Sometimes I have a strong need for the 39th Psalm. During difficult times, parts of it will just appear in my head, causing me to reach for a Bible or a prayer book so I can remember the rest.
What follows is a sort of blend between the Jerusalem Bible version and that of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, rewritten to reflect the way I remember it when I need it.
At times like this, that is.
|1||I said, “I will keep watch on my actions, so that my tongue gives no offense.|
|2||“I will muzzle myself as long as the wicked are near me.”|
|3||I remained silent and said nothing; I refrained from speaking evil, even though my suffering was unbearable.|
|4||My heart was smoldering, and, while I pondered all this, it burst into flame and my words escaped from me:|
|5||Lord, tell me what my end will be, and the number of my remaining days, so that I will know how frail my life is.|
|6||You have given me no more than a moment of life; my days are nothing to you. Those who stand tall on the earth are only a puff of wind.|
|7||Each of us moves like a shadow, and our turmoil is in vain; the riches we amass are to be taken by those we do not know.|
|8||So, Lord, what can we hope for? My hope is in you.|
|9||Release me from the burden of my sins and do not let me be ridiculed by fools.|
|10||I remain silent; I will speak no more, since you yourself have been at work.|
|11||Remove from me your affliction; I am worn out from the blows you have dealt me.|
|12||You have punished us with the wages of sin; like a moth, you eat away all that we hold dear; each of us is indeed only a puff of wind.|
|13||Lord, hear my prayer; attend to my cry for help; do not be deaf to my weeping.|
|14||I am your guest, and will be here only for a little while; I am a wanderer, as were all my ancestors before me.|
|15||Turn your gaze from me that I may breathe easily again, before I go my way and am no more.|