How long? Why is this happening? Where are you, God? For centuries, God’s people have learned to go to God with their real questions, struggles, and everyday needs by reading and studying the Psalms. In this practical, gospel-rich small group study, authors Barbara Juliani and Patric Knaak guide participants in learning how the Psalms give us words to pray about the real struggles in our lives.
Faith in Christ brings us into a living relationship with God, which means we can go to God in every circumstance and with every reaction of our hearts. We don’t need to pretend things are good when they are not, or that we are strong when we are not. The Psalms are God’s gift to his people—his own words we can pray to strengthen our hearts and faith.
This small group guide with leader’s notes includes ten in-depth lessons that include discussion questions, a short article to read, and a practical application section that can be used for one-to-one discipleship, small group, or large group settings.
Psalms: Real Prayers for Real Life is part of The Gospel-Centered Life in the Bible series published in partnership with Serge. Each book in the series examines how the gospel story is revealed throughout both the Old and New Testaments.
Barbara Miller Juliani, MA, is an author, Bible teacher, and editor. She cowrote Come Back Barbara with her father, C. John "Jack" Miller, edited a book of his letters, The Heart of a Servant Leader and a daily devotional, Saving Grace, authored several minibooks, and is the coauthor of Psalms: Real Prayers for Real Life. She is also the Vice President and editorial director for New Growth Press where she oversees acquisitions and content. Her husband Angelo is the founding pastor of Bridge Community Church and they have four children and eleven grandchildren.
Patric Knaak, MDiv, is the Area Director for Renewal at Serge where he leads their publication, teaching, training, and mentoring ministries. An ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America, Patric has worked in curriculum development and was the pastor for spiritual formation at Naperville Presbyterian Church (IL) before joining Serge. He is the author of On Mission: Devotions for Your Short-Term Trip and coauthor of Psalms: Real Prayers for Real Life. A veteran of nearly a dozen mission trips, he's seen the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to living out grace at the fray.
“What a delightful way to immerse yourself (and your small group) in the world's greatest prayer book, the Psalms. There is absolutely nothing like the Psalms in ancient literature, for their simplicity, their honesty, and their warmth. Barbara Juliani and Patric Knaak take turns opening up a piece of their life with each psalm so you can ‘land’ the psalm in your heart. This study will bless you!”
Paul E. Miller, Author of A Praying Life and J-curve: Dying and Rising with Jesus in Everyday Life
“Barbara and Patric take us deep into the inner logic of the Psalms, showing us how the Psalms give voice to our diverse feelings and how they also bring us face-to-face with Jesus Christ himself. An immensely useful guide for groups, full of wisdom and fresh hope for our up-and-down lives.”
Dane Ortlund, Senior Pastor, Naperville Presbyterian Church; author of Gentle and Lowly and Deeper
“In this peculiarly unruly season, I need comfort and direction. This brilliant book offers the reader rich reflection in the Psalms with generous guidance and care. The probing questions often stopped me and compelled me to reread the psalm and take in what I had unwittingly avoided. I not only experienced the Psalms with greater clarity, but with far greater joy. This is a gift for any person, and particularly for every small group to grow in honesty, honor, and hope together.”
Dan B. Allender, Professor of Counseling Psychology; founding president, The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology
“We love the Psalms, and we would like to meditate on them—to be rewritten by them and pray them. But that is hard and time-consuming work. This book, somehow, is able to give you everything you need in order to do this work, and you will be able to do it with your friends.”
Edward T. Welch, Faculty and counselor, CCEF; author of A Small Book about Why We Hide
“Barbara Juliani and Patric Knaak have added a ‘ringer’ to the growing family of offerings in the Gospel-Centered Life in the Bible series by New Growth Press. Their study of select psalms opens the heart and art of this beloved book to us in a fresh and vital way. We are invited to connect personally with the stories, crises, and emotion of each psalm, while we learn to wear the lens of the gospel and reason with a heart of grace. My only regret is they didn’t include more Psalms. Perhaps we can hope for Volume II!”
Scotty Ward Smith, Pastor Emeritus, Christ Community Church, Franklin, TN; teacher-in-residence, West End Community Church, Nashville, TN
“If you are anything like me, you struggle with prayer, especially public prayer. Praying is hard, even for pastors. The difficulty of prayer was evident among the disciples of Jesus, who asked, ‘Lord, teach us to pray.’ Jesus gave them a model of prayer in the Lord’s Prayer. But the Bible gives us even more; it gives us a whole book of prayers in the Psalms. Barbara and Patric have written a helpful guide for us as we struggle to take baby steps toward our Heavenly Father in prayer.”
Wy Plummer, African American Ministries Coordinator, Mission to North American (PCA)
“When Jesus referenced the Psalms concerning himself (Luke 24:44), people often miss the gospel in those treasured pages of Scripture. Barbara and Patric have carefully selected psalms for readers and groups to be firmly established in God’s unfailing love. I appreciate how the book does not just go after a deeper understanding of the Bible, but rooting the Christian in the gospel in all areas of life.”
Robert Kim, The Philip and Rebecca Douglass Chair of Church Planting and Christian Formation, Covenant Theological Seminary
“This purposeful study invites readers on a journey to discover hidden treasures in familiar passages. As Barbara and Patric provide just the right amount of biblical context, story, and opportunities for self-reflection, they set the foundation for spirit-renewing prayer. This straightforward but comprehensive resource is a must-have for group leaders longing to gently guide members toward honest communion with God under the shadow of the cross.”
Denine Blevins, Executive Director, Parakaleo
“Nothing is more vital to our intimacy with Christ than spending time with him in his Word. But a lot of Bible studies stop short and only deal with concepts and ideas and never really speak to our hearts. That's why I'm so excited about this series. Each author writes about the unique gospel insights he or she has gained from Scripture and has created a small group study that will help people actually encounter Christ and be changed by the power of his grace. God has used this material powerfully in my life, marriage, and ministry, and that is my prayer for you as well.”
Bob Osborne, Executive Director, Serge
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