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Praying Psalm 91 for Protection and Refuge

Praying Psalm 91 for Protection and Refuge

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.”Psalm 91:1

God is sovereign and omnipotent, meaning He is all-knowing and everywhere simultaneously. These are comforting truths in a world full of pain, calamity and injustice. “Like a bird protecting its young,” the VOICE paraphrase of verse 4 reads, “God will cover you with His feathers, will protect you under His great wings; His faithfulness will form a shield around you, a rock-solid wall to protect you.” When we turn to God, we find the peaceful and powerful arm of His protection. The NIV Study Bible Notes proclaim Psalm 91 as “a glowing testimony to the security of those who trust in God.”

Prayer is powerful, and our Father in heaven hears, and answers, us. The words of Psalm 91 guide us in prayer for God’s protection and refuge from all of the things life throws at us.

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  • Why Pray Psalm 91?

    “I will say to the LORD, ‘My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’” (Psalm 91:2)

    This Psalm is one of the few placed in the Bible to mention guardian angels, God’s heavenly army which divinely protects His children under His command. “Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me;” Psalm 43:3 reads. Angels appear sporadically throughout the Bible. For example, on the night Christ was born they sang in the night sky to the shepherds in the field, and as Mary and Joseph were visited in preparation for Jesus’ earthly arrival. “God is not alone in maintaining and protecting His creation and His people,” the VOICE paraphrase notes explain, “He has made a host of heavenly messengers ready to do His bidding, and His bidding is often to guard His people throughout their lives and protect them—sometimes from dangers they are not even aware of.”

    God desires a relationship with us. Jesus came to earth to tear the temple curtain in two by his sacrifice on the cross. The long-awaited Messiah was everything God promised He would be. Through Christ, we are rescued and redeemed. We can trust the promises of God. The psalmist wrote, divinely prayed, and penned words for us to communicate to and understand God better. Our Father in heaven reaches down and divinely connects the happenings of our daily lives to His grand purpose for our being. “Whatever troubles we face today,” writes Debbie McDaniel, “God is the place of refuge we can run to, He is our safe place.”

  • father and daughter in tent

    What Does Psalm 91 Say about God's Protection and Love?

    “Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place—the Most High, who is my refuge—no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent.” (Psalm 91:9-10)

    God’s protection and love doesn’t bubble and lock out all of the complicated and harmful aspects of human life on earth. But He does offer us shelter in the midst of the storm, and a fresh perspective to see things through an eternal telescope instead of a small screen scrolling through our current circumstances. “Look!” The VOICE paraphrase of Exodus 23:20 exclaims, “I am going to send a heavenly messenger before you to protect you during your journey and lead you safely to the place I have prepared for you.” 

    God is always working, though we can’t see Him, or what lies ahead of us in the next minutes, hours, or days. Angels do His bidding, and whether we feel it or not, He blankets our lives in the protective refuge of His love. In the first two verses, the psalmist penned four names for God: the Most High, the Almighty, the LORD, and my God. “In the span of just two verses, we see the beauty of God:” Jason Soroski observes, “His ways are higher than our ways, yet we can speak to Him as a friend.” Our good God can be trusted, because of who He is. “We know that God’s plans for this world are secure,” Lianna Davis affirmed.

    Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Light Field Studios

  • woman standing in field

    What Is the Central Message of Psalm 91?

    “Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name. When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him and show him my salvation.” (Psalm 91:14-16)

    Psalm 91 proclaims security and victory for God’s people. “Some threats lie in wait for us, some sneak up insidiously; some are our own dreads, real or imaginary, some reflect hostility; some, again, we meet on life’s pathway. Life is like that,” the New Bible Commentary explains, “But simple trust brings us into a place of strong defense, the personal warmth of divine care, pledged defense and a host of heavenly guardians every step of the way.” We are protected, and safely held in the arms of God.

    Yet the world and its chaos will inevitably bump into our lives. The writer of the Psalm isn’t proclaiming we will ever be invincible as human beings on earth. But God’s power trumps the curse of sin in every way. Jesus defeated death and the choice to embrace freedom in the presence of God in ours. Psalm 91 “speaks of God’s presence, power, and protection against fear,” Heather Riggleman explains, “Fear is one emotion God doesn’t want to overtake us; because when we fear, it reveals in our hearts how we are relying on our own efforts and not trusting our Savior.” The Moody Bible Commentary explains, “Psalm 91 encourages the readers to find their refuge in God when they have not yet experienced the fulfillment of all God’s promises.”

    What do we do when the chaos of this world crashes into our reality? Do we jump on its emotionally reactive roller coaster and search for definitive answers in news reports and other people? Or, do we pause, and quietly turn our trust and temperament over to our sovereign God, who commands an army of angels on our behalf? Paul was shipwrecked, beaten and jailed. He prayed for God to remove a thorn in his life. Yet, he proclaimed in his letter to the Corinthian church what the Lord said to him: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9). We are eternally secure in the arms of our Father through the salvation we receive in Jesus Christ.

    Photo Credit: © Unsplash/JudeBeck

  • Woman praying in a field of flowers

    How to Pray Psalm 91

    “For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” (Psalm 91:11)

    This prayer is a paraphrase of the Scriptural text. As we pray this prayer today, may God lift our hearts and encourage our souls as we continue to traverse through a difficult year. No matter how hopeless our circumstances seem, let us not forget our God is the God of miracles, and Commander of angel armies.

    Father,

    Most High God, I dwell in Your shelter and abide in Your shadow. 

    You, LORD, are my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.

    You are faithful to deliver me from my enemies and heal me from illness. 

    You will cover me, and under Your wings I will find refuge; Your faithfulness will be my shield. 

    I will not fear the terror of the night, the calamity of each day, or the destruction and injustice rampant in the world. 

    Though instability rages all around me, Your peace, the peace that surpasses all understanding, will envelop and comfort me. 

    I proclaim, You are my refuge, LORD, and I make You, the Most High, the prominence of my heart. 

    No harm will over take me, no disaster will come near me, as I stand firm in Your armor. 

    You will command Your angels concerning me, to guard me in all my ways. They will lift me up in their hands to protect and guard me from stumbling and falling.

    You battle my enemies before I need to lift a finger or say a word. I vow to live my life in submission to You daily. 

    Because I love You, LORD, You promise to rescue me. You will protect me, for I acknowledge Your name. I will call on You, and You will answer me. 

    You will be with me in trouble,

    You will deliver me and honor me.

    In Christ, I witness Your salvation, and will live eternally with You, LORD my God.

    In Jesus’ Name,

    Amen. 

    Photo Credit: © Getty Images/Anastasiia Stiahailo

  • open hands holding sun in scenic sunset, prayer from Micah 6:8 to do justly, love mercy, walk humbly with God

    Conclusion

    Psalm 91 reminds us to trust in God, not the things of this world which are unreliable, and inevitably pass away. The VOICE paraphrase of Psalm 91:14-16 reads:

    “Because he clings to Me in love, I will rescue him from harm; I will set him above danger. Because he has known Me by name, He will call on Me, and I will answer. I’ll be with him through hard times; I’ll rescue him and grant him honor. I’ll reward him with many good years on this earth and let him witness My salvation.”

    God cares about each of us individually. Sometimes, we get caught up in the calamity of this world and forget the care God took in creating each of us. We all have a unique purpose, and the love of our Father in Heaven. He knows pages of our hearts better than we do. When we seek Him in Scripture as we have in Psalm 91 today, we are promised to find Him.


    This article is part of our larger Prayer resource meant to inspire and encourage your prayer life when you face uncertain times. Remember, the Holy Spirit intercedes for us and God knows your heart even if you can't find the words to pray. 

    Prayer for God's Help
    Prayer for Strength
    Prayer for Protection
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    meg bucher profile pic bioMeg, freelance writer and blogger at Sunny&80, is the author of “Friends with Everyone, Friendship within the Love of Christ,” and “Surface, Unlocking the Gift of Sensitivity,” She writes about everyday life within the love of Christ. Meg earned a Marketing/PR degree from Ashland University but stepped out of the business world to stay at home and raise her two daughters, which led her to pursue her passion to write. She has led a Bible Study for Women and serves as a Youth Ministry leader in her community. Meg, a Cleveland native and lifelong Browns fan, lives by the shore of Lake Erie in Northern Ohio with her husband, two daughters, and golden doodle.