Read the following psalm and allow it to be your prayer to God today.
Psalm 39 (NIV)
I said, “I will watch my ways and keep my tongue from sin; I will put a muzzle on my mouth while in the presence of the wicked.” So I remained utterly silent, not even saying anything good. But my anguish increased; my heart grew hot within me. While I meditated, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue:
“Show me, Lord, my life’s end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure.
“Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom; in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth without knowing whose it will finally be.
“But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you. Save me from all my transgressions; do not make me the scorn of fools. I was silent; I would not open my mouth, for you are the one who has done this. Remove your scourge from me; I am overcome by the blow of your hand. When you rebuke and discipline anyone for their sin, you consume their wealth like a moth—surely everyone is but a breath.
“Hear my prayer, Lord, listen to my cry for help; do not be deaf to my weeping. I dwell with you as a foreigner, a stranger, as all my ancestors were. Look away from me, that I may enjoy life again before I depart and am no more.”
Psalm 39 (NRSV)
I said, “I will guard my ways that I may not sin with my tongue; I will keep a muzzle on my mouth as long as the wicked are in my presence.” I was silent and still; I held my peace to no avail; my distress grew worse, my heart became hot within me. While I mused, the fire burned; then I spoke with my tongue:
“Lord, let me know my end, and what is the measure of my days; let me know how fleeting my life is. You have made my days a few handbreadths, and my lifetime is as nothing in your sight. Surely everyone stands as a mere breath. Selah. Surely everyone goes about like a shadow. Surely for nothing they are in turmoil; they heap up, and do not know who will gather.
“And now, O Lord, what do I wait for? My hope is in you. Deliver me from all my transgressions. Do not make me the scorn of the fool. I am silent; I do not open my mouth, for it is you who have done it. Remove your stroke from me; I am worn down by the blows of your hand.
“You chastise mortals in punishment for sin, consuming like a moth what is dear to them; surely everyone is a mere breath. Selah
“Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry; do not hold your peace at my tears. For I am your passing guest, an alien, like all my forebears. Turn your gaze away from me, that I may smile again, before I depart and am no more.”
Creative Options for Reading Psalms
Draw a Prayer
The Psalms are filled with rich imagery. After reading Psalm 39, draw the images that come to mind. You don’t have to be an artist to find value in drawing the images and emotions behind the Psalms.
If you don’t enjoy drawing, you can write out Psalm 39 using different colored pens or pencils. Creatively writing out the psalm can help you connect with it in a new way.
Listen to a Song
Poor Bishop Hooper publishes a new song each week. Each song creatively presents the words of a psalm.
You can find their song based on Psalm 39 here.
Read with a Friend
Find a friend or family member and read the psalm together. Together, talk about what Psalm 39 means to you. Sometimes having another perspective can help you gain new insights.
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