Devotional for

Talk to God, Not Just About Him

John Piper

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me. (Psalm 23:4)

The form of this psalm is instructive.

In the first three verses David refers to God as “he”:

The Lord is my shepherd . . .
he makes me lie down . . .
he leads me . . .
he restores my soul.

Then in verses 4 and 5 David refers to God as “you”:

I will not fear, for you are with me;
your rod and staff comfort me;
you prepare a table before me;
you anoint my head with oil.

Then in verse 6 he switches back to the third person:

I shall dwell in the house of the Lord.

The lesson I have learned from this form is that it is good not to talk very long about God without talking to God.

Every Christian is at least an amateur theologian — that is, a person who tries to understand the character and ways of God and then put that into words. If we aren't little theologians, then we won’t ever say anything to each other about God and will be of very little real help to each other’s faith.

But what I have learned from David in Psalm 23 and other psalms is that I should interweave my theology with prayer. I should frequently interrupt my talking about God by talking to God.

Not far behind the theological sentence, “God is generous,” should come the prayerful sentence, “Thank you, God.”

On the heels of, “God is glorious,” should come, “I adore your glory.”

What I have come to see is that this is the way it must be if we are feeling God’s reality in our hearts as well as describing it with our heads.

From “Restful Words for Labor Day”