Psalms for Today

It is very difficult to fathom and get our heads round (at least my head round) how things have changed in such a short time.  Our lives have been changed and disrupted beyond our imagination.

In these testing times we all need to keep our faith and hope alive! For us one way of keeping our faith and hope alive is turning to God especially through praying the Psalms.

Many lay people pray the Psalms each day.  Regular praying of the Psalms probably began during the exile of the Israelites in Babylon.  The temple of Jerusalem had been destroyed and no sacrifice could be offered.  Today it is no different for us although our churches are not destroyed but closed for public worship.

Psalms are wonderful prayers of praise, thanksgiving, hope, trust, fear etc. etc. They express our human passion and feelings of all sorts. 

During these difficult days, to keep our faith and hope alive in God, and that we may not despair, I hope to bring to you regularly a Psalm of lamentation and a Psalm of hope and trust, to pray uniting ourselves with all our parishioners and all the people of God.  Hope it will help us all.

~Canon Edward Perera

Psalms for Week Beginning Sunday 24 May

Psalm 121

I lift up my eyes to the mountains;
from where shall come my help?
My help shall come from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.

He will keep your foot from stumbling.
Your guard will never slumber.
No, he sleeps not nor slumbers,
Israel’s guard.

The LORD is your guard,
the LORD the shade at your right hand.
By day the sun shall not smite you,
nor the moon in the night.

The Lord will guard you from evil; 
he will guard your soul.
The Lord will guard your going and coming,
both now and forever.

Psalm  28: 1-2; 7-9

To you, O Lord, I call;
my rock, be not deaf to me.
I shall go down to those in the pit,
if you are silent to me.

Hear the voice of my pleading
as I call to you for help,
as I lift up my hands in prayer
towards your holy sanctuary.

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
in him my heart trusts.
I was helped; my heart rejoices,
and I praise him with my song.

The Lord is the strength of his people,
a saving refuge for his anointed.
Save your people and bless your heritage.
Shepherd them and carry them forever.

reading and psalm for week beginning sunday 17 may

Isaiah 43: 1-4

And now, thus says the Lord
who created you, Jacob,
who formed you, Israel,
‘Do not be afraid for I have redeemed you;
I have called you by your name, you are mine.
Should you pass through the waters,
I shall be with you;
through the rivers, they will not swallow you up.
Should you walk through fire,
you will not be scorched
and the flame will not burn you.
For I am the Lord your God,
the Holy One of Israel, your Saviour.
I have given Egypt for your ransom,
Ethiopia and Sheba in your stead;
for you are precious in my sight,
you are honoured and I love you.

Psalm 31: 1-4, 8-10

In you, O Lord, I take refuge.
Let me never be put to shame.
In your righteousness, set me free;
incline your ear to me, and speedily rescue me.

Be a rock of refuge for me,
a mighty stronghold to save me.
For you are my rock, my stronghold!
Lead me, guide me, for the sake of your name.

Let me be glad and rejoice in your mercy,
for you who have seen my affliction
and taken heed of my soul’s distress,
have not left me in the hands of the enemy,
but set my feet at large.

Be gracious to me, O Lord,
for I am in distress.
My eyes are wasted with grief,
my soul and my body.


Psalm 46

God is for us a refuge and strength,
an ever-present help in time of distress.
So we shall not fear though the earth should rock,
though the mountains quake to the heart of the sea;
even though its waters rage and foam,
even though the mountains be shaken by its tumult.

           The Lord of hosts is with us: 
           the God of Jacob is our stronghold.

The waters of a river give joy to God’s city,
the holy place, the dwelling of the Most High.
God is within, she cannot be shaken;
God will help her at the dawning of the day.
Nations are in tumult, kingdoms are shaken;
he lifts his voice, the earth melts away.

           The Lord of hosts is with us: 
           the God of Jacob is our stronghold.

Come and behold the works of the LORD,
the fearful deeds he has done on the earth.
He puts an end to wars over all the earth;
the bow he breaks, the spear he snaps, the shields he burns with fire,
‘Be still and know that I am God,
exalted over nations, exalted over earth!’

          The Lord of hosts is with us: 
          the God of Jacob is our stronghold.

Psalm 61

Listen, O God, to my cry!
Attend to my prayer!
From the end of the earth I call you;
my heart is faint.

Set me high upon the rock 
too high for me to reach,
you, my refuge and mighty tower
against the foe.

Then will I dwell in your tent forever,
and hide in the shelter of your wings.
For you, O God,  have heard my vows;
you have given me the heritage
of those who fear your name.

Day upon day you will add to the king;
his years as age upon age.
May he ever sit enthroned before God:
bid mercy and truth be his protection.
So I will sing to your name forever,
and day after day fulfil my vows.


Psalm 23 – Responsorial psalm for Good Shepherd Sunday (Vocations Sunday)

The Lord is my shepherd;
there is nothing I shall want.
Fresh and green are the pastures
where he gives me repose.
Near restful waters he leads me;
he revives my soul.

He guides me along the right path,
for the sake of his name.
Though I should walk in the valley of the shadow of death,
no evil would I fear, for you are with me.
Your crook and your staff will give me comfort.

You have prepared a table before me 
in the sight of my foes.
My head you have anointed with oil;
my cup is overflowing. 

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me
all the days of my life.
In the Lord’s own house shall I dwell
for the length of days unending.


Psalm 88 – O Lord and God of my salvation,
I cry before you day and night.
Let my prayer come into your presence.
Incline your ear to my cry.
For my soul is filled with evils;
my life is on the brink of Sheol.

I am reckoned as one in the tomb;
I am like a warrior devoid of all strength,
like one roaming the dead,
like the slain in their graves,
like those you remember no more,
cut off, as they are, from your hand.

You have laid me in the depths of the pit,
in regions that are dark and deep.
Your wrath weighs down upon me;
I am drowned beneath your waves.
You have taken away my friends;
to them you have made me hateful.

Imprisoned, I cannot escape;
my eyes are sunken with grief.
I call to you, Lord, all day long;
to you I stretch out my hands.

Will you work your wonders for the dead?
Will the shades rise up to praise you?
Will your mercy be told in the grave,
or your faithfulness in the place of perdition?
Will your wonders be known in the dark,
your righteous help in the land of oblivion?

But I, O Lord, cry out to you;
in the morning my prayer comes before you.
Why do you reject me, O Lord?
Why do you hide your face from me?

I am wretched, close to death from my youth.
I have borne your trials; I am numb.
Your fury has swept down upon me;
your terrors have utterly destroyed me.

They surround me all the day like a flood;
together they close in against me.
Friend and neighbour you have taken away;
my one companion is darkness.

Psalm 89: 1-4; 13-16 

I will sing forever of your mercy, O Lord;
through all ages my mouth will proclaim your faithfulness.
I declare your mercy is established forever;
Your faithfulness stands firm as the heavens.

‘With my chosen one I have made a covenant.
I have sworn to David my servant;
I will establish your descendants for ever,
and set up your throne through all ages.’

Yours is a mighty arm.
Your hand is strong; your right hand is exalted;
Righteousness and judgment are the pillars of your throne;
merciful love and fidelity walk in your presence.

How blessed are the people who know your praise,
who walk, O Lord, in the light of your face,
who find their joy all day long in your name,
who make your righteousness their joyful acclaim.


Franciscan Sister Ilia Delio writes:

[St Francis’] life indicates to us that if we persevere in prayer we will find God in the centre of our lives and the bitter will become sweet; however, if we stay on the plain of mediocrity then the bitter may remain bitter. To trust in the power of God’s grace through darkness, isolation, bitterness, and rejection is to be on the way to becoming prayer because it is the way to freedom in God.

For prayer, that deep relationship of God breathing in us, requires change and conversion. And where there is change, there is the letting go of the old and the giving birth to the new. To pray is to be open to the new, to the future in God. The way to life passes through change and ultimately the change from death to life. Prayer is the way to life because in prayer we are invited to change and to grow in love.         
(Ilia Delio, Franciscan Prayer)

Psalm 16 – Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge,
I say to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord.
My goodness lies in you alone.’

For the holy ones in his land he worked wonders,
they are noble, in them is all my delight.
Those who choose other gods increase their sorrows.
I will not take part in their offerings of blood.
Nor will I take their names upon my lips.

O Lord, it is you who are my portion and cup;
it is you yourself who secure my destiny.
Pleasant places are marked out for me:
a fair heritage indeed is my lot!

I will bless the Lord who gives me counsel,
who even at night directs my heart.
I keep the Lord before me always;
with him at my right hand, I shall not be moved.

And so, my heart rejoices, my soul is glad;
even my body shall rest in hope.
For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol,
nor let your faithful see corruption.

You will show me the path of life,
the fullness of joy in your presence,
at your right hand, bliss for ever.


Psalm 142 – With all my voice I cry to the Lord;
with all my voice I entreat the Lord,
I pour out my trouble before him;
I tell him all my distress
while my spirit faints within me.
But you, O Lord, know my path.

On the way here shall I walk,
they have hidden a snare to entrap me.
Look on my right hand and see: 
there is no one who pays me heed.
No escape remains open to me;
no one cares for my soul.

To you I cry, O Lord.
I have said, ‘You are my refuge,
my portion in the land of the living.’
Listen, then, to my cry,
for I am brought down very low.

Rescue me from those who pursue me,
for they are stronger than I.
Bring my soul out of prison,
and I shall give thanks to your name.
Around me the righteous will assemble,
because of your goodness to me.

Canticle (Habakkuk 3:2-4,13,16-19)

O Lord, I have heard of your renown; 
your work, O Lord, inspires me with awe.
Make it live again in our time,
make it known in our time; 
in wrath remember mercy.

Eloah comes from Teman
and the Holy One from Mount Paran.
His majesty covers the heavens
and his glory fills the earth.

His brightness is like the day,
rays flash from his hands;
there his power lies hidden. 

You issued forth to save your people,
to save your anointed one.
You wounded the head of the house of the wicked,
laid bare the foundations to the rock.

When I heard, I trembled to the core,
my lips quivered at the sound.
Rottenness entered my bones
and my stance gave way beneath me.
Calmly I await the day of anguish
which is dawning on the people now attacking us.

Though the fig does not blossom,
nor the vines bear fruit, the olive crop disappoints
and the fields yield no food; 
the sheep will vanish from the fold,
no cattle in the stalls,
yet I shall rejoice in the Lord
I shall exult in God my Saviour.

God the Lord is my strength,
he will make my feet as light as the deer’s
and set my steps on the heights.


Psalm 13 – How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever?
How long will you hide your face from me?
How long must I bear grief in my soul,
have sorrow in my heart all day long?
How long shall my enemy prevail over me?

Look, answer me, Lord my God!
Give light to my eyes or I shall fall asleep in death;
and my enemy will say, ‘I have overcome him;’
and my foes rejoice when they see me fall.

As for me, I trust in your merciful love.
Let my heart rejoice in your salvation.
I will sing to the Lord who has been generous to me.
I will sing psalms to the name of the Lord Most High.

Psalm 11 – In the Lord I have taken refuge.
How can you say to my soul,
‘Flee like a bird to the mountain!

‘Look, the wicked are bending their bowl!
They are fixing their arrow on the string,
to shoot in the darkness at the upright of heart.
Foundations once destroyed,
what can the righteous do?’

The Lord is in his holy temple;
the throne of the Lord is in heaven.
His eyes behold the poor;
his gaze probes the human race.

The Lord looks on the righteous and the wicked;
the lover of violence he hates.
He sends fire and brimstone on the wicked,
a scorching wind to fill their cup.

For the Lord is righteous and loves righteous deeds;
the upright shall behold his face.


Psalm 44 – We have heard with our ears, O God,
our ancestors have told us,
what deeds you performed in their days, in the days of old:
you with your own hand drove out the nations,
but them you planted;
you afflicted the peoples,
but them you set free;
for not by their own sword did they win the land,
nor did their own arm give them victory;
but your right hand, and your arm,
and the light of your countenance, for you delighted in them…

             (pray the complete psalm)

Psalm 62 – For God alone my soul waits in silence;
from him comes my salvation.
He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress;
I shall never be shaken…

             (pray the complete psalm)

Psalms for WEEK BEGINNING Sunday 22 March

Psalm 22 – My God, my God why have you forsaken me?
Why are you so far from helping me, from the words of my groaning?
O my God, I cry by day, but you do not answer;
And by night, but find no rest.

Yet you are holy, enthroned on the praises of Israel.
In you our ancestors trusted; they trusted and you delivered them.
To you they cried and were saved;
In you they trusted and were not put to shame…

             (pray the complete psalm)

Psalm 23The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want
He makes me lie down in green pasture;
He leads me beside still waters; he restores my soul.
He leads me in right paths for his name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil;
For you are with me; your rod and your staff – they comfort me…….

            (pray the complete psalm)