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13 Encouraging Psalms to Pray for God's Protection

13 Encouraging Psalms to Pray for God's Protection

When times are tough, personally or globally, where can we turn? Especially when things seem out of our control, and we don’t know whether we’ll be safe—or even maybe if we’ll see tomorrow—it’s good to know there is only One who has control over everything.

Luckily, that One, God, did not leave us alone. We can find His words to us in the Bible. One of the best places to turn when we seek protection is to the Psalms.

What Are the Psalms in the Bible?

The psalms are a collection of poems, or songs. The book was originally titled “Tehillim,” which means “praise songs” in Hebrew. Our modern word “Psalms” comes from the Greek “Psalmoi,” also meaning “songs of praise.”

Each of the psalms is an individual song or poem, much like a hymn. They were written by multiple authors, including Moses, Solomon, and David. These were used to worship God in the tabernacle and temple, with different kinds of psalms for all different situations. There are 150 psalms in the Bible.

Let’s look at why we turn to Scripture for protection, and 13 selected Psalms for protection to encourage you.

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  • Good Reason to Turn to the Psalms for Protection

    Good Reason to Turn to the Psalms for Protection

    The psalms are prayers to God. Often, it can be difficult to express what we’re feeling or thinking to God. However, the psalms are there to guide us.

    This doesn’t mean we have to follow the psalms exactly, but it can be comforting to know that others have felt the same way for thousands of years, and they can help us pray and put our thoughts and concerns into words.

    What the Bible Says about the Power of Scripture

    The Scriptures are special among writings, having been inspired by God. 

    Hebrews 4:12 says, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

    God’s Word is alive. The Holy Spirit uses it to teach us, shape us, and speak to us. 2 Timothy 3:16 says that all Scripture is “God-breathed” (NIV) or “breathed out by God” (ESV). 

    When we are seeking God, the best place to go is straight to His Word.

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  • Examples of Protection God Provides

    Examples of Protection God Provides

    When we think of “protection,” most of us probably think of protection from physical harm. There are plenty of verses in the Bible about God offering physical protection.

    However, this is not always the case. It is not always God’s will to shield us from all bodily harm. Eleven out of the twelve disciples, after all, met gruesome ends as martyrs. 

    Though God does offer physical protection (for example Paul and Luke’s survival of the shipwreck in Acts 27), and it is not wrong to ask for this, there are other kinds of protection that are even more important.

    When we put our faith in Christ as Lord and Savior, we receive God’s salvation, and the protection of our souls. We belong to Him. Though the Lord cares about our physical wellbeing (see Matthew 6:26-30), He is even more concerned with our eternal souls. 

    Thus, when we ask for God’s protection, we may be asking for protection from the schemes of the enemy, for protection of our hearts and minds, and for strength to persevere in the faith.

    As we read the psalms, it’s important to realize that we can pray not only for physical protection, but for spiritual protection as well.

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  • 10 Psalms to Remind You of God’s Protection

    10 Psalms to Remind You of God’s Protection

    1. Psalm 18:2-3

    The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and I have been saved from my enemies.

    Here, it is notable that though in the context of the verse, the enemies are human, this can just as well refer to the enemies of the soul, be they sin or forces of evil. The Lord is like a rock, strong, steady, and unyielding.

    He is like a fortress, something much larger than those who take refuge within. He is a shield against the fiery arrows of the enemy (Ephesians 6:16), and a “horn” in Hebrew poetry symbolizes strength. God is our strength.

    2. Psalm 18:16-19

    He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He rescued me from my powerful enemy, from my foes, who were too strong for me. They confronted me in the day of my disaster, but the Lord was my support. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.

    Note here why the Lord rescued the psalmist: “because he delighted in me.” The Lord delights in us and rescues us through His great love. Not only is He powerful, but He is loving.

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  • More Psalms to Remind You of God’s Protection

    More Psalms to Remind You of God’s Protection

    3. Psalm 23:1-4

    The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.

    Sheep are rather unintelligent creatures, and they don’t exactly have teeth or claws to defend themselves. Thus, in ancient Israel, sheep’s survival was dependent on the goodness and care of the shepherd to find food and water and be protected from danger.

    David, when writing this psalm, was no doubt thinking of his own time as a shepherd. Unlike David, who may have made mistakes, God is the perfect shepherd, perfectly caring for our needs.

    4. Psalm 40:1-3

    I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.

    In this psalm, the psalmist had to wait for the Lord; deliverance did not come immediately. However, the image of the Lord rescuing the psalmist from mire—uncertain, uneven footing—and placing him on the solid footing of a rock gives us insight into what it looks like when we turn from relying on the world or our own power to relying on God and His Word.

    The psalmist also claims, “Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him” (Psalm 40:3). He recognizes that through his struggle, the glory of God is shown to others.

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  • More Psalms to Remind You of God’s Protection

    More Psalms to Remind You of God’s Protection

    5. Psalm 46:1-2

    God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear.

    Sometimes it may feel like God is distant, but this psalm makes clear that God is always present.

    6. Psalm 55:16-17

    As for me, I call to God, and the Lord saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and he hears my voice.

    No matter how often we cry out to the Lord, even morning, noon, and night, He is still there.

    7. Psalm 91:4

    He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

    We’ve discussed God as a shield and as a fortress—a rampart is part of a fortress—but this image of covering us with his feathers, like a mother hen with her chicks, reminds us of God’s tender love.

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  • More Psalms to Remind You of God’s Protection

    More Psalms to Remind You of God’s Protection

    8. Psalm 116:3-9

    The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came over me; I was overcome by distress and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the Lord: ‘Lord, save me!’ The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The Lord protects the unwary; when I was brought low, he saved me. Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you. For you, Lord, have delivered me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling, that I may walk before the Lord in the land of the living.

    Sometimes when we’re afraid, it’s helpful to remember all the times the Lord has saved us in the past. In this passage, the psalmist reminds himself, “Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.”

    9. Psalm 121:1-8

    I lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip—he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.

    Not only can it be helpful to remember when the Lord has protected us in the past, but also to remember who He is. He is the maker of heaven and earth, an infinite being with no need of sleep. If He loves us, what have we to fear?

    10. Psalm 138:3, Psalm 138:7

    When I called, you answered me; you greatly emboldened me…Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life. You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes; with your right hand you save me.

    When we call, He answers. Even when trouble surrounds us and there seems to be no way out, He is capable of keeping us safe. When Daniel was in the lions’ den (Daniel 6) and when Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were tossed into the blazing furnace (Daniel 3), the Lord preserved their lives.

    The Lord is capable of great and mighty miracles, and we should not be afraid to pray boldly (James 1:6).

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  • book of psalms on white background

    3 Psalms that Ask for God’s Protection

    When we have trouble putting our petitions into words, the psalms can help us.

    1. Psalm 16:1

    Keep me safe, my God, for in you I take refuge.

    2. Psalm 25:20-21

    Guard my life and rescue me; do not let me be put to shame, for I take refuge in you. May integrity and uprightness protect me, because my hope, Lord, is in you.

    3. Psalm 31:1-5

    In you, Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness. Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me. Keep me free from the trap that is set for me, for you are my refuge. Into your hands I commit my spirit; deliver me, Lord, my faithful God.

    In these psalms, and many more like them, the psalmist asks for God’s protection not because of his own goodness or merit, but “for the sake of your name” (Psalm 31:3) and “in [His] righteousness” (Psalm 31:1). The Lord protects us not because we deserve it, but because of who He is—a good, powerful, and loving God.

    When we pray for protection, we must put our trust in God, not in our situation. No matter how dark things may seem, we must remember that God is indeed in control and has a plan greater than we could fathom.

    Further Reading:
    Psalms about Protection

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    Alyssa Roat studied writing, theology, and the Bible at Taylor University. She is a literary agent at C.Y.L.E., the publicity manager at Mountain Brook Ink, and a freelance editor with Sherpa Editing Services. She is the co-author of Dear Hero and has 200+ bylines in publications ranging from The Christian Communicator to Keys for Kids. Find out more about her here and on social media @alyssawrote.