By Nathaniel Gamble — Most Christians recognize great value in praying the Psalms, but many find them difficult to understand and aren’t sure how to pray them. Thankfully, Jesus and the Holy Spirit teach us how to pray the Psalms in the letter to the Hebrews.

Hebrews 3:7-11 quotes Psalm 95:7-11 about listening to God and not hardening our hearts against his voice. This reference to Psalm 95 is used throughout Hebrews 3 and 4 to emphasize God’s desire for us to have a saving relationship with him “today,” which is why he speaks to us. Take note who Hebrews 3:7 identifies as quoting Psalm 95: “So, as the Holy Spirit says” (NIV). It’s because the Holy Spirit is speaking the words of Psalm 95 in Hebrews 3:7 that God is portrayed as praying this psalm in Hebrews 4:3 and 7.

Similarly, Hebrews 10:5-7 quotes the Greek translation of Psalm 40:6-8 about sacrifices and a person’s heart, in order to talk about Jesus’ incarnation. Hebrews 10 uses Psalm 40 to underscore the superiority of Jesus’ sacrificial death over animal sacrifices for sin. But notice who Hebrews 10:5 highlights as speaking Psalm 40: “Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said” (NIV). It’s because of the incarnation, which Jesus speaks about when reciting Psalm 40 in Hebrews 10:5-7, that we experience the fruits of his high priestly ministry (referenced previously in Hebrews 9).

Jesus and the Holy Spirit pray the Psalms in Hebrews, and the result of their prayers is our salvation. The best way to pray the Psalms, therefore, is to pray them with Jesus and the Holy Spirit. When you realize that the Holy Spirit and Jesus have already been praying the Psalms before you joined them, your prayer life – and reading of the Psalms – will come alive to you.

Nathaniel Gamble is pastor of Fort Lupton Seventh-day Adventist Church and Aspen Park Seventh-day Adventist Church.