships with others. But, the psalms are often described as Scripture that enriches our vertical relationship—we pray towards heaven and He reaches down through His Word.
If you’re a ministry leader and looking for ways to improve your vertical relationship with God, let me suggest five ways to incorporate this portion of Scripture in your spiritual journey.
- Praying through the Psalms. A few years ago, I was challenged to pray through a psalm each day. To do this, I pick one of five chapters in Psalms depending on the calendar date. For example, on the first of the month, I choose Psalm 1, 31, 61, 91, or 121. I simply add 30 (because there are normally 30 days in each month) and choose one that I want to pray through. If the day lands on the 31st, I go to Psalm 119, the longest Psalm, and choose a portion to pray through. As I read through each verse, I pray it back to the Lord with personal requests, praise, and thanksgiving. This daily practice has transformed not only my personal devotional life, but also my prayer life. If you would like to learn more about praying through Psalms, I would suggest Praying the Bible by Donald Whitney and Redeemed by Angela Thomas-Pharr.
- Read a devotional book that focuses on Psalms and Proverbs and make it part of your morning routine. Dr. Dorothy Patterson and Dr. Rhonda Kelley have compiled a devotional for women based on Scripture from these two wisdom books. If you would like to purchase a copy for your personal enrichment, check it out here.
- Make it a habit to continually read through Psalms and Proverbs each month. Read one chapter from Proverbs and five chapters from Psalms each day, and you will develop a habit of reading through these books each month.
- Consider doing a Bible study based on wisdom books. Lifeway has a new study coming this summer from Lisa Harper on the Book of Job. Watch for its release in July. Another favorite is Beth Moore’s study Stepping Up, which focuses on the journey of the Psalms of Ascent: Psalms 120-134. Click here for details.
- Find praise and worship songs based on Psalms and sing along to the words of Scripture as you have your devotional time, in the car or as you go about your day. Singing Scripture back to the Lord is not just a great way to develop your vertical relationship with God, but it’s also a great way to memorize God’s Word.
Finally, consider that Jesus spoke from the psalms as He endured the cross. The psalms aren’t just about us, but they are also about the gospel. As you read through Psalm 22, consider that Jesus said verse one aloud as He endured the suffering of the cross. Psalm 22 is the most descriptive chapter in the Bible of the crucifixion. Jesus also spoke the words of Psalm 31:5 when He said, “Into your hand I entrust my spirit.” Knowing Christ spoke the words of the psalmist during His worst hour convinces me as a leader that I must speak these words back to Him every day.
Kelly King is the Women’s Ministry Specialist for Lifeway Women. She and her husband, Vic, have been married for more than 28 years and have enjoyed serving together in ministry both teaching in student ministry for 25 years and teaching young married adults. They have two young adult children, Conner and Courtney, and a son-in-law, Gaige. They enjoy kayaking, having people in their home, and cheering for the Oklahoma City Thunder. A good day includes mocha lattes, Mexican food, and shopping for bargains.