Dr. Todd B. Jones, pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Nashville, Tennessee, has memorized thirteen psalms for pastoral care.
At the end of each pastoral visit, he offers a psalm and a prayer. What is more healing and hopeful than the praise of God?
Here are the psalms, by number and opening lines:
Psalm 1: Blessed is the man
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked.
Psalm 8: O LORD, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!
Psalm 23: The LORD is my shepherd;
I shall not want.
Psalm 24: The earth is the LORD's
and the fullness thereof.
Psalm 27: The LORD is my light and my salvation;
whom shall I fear?
Psalm 46: God is our refuge and our strength,
a very present help in trouble.
Psalm 90: Lord, you have been our dwelling place
in all generations.
Psalm 91: He who dwells in the shelter
of the Most High.
Psalm 100: Make a joyful noise to the LORD,
all the earth!
Psalm 121: I lift up my eyes to the hills.
From where does my help come?
Psalm 130: Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD!
O Lord, hear my voice!
Psalm 139: O LORD, you have searched me
and known me!
Psalm 150: Praise the LORD!
Praise God in his sanctuary.
Augustine and Calvin, among countless others, have taught us by their example to pray the Psalms.
Memorizing and sharing these not only improves pastoral care and visitation but also enriches the soul of the pastor as the Psalms become the source and substance of our prayer lives.