Last Updated on October 16, 2023 by Sarah McCubbin
There are FIVE names of God in Psalm 91.This is key to understanding the power behind this Psalm and the protection it offers for us today. Psalm 91 is a secret key to helping believers know and trust God no matter what is happening around them.
Psalm 91 is often called the miracle prayer or the most powerful Christian prayer because it is filled with God’s promises of protection for children of God. Choosing to live under the promises of God, we can be in a place of safety from every bad thing. I have spent more than 12 years meditating on the verses of Psalm 91 and can easily say this passage of Scripture has changed my life more than any other. Through it I have come to trust God as a Father and to have a deep understanding of what it means to dwell in the most Holy Place with the Holy Spirit.
In 2002, my husband and I were expecting our first child. We knew absolutely nothing about being parents, but we were so excited. And of course WE were going to do this right. Logically, good parenting starts with a good name. Our evening conversation would be interspersed with possible names for this new little one.
Should we pick one that reflected my husband’s Scottish heritage or should we pick a Biblical name? Maybe it could be both. Family members joined in the fun suggesting all kinds of ideas as well. This baby would be the first grandchild on both sides, so expectations were high…at least I felt like they were. I didn’t want to mess up this name.
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Part of every great brainstorming session involved us bent over a computer scrolling through names and their meanings or flipping through a tattered copy of “Baby Names.” Names were discarded for having strange meanings like “dark warrior” or meanings that read more like a map “from the Oak Valley.” Slowly a list of “possible” names started to emerge.
It narrowed further when we found out it would be a boy! Finally, we chose the name “Ian.” It was derived from the name John (Biblical) and was Scottish in origin. But more importantly to me, it means, “God is gracious.” I had had a miscarriage prior to this pregnancy which was such a dark time of loss and questioning. So in this season of new life, this name captured so many things: dreams for our son, our deep appreciation for this blessing and a growing understanding of the character of God. This NAME carried meaning and expectation and that was why we chose it.
Many years later, I was introduced to Psalm 91. It was a game changer for me when I learned that as a child of God, I did not need to struggle with fear.
You can read my story here: Terrified at Night: My Psalm 91 Story
It was a pivot point that changed my life forever. As I read, I loved the protective imagery and strong language…abide, dwell, refuge, fortress, but my eyes mostly slid past the different names God. After all, most English translations don’t really make a distinction between the names. It is hard to tell if they mean the same thing or not…Most High, Almighty, Lord…God. You get the picture…they sound grand and big…and they are all names of God.
Table of Contents
Psalm 91 (KJV Version)
1 He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
2 I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust.
3 Surely he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the (deadly pestilence) noisome pestilence.
4 He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
5 Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror of night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day;
6 Nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday.
7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee.
8 Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked.
9 Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the most High, thy habitation;
10 There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling place
11 For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways.
12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.
13 Thou shalt tread upon the (great) lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.
14 Because he hath set his love upon me, therefore will I deliver him: I will set him on high, because he hath known my name.
15 He shall call upon me, and I will answer him: I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him, and honour him.
16 With long life will I satisfy him, and shew him my salvation.
The Importance of Name Identity
At some point I was listening to teaching on Psalm 91 by Joseph Prince and he was specifically teaching about the names of God found in Psalm 91 and their significance. What? The names? Dig out the Strongs Concordance…what is he talking about? Here is what I found. Read the first 2 verses with me:
Psalm 91:1-2 in NASB says:
1He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High (“Elyon”)
Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. (“Shadday”)
2 I will say to the Lord(“Jehovah”), “My refuge and my fortress,
My God (“Elohim”), in whom I trust!”
In those 2 verses there were 4 names of God. That had to mean something! God’s names ARE HIS IDENTITY. He is His names. And if we want to know God…really know Him and be able to experience the promises of God, then knowing the meaning behind the names is so needed!
Now, when I actually looked those up, here is what those words mean! (plus a bonus name we will look at in a future post that comes from verse 16.
Names of God Found In Psalm 91
|Name of God in Hebrew
|Meaning from Strong’s Concordance
|Most High = Elyon (5945)
|Superlative God – surpassing all others – Supreme. Above all other powers and authority.
|Almighty = Shaddai (7706)
|All Powerful Omnipotent
|Lord = Jehovah (3068)
|Self Existent One – Eternal
|the Supreme God (plural form)
Yeshuwah (3444) (vs.16)
|salvation, health, deliverance, help, prosperity
Strong’s Concordance numbers
If I read those verses again…they read differently with the meanings inserted.
Psalm 91: 1-2
1He who dwells in the shelter of the Supreme God who surpasses all others in power & authority
Will abide in the shadow of the All Powerful One
2 I will say to the Eternal Self-Existent One, “My refuge and my fortress,
My Supreme God, in whom I trust!”
The deck is stacked here in the first two verses. God is demonstrating by the use of His names that He is more powerful than anything or anyone else and He exists independently of the anything happening here in the world. The names chosen here demonstrate His strength, power and give us confidence that He is more than able to do what He claims in these verses.
What I realized for me though is this…All that is fine and good…He has some pretty great names. Did I believe Him? Did I actually trust that He was saying true things about Himself? None of the rest of the words or other verses really mattered if I didn’t. I thought I trusted Him….but as I considered….struggled through past hurts and disappointments, I knew in my heart that I did not.
What Is Your Life Built On? Is it the Word of God or Something Else?
I came to Jesus when I was 4 years old. I loved Him with all my 4 year old heart.
But over the years, lots of teaching (some good, some not), disappointments, and self-doubt led to confusion. I came to realize through this time of confusion, that the foundation for my life was not ALL on the Word of God. I had built my life on the traditions of the church, the opinions of others, the teachings of man AND the Word of God.
My foundation was uneven. And the reality is, those things did not all line up. They were not the same. I could dress my family up in their Sunday best, take care of my family and parrot quality teachers, but at the end of the day, that was it. As I gradually came to the realization that I did not know what I believed, it all started to crumble.
I knew that I needed to rebuild my faith on the Word of God alone. I needed to learn who God is, who He says I am and what the Word of God says. Psalm 91 was my road map for rebuilding my faith. It starts with His names. I encourage you too look them up for yourself. Maybe pull out your Bible and pencil them in next to Psalm 91.
I use a Strong’s Concordance as well as other sources. A good online one is Blueletterbible.org. I invite you to look up these names and consider for yourself who God wants to be to you!
If you want to read more about Psalm 91, I highly recommend 2 books filled with testimony and teaching that will shift how you read your Bible going forward.
The first book is one by Peggy Joyce Ruth called Psalm 91: God’s Umbrella of Protection. This one is verse by verse teaching on Psalm 91 and tons of testimonies who have chosen to trust the promises of Psalm 91 and speak their trust in the Lord over themselves. She also has a military version of Psalm 91 which is AMAZING…and is probably my favorite!
The second book is The Prayer of Protection: Living Fearlessly in Dangerous Times by Joseph Prince. He also does verse by verse teaching but highlights some different things.
Both books are excellent. If you struggle with fear…and wonder if God can protect you…get them both. They will change your life.
Invest In YOUR Relationship With God
As I mentioned before, my big realization was that I did not know God. I knew ABOUT Him…but didn’t know Him. This was largely because I was listening to what others taught but wasn’t taking the next step…reading the Bible, studying it out and understanding it for myself. If you struggle with fear…I want to invite you to read Psalm 91 and then start to study what the words in those verses actually mean FOR YOU.