A psalm of praise seeks to offer praise specifically to God. An example of this type of psalm is Psalm 145. Part of those verses read as follows:
Great is the Lord and most worthy of praise;
his greatness no one can fathom.
One generation commends your works to another;
they tell of your mighty acts.
The psalm continues to offer thanks for the nature of God; He is gracious, rich in love, and good to all.
A psalm of wisdom reflects on wisdom, the fate of the righteous and the wicked, and the Law of God. An example is Psalm 10:
In his arrogance the wicked man hunts down the weak,
who are caught in the schemes he devises.
He boasts about the cravings of his heart;
he blesses the greedy and reviles the Lord.
These psalms are typically short and expound on the common experiences of those seeking greater wisdom in a sinful world full of struggles.
The royal psalms employ royal imagery and can be prayers for the king. An example of this psalm is Psalm 2:
Therefore, you kings, be wise;
be warned, you rulers of the earth.
Serve the Lord with fear
and celebrate his rule with trembling.
Kiss his son, or he will be angry
and your way will lead to your destruction.
Typically, these psalms emphasize the message that God reigns even over earthly kings (and other rulers) and that His ways will ultimately prove victorious.
Psalms of thanksgiving are intentional celebrations of the actions of God. In this type of psalm, the speaker continually offers his thanks for the various ways the Lord has impacted his life. An example is Psalm 95:
Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
Let us come before him with thanksgiving
and extol him with music and song.
As this psalm continues, the psalmist offers thanks for belonging to God, who cares for his people like the sheep in a pasture.
Psalms of lament express a deep and painful sorrow. They typically ask for God's blessing or His intervention in the midst of incredible suffering. An example is Psalm 42:
Why must I go about mourning,
oppressed by the enemy?
My bones suffer mortal agony
as my foes taunt me,
saying to me all day long,
"Where is your God?"
As this psalm concludes, the psalmist declares that he will praise God regardless of his sense of loneliness and dejection.
One way to structure your own prayers is by including elements of adoration, contrition, thanksgiving, and supplication into your conversations with God. Prayers of adoration praise and worship God simply for being who he His. They recognize that He is ultimately divine and all-powerful and that mankind is not. Prayers of contrition express sorrow at the recognition of one's sin. This type of prayer asks that a person examine their own life and determine the ways they have fallen short of God's standards, typically in very specific ways—and then ask for God's forgiveness for these actions. Prayers of thanksgiving offer thanks to God for His blessings, which may include gifts such as health, favor, relationships, sustenance, and employment. Finally, prayers of supplication petition God for His help or intervention in some area of one's own life or in the life of another person.