Scripture quotations unless otherwise noted are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, © 1996 by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.
These are some of my favorite Psalms, ones that I like to keep going back to.
The Lord is my shepherd; I have everything I need. He lets me rest in green meadows; he leads me beside peaceful streams. He renews my strength. He guides me along right paths, bringing honor to his name.
Even when I walk through the dark valley of death, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies. You welcome me as a guest, anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings. Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.
To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. I trust in you, my God! Do not let me be disgraced, or let my enemies rejoice in my defeat. No one who trusts in you will ever be disgraced, but disgrace comes to those who try to deceive others.
Show me the path where I should walk, O Lord; point out the right road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you.
Remember, O Lord, your unfailing love and compassion, which you have shown from long ages past. Forgive the rebellious sins of my youth; look instead through the eyes of your unfailing love, for you are merciful, O Lord.
The Lord is good and does what is right; he shows the proper path to those who go astray. He leads the humble in what is right, teaching them his way. The Lord leads with unfailing love and faithfulness all those who keep his covenant and obey his decrees.
For the honor of your name, O Lord, forgive my many, many sins. Who are those who fear the Lord? He will show them the path they should choose. They will live in prosperity, and their children will inherit the Promised Land. Friendship with the Lord is reserved for those who fear him. With them he shares the secrets of his covenant. My eyes are always looking to the Lord for help, for he alone can rescue me from the traps of my enemies.
Turn to me and have mercy on me, for I am alone and in deep distress. My problems go from bad to worse. Oh, save me from them all! Feel my pain and see my trouble. Forgive all my sins. See how many enemies I have, and how viciously they hate me! Protect me! Rescue my life from them! Do not let me be disgraced, for I trust in you. May integrity and honesty protect me, for I put my hope in you.
O God, ransom Israel from all its troubles.
I will praise the Lord at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. I will boast only in the Lord; let all who are discouraged take heart. Come, let us tell of the Lord's greatness; let us exalt his name together.
I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me, freeing me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. I cried out to the Lord in my suffering, and he heard me. He set me free from all my fears. For the angel of the Lord guards all who fear him, and he rescues them.
Taste and see that the Lord is good. Oh, the joys of those who trust in him! Let the Lord's people show him reverence, for those who honor him will have all they need. Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the Lord will never lack any good thing.
Come, my children, and listen to me, and I will teach you to fear the Lord. Do any of you want to live a life that is long and good? Then watch your tongue! Keep your lips from telling lies! Turn away from evil and do good. Work hard at living in peace with others.
The eyes of the Lord watch over those who do right; his ears are open to their cries for help. But the Lord turns his face against those who do evil; he will erase their memory from the earth.
The Lord hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those who are crushed in spirit.
The righteous face many troubles, but the Lord rescues them from each and every one. For the Lord protects them from harm - not one of their bones will be broken!
Calamity will surely overtake the wicked, and those who hate the righteous will be punished. But the Lord will redeem those who serve him. Everyone who trusts in him will be freely pardoned.
I said to myself, "I will watch what I do and not sin in what I say. I will curb my tongue when the ungodly are around me." But as I stood there in silence - not even speaking of good things - the turmoil within me grew to the bursting point. My thoughts grew hot within me and began to burn, igniting a fire of words: "Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be. Remind me that my days are numbered, and that my life is fleeing away. My life is no longer than the width of my hand. An entire life time is just a moment to you; human existence is but a breath."
We are merely moving shadows, and all our busy rushing ends in nothing. We heap up wealth for someone else to spend.
And so, Lord, where do I put my hope? My only hope is in you. Rescue me from my rebellion, for even fools mock me when rebel. I am silent before you; I won't say a word. For my punishment is from you. Please, don't punish me anymore! I am exhausted by the blows from you hand. When you discipline people for their sins, their lives can be crushed like the life of a moth. Human existence is as frail as breath.
Hear my prayer, O Lord! Listen to my cries for help. Don't ignore my tears. For I am your guest - a traveler passing through, as my ancestors were before me. Spare me so I can smile again before I am gone and exist
I wait quietly before God, for my salvation comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will never be shaken.
So many enemies against one man - all of them trying to kill me. To them I'm just a broken-down wall or a tottering fence. They plan to topple me from my high position. They delight in telling lies abut me. They are friendly to face, but they curse me in their hearts.
I wait quietly before God, for my hope is in him. He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress where I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor come from God alone. He is my refuge, a rock where no enemy can reach me.
O my people, trust in him at all times. Pour out your heart to him, for God is our refuge.
From the greatest to the lowliest - all are nothing in his sight. If you weigh them on the scales, they are lighter than a puff of air. Don't try to rich by extortion or robbery. And if your wealth increases, don't make it the center of your life.
God has spoken plainly, and I have heard it many times: Power, O
God, belongs to you; unfailing love, O Lord , is yours. Surely you judge all
people according to what they have done.
O God, you are my God; I earnestly search for you. My soul thirsts for you; my whole body longs for you in this parched and weary land where there is no water.
I have seen you in your sanctuary and gazed upon your power and glory. Your unfailing love is better to me than life itself; how I praise you! I will honor you as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer. You satisfy me more than the richest of foods. I will praise you with songs of joy.
I lie awake thinking of you, meditating on you through the night. I think how much you have helped me; I sing for joy in the shadow of your protecting wings. I follow close behind you; your strong right hand holds me securely.
But those plotting to destroy me will come to ruin. They will go down into the depths of the earth. They will die by the sword and become the food of jackals.
But the king will rejoice in God. All who trust in him will praise
him, while liars will be silenced.
Bend down, O Lord, and hear my prayer; answer me, for I need your help. Protect me, for I am devoted to you. Save me, for I serve you and trust you. You are my God. Be merciful, O Lord, for I am calling on you constantly. Give me happiness, O Lord, for my life depends on you. O Lord, you are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask your aid. Listen closely to my prayer, O Lord; hear my urgent cry. I will call to you whenever trouble strikes, and you will answer me.
Nowhere among the pagan gods is there a god like you, O Lord. There are no other miracles like yours. All the nations - and you made each one - will come and bow before you, Lord; they will praise your great and holy name. For you are great and perform great miracles. You alone are God.
Teach me your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to your truth! Grant me purity of heart, that I may honor you. With all my heart I will praise you, O Lord my God. I will give glory to your name forever, for your love for me is very great. You have rescued me from the depths of death!
O God, insolent people rise up again me; violent people are trying to kill me. And you mean nothing to them. But you, O Lord, are a merciful and gracious God, slow to get angry, full of unfailing love and truth. Look down and have mercy on me. Give strength to your servant; yes, save me, for I am your servant. Send me a sign of your favor. Then those who hate me will be put to shame, for you, O Lord, help and comfort me.
Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare of the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from the fatal plague. He will shield you with his wings. He will shelter you with his feathers. His faithful promises are your armor and protection. Do not be afraid of the terrors of the night, nor fear the dangers of the day, nor dread the plague that stalks in darkness, nor the disaster that strikes at midday. Though a thousand fall at your side, though ten thousand are dying around you, these evils will not touch you. But you will see it with your eyes; you will see how the wicked are punished.
If you make the Lord your refuge, if you make the Most High your shelter, no evil will conquer you; no plague will come near your dwelling. For he orders his angels to protect you wherever you go. They will hold you with their hands to keep you from striking your foot on a stone. You will trample down lions and poisonous snakes; you will crush fierce lions and serpents under your feet!
The Lord says, "I will rescue those who love me. I will protect those who trust in my name. When they call on me, I will answer; I will be with them in trouble. I will rescue and honor them. I will satisfy them with a long life and give them my salvation."
Praise the Lord, I tell myself; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name. Praise the Lord, I tell myself, and never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He ransoms me from death and surrounds me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle's! The Lord gives righteousness and justice to all who are treated unfairly. He revealed his character to Moses and his deeds to the people of Israel. The Lord is merciful and gracious; he is slow to get angry and full of unfailing love. He will not constantly accuse us, nor remain angry forever. He has not punished us for all our sins, nor does he deal with us as we deserve. For his unfailing love toward those who fear him is as great as the height of the heavens above the earth. He has removed our rebellious acts as far away from us as the east is from the west. The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him. For he understands how weak we are; he knows we are only dust. Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die. The wind blows, and we are gone - as though we had never been here. But the love of the Lord remains forever with those who fear him. His salvation extends to the children's children of those who are faithful to his covenant, of those who obey his commandments!
The Lord has made the heavens his throne; from there he rules over everything. Praise the Lord, you angels of his, you mighty creatures who carry out his plans, listening for each of his commands. Yes, praise the Lord, you armies of angels who serve him and do his will! Praise the Lord, everything he has created, everywhere in his kingdom. As for me - I, too, will praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord!
Happy are those who fear the Lord. Yes, happy are those who delight in doing what he commands. Their children will be successful everywhere; an entire generation of godly people will be blessed. They themselves will be wealthy, and their good deeds will never be forgotten. When darkness overtakes the godly, light will come bursting in. They are generous, compassionate, and righteous. All goes well for those who are generous, who lend freely and conduct their business fairly. Such people will not be overcome by evil circumstances. Those who are righteous will be long remembered. They do not fear bad news; they confidently trust the Lord to care for them. They are confident and fearless and can face their foes triumphantly. They give generously to those in need. Their good deeds will never be forgotten. They will have influence and honor. The wicked will be infuriated when they see this. They will grind their teeth in anger; they will slink away, their hopes thwarted.
I love the Lord because he hears and answers my prayers. Because he bends down and listens, I will pray as long as I have breath! Death had it hands around my throat; the terrors of the grave overtook me. I saw only trouble and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the Lord: "Please, Lord, save me!" How kind the Lord is! How good he is! So merciful, this God of ours! The Lord protects those of childlike faith; I was facing death, and then he saved me. Now I can rest again, for the Lord has been so good to me. He has saved me from death, my eyes from tears, my feet from stumbling. And so I walk in the Lord's presence as I live here on earth! I believed in you, so I prayed, "I am deeply troubled, Lord." In my anxiety I cried out to you, "These people are all liars!" What can I offer the Lord for all he has done for me? I will lift up a cup symbolizing his salvation; I will praise the Lord's name for saving me. I will keep my promises to the Lord in the presence of all his people.
The Lord's loved ones are precious to him; it grieves him when they die. O Lord, I am your servant; yes, I am your servant, the son of your handmaid, and you have freed me from my bonds! I will offer you a sacrifice of thanksgiving and call on the name of the Lord. I will keep my promises to the Lord in the presence of all his people, in the house of the Lord, in the heart of Jerusalem.
Praise the Lord!
I look up to the mountains - does my help come from there? My help comes from the Lord, who made the heavens and the earth!
He will not let you stumble and fall; the one who watches over you will not sleep. Indeed, he who watches over Israel never tires and never sleeps.
The Lord himself watches over you! The Lord stands beside you as your protective shade. The sun will not hurt you by day, nor the moon at night. The Lord keeps you from all evil and preserves your life. The Lord keeps watch over you as you come and go, both now and forever.
Those who trust in the Lord are as secure as Mount Zion; they
will not be defeated but will endure forever. Just as the mountains surround and
protect Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds and protects his people, both now and
forever. The wicked will not rule the godly, for then the godly might be forced
to do wrong. O Lord, do good to those who are good, whose hearts are in tune
with you. But banish those who turn to crooked ways, O Lord. Take them away with
those who do evil. And let Israel have quietness and peace.
I give you thanks, O Lord, with all my heart; I will sing your praises before the gods. I bow before your holy Temple as I worship. I will give thanks to your name for your unfailing love and faithfulness, because your promises are backed by all the honor of your name. When I pray, you answer me; you encourage me by giving me the strength I need.
Every king in all the earth will give you thanks, O Lord, for all of them will hear your words. Yes, they will sing about the Lord's ways, for the glory of the Lord is very great. Though the Lord is great, he cares for the humble, but he keeps his distance from the proud.
Though I am surrounded by troubles, you will preserve me against the anger of my enemies. You will clench your fist against my angry enemies! Your power will save me. The Lord will work out his plans for my life - for your faithful love, O Lord, endures forever. Don't abandon me, for you made me.
O Lord, you have examined my heart and know everything about me. You know when I sit down or stand up. You know my every thought when far away. You chart the path ahead of me and tell me where to stop and rest. Every moment you know where I am. You know what I am going to say even before I say it, Lord. You both precede and follow me. You place your hand of blessing on my head. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too great for me to know!
I can never escape from your spirit! I can never get away from your presence! If I go up to heaven, you are there; if I go down to the place of the dead, you are there. If I ride the wings of the morning, if I dwell by the farthest oceans, even there your hand will guide me, and your strength will support me. I could ask the darkness to hide me and the light around me to become night - but even in darkness I cannot hide from you. To you the night shines as bright as day. Darkness and light are both alike to you.
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother's womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex! Your workmanship is marvelous - and how well I know it. You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion, as I was woven together in the dark of the womb. You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.
How precious are your thoughts about me, O God! They are innumerable! I can't even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand! And when I wake up in the morning, you are still with me!
O God, if only you would destroy the wicked! Get out of my life, you murderers! They blaspheme you; your enemies take your name in vain. O Lord, shouldn't I hate those who hate you? Shouldn't I despise those who resist you? Yes, I hate them with complete hatred, for your enemies are my enemies.
Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me along the path of everlasting life.
You Are Near by Dan Schultz, S.J.
(Song lyrics based on Psalm 139)
Yahweh, I know You are near,
Standing always at my side;
You guard me from the foe,
And You lead me in ways ever-lasting
Lord, You have searched my heart,
And You know when I sit and when I stand;
Your hand is upon me protecting me from death,
Keeping me from harm.
Where can I run from Your love ?
If I climb to the heavens You are there;
If I fly to the sunrise or sail beyond the sea,
Still I'd find You there.
You know my heart and its ways,
You who formed me before I was born;
In the secret of darkness before I saw the sun,
In my mother's womb.
Marvelous to me are Your works,
How profound are Your thoughts my Lord;
Even if I could count them they number as the stars,
You would still be there.
I cry out to the Lord; I plead for the Lord's mercy. I pour out my complaints before him and tell him all my troubles. For I am overwhelmed, and you alone know the way I should turn. Wherever I go, my enemies have set traps for me. I look for someone to come and help me, but no one give me a passing thought! No one will help me; no one cares a bit what happens to me. Then I pray to you, O Lord. I say, "You are my place of refuge. You are all I really want in life. Hear my cry, for I am very low. Rescue me from my persecutors, for they are too strong for me. Bring me out of prison so I can thank you. The godly will crowd around me, for you treat me kindly."