The psalms are powerful prayers that express the deepest desires of our heart.
One of the most appreciated and used books to pray of the whole Bible is the Psalter (the Book of Psalms), traditionally understood as the personal prayers of King David.
It is generally admitted that David most likely wrote many (but probably not all) psalms, and these poetic prayers reveal an inner life filled with pain, doubt, hope, sadness and joy, with such richness that, thousands of years later, remain a perfect reflection of the human condition. It does not matter what you need to express with prayer: there is an appropriate psalm for it.
The psalms are the basis of the Liturgy of the Hours (or Divine Office), which the Church encourages all Christians to pray as much as possible, to enrich the personal relationship with God.
For centuries, monks and nuns used to memorize the psalms, since scrolls and books were not easy to use. In particular, the nocturnal psalms, which were prayed in Matins and Complete, had to be learned to avoid the use of candles and fire.
The Church still recommends memorizing some psalms to pray with them, especially in times of difficulty or joy. These prayers are particularly powerful means of expressing the depths of the heart and the desires and emotions far beyond words.
Here four specially recommended psalms:
We start with the shortest
Psalm, the 117
Hallelujah! Praise the Lord, all nations,
glorify him, all peoples!
Because his love for us is unbreakable,
and his faithfulness remains forever.
From the deepest I invoke you, Lord.
Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
to the cry of my prayer.
If you consider the faults, Lord,
who can survive?
But in you is forgiveness,
so that you are feared.
My soul waits in the Lord,
and I trust in his word.
My soul awaits the Lord,
more than the sentinel the dawn.
As the sentinel waits for the dawn, let
Israel wait for the Lord,
for in him mercy
and redemption are found in abundance:
he will redeem Israel
from all her sins
Have mercy on me, Lord, for your kindness,
for your great compassion, erase my faults!
Wash me completely of my guilt
and purify me of my sin!
Because I recognize my faults
and my sin is always before me.
Against you, I only sinned
and did what is bad in your eyes.
Therefore, your sentence will be just
and your judgment will be irreproachable;
I have been guilty since I was born;
Sinner my mother conceived me.
You love the sincerity of the heart
and you teach me the wisdom inside me.
Purify me with the hyssop and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
Announce my joy and joy:
let the broken bones rejoice.
Turn your eyes away from my sins
and erase all my sins.
Create in me, my God, a pure heart,
and renew the firmness of my spirit.
Do not throw me away from your presence
or withdraw your holy spirit from me.
Give me back the joy of your salvation,
may your generous spirit sustain me:
I will teach your way to the ungodly
and the sinners will return to you.
Deliver me from death, God, my savior,
and my tongue will announce your justice!
Open my lips, Lord,
and my mouth will proclaim your praise.
Sacrifices do not satisfy you;
if I offer a holocaust, you do not accept it:
my sacrifice is a contrite spirit,
you do not despise the contrite and humiliated heart.
The Lord is my pastor,
I can not miss anything.
He makes me rest in green meadows,
leads me to the calm waters
and repairs my strength;
He guides me down the straight path,
for the sake of his Name.
Although I cross through dark ravines,
I will fear no evil,
because you are with me:
your rod and your staff give me confidence.
You prepare a table before me, in
front of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil
and my cup overflows.
Your goodness and your grace accompany me
throughout my life;
and I will live in the House of the Lord,
for a very long time.
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