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(A psalm by David for the music leader.)

A Prayer for the Lord’s Help

140 Rescue me from cruel
    and violent enemies, Lord!
    They think up evil plans
    and always cause trouble.
Their words bite deep
    like the poisonous fangs
    of a snake.

Protect me, Lord, from cruel
and brutal enemies,
    who want to destroy me.
Those proud people have hidden
traps and nets
    to catch me as I walk.

You, Lord, are my God!
    Please listen to my prayer.
You have the power to save me,
    and you keep me safe
    in every battle.

Don’t let the wicked succeed
    in doing what they want,
    or else they might never
    stop planning evil.
They have me surrounded,
    but make them the victims
    of their own vicious lies.[a]
10 Dump flaming coals on them
and throw them into pits
    where they can’t climb out.
11 Chase those cruel liars away!
    Let trouble hunt them down.

12 Our Lord, I know that you
    defend the homeless
    and see that the poor
    are given justice.
13 Your people will praise you
and will live with you
    because they do right.

(A psalm by David.)

A Prayer for the Lord’s Protection

141 I pray to you, Lord!
    Please listen when I pray
    and hurry to help me.
Think of my prayer
    as sweet-smelling incense,
    and think of my lifted hands
    as an evening sacrifice.

Help me to guard my words
    whenever I say something.
Don’t let me want to do evil
    or waste my time doing wrong
    with wicked people.
Don’t let me even taste
    the good things they offer.

Let your faithful people
    correct and punish me.
My prayers condemn the deeds
    of those who do wrong,
    so don’t let me be friends
    with any of them.
Everyone will admit
    that I was right
    when their rulers are thrown
    down a rocky cliff,
and their bones lie scattered
    like broken rocks
    on top of a grave.[b]

You are my Lord and God,
and I look to you for safety.
    Don’t let me be harmed.
Protect me from the traps
    of those violent people,
10 and make them fall
into their own traps
    while you help me escape.

(A special psalm and a prayer by David when he was in the cave.)

A Prayer for Help

142 I pray to you, Lord.
    I beg for mercy.
I tell you all of my worries
    and my troubles,
    and whenever I feel low,
    you are there to guide me.

A trap has been hidden
    along my pathway.
Even if you look,
    you won’t see anyone
    who cares enough
    to walk beside me.
There is no place to hide,
    and no one who really cares.

I pray to you, Lord!
    You are my place of safety,
    and you are my choice
    in the land of the living.
Please answer my prayer.
    I am completely helpless.

Help! They are chasing me,
    and they are too strong.
    Rescue me from this prison,
    so I can praise your name.
And when your people notice
your wonderful kindness to me,
    they will rush to my side.

(A psalm by David.)

A Prayer in Time of Danger

143 Listen, Lord, as I pray!
    You are faithful and honest
    and will answer my prayer.
I am your servant.
    Don’t try me in your court,
    because no one is innocent
    by your standards.
My enemies are chasing me,
    crushing me in the ground.
I am in total darkness,
    like someone long dead.
    I have given up all hope,
    and I feel numb all over.

I remember to think about
the many things
    you did
    in years gone by.
Then I lift my hands in prayer,
because my soul is a desert,
    thirsty for water from you.

Please hurry, Lord,
and answer my prayer.
    I feel hopeless.
    Don’t turn away
    and leave me here to die.
Each morning let me learn
more about your love
    because I trust you.
I come to you in prayer,
    asking for your guidance.

Please rescue me
from my enemies, Lord!
    I come to you for safety.[c]
10 You are my God. Show me
    what you want me to do,
    and let your gentle Spirit
    lead me in the right path.

11 Be true to your name, Lord,
    and keep my life safe.
    Use your saving power
    to protect me from trouble.
12 I am your servant.
    Show how much you love me
    by destroying my enemies.

(By David.)

A Prayer for the Nation

144 I praise you, Lord!
    You are my mighty rock,[d]
    and you teach me
    how to fight my battles.
You are my friend,
    and you are my fortress
    where I am safe.
You are my shield,
    and you made me the ruler
    of our people.[e]

Why do we humans mean anything
to you, our Lord?
    Why do you care about us?
We disappear like a breath;
    we last no longer
    than a faint shadow.

Open the heavens like a curtain
    and come down, Lord.
    Touch the mountains
    and make them send up smoke.
Use your lightning as arrows
to scatter my enemies
    and make them run away.
Reach down from heaven
    and set me free.
Save me from the mighty flood
    of those lying foreigners
    who can’t tell the truth.

In praise of you, our God,
    I will sing a new song,
    while playing my harp.
10 By your power, kings win wars,
    and your servant David is saved
    from deadly swords.
11 Won’t you keep me safe
from those lying foreigners
    who can’t tell the truth?

12 Let’s pray that our young sons
    will grow like strong plants
and that our daughters
will be as lovely
    as columns
    in the corner of a palace.
13 May our barns be filled
    with all kinds of crops.
May our fields be covered
with sheep by the thousands,
14     and every cow have calves.[f]
Don’t let our city be captured
    or any of us be taken away,
    and don’t let cries of sorrow
    be heard in our streets.

15 Our Lord and our God,
    you give these blessings
    to all who worship you.

(By David for praise.)

The Lord Is Kind and Merciful

145 I will praise you,
my God and King,
    and always honor your name.
I will praise you each day
    and always honor your name.
You are wonderful, Lord,
    and you deserve all praise,
because you are much greater
    than anyone can understand.

Each generation will announce
to the next
    your wonderful
    and powerful deeds.
I will keep thinking about
your marvelous glory
    and your mighty miracles.[g]
Everyone will talk about
    your fearsome deeds,
    and I will tell all nations
    how great you are.
They will celebrate and sing
    about your matchless mercy
    and your power to save.

You are merciful, Lord!
    You are kind and patient
    and always loving.
You are good to everyone,
    and you take care
    of all your creation.

10 All creation will thank you,
    and your loyal people
    will praise you.
11 They will tell about
    your marvelous kingdom
    and your power.
12 Then everyone will know about
    the mighty things you do
    and your glorious kingdom.
13 Your kingdom will never end,
    and you will rule forever.

Our Lord, you keep your word
    and do everything you say.[h]
14 When someone stumbles or falls,
    you give a helping hand.
15 Everyone depends on you,
and when the time is right,
    you provide them with food.
16 By your own hand
    you satisfy
    the desires of all who live.

17 Our Lord, everything you do
    is kind and thoughtful,
18     and you are near to everyone
    whose prayers are sincere.
19 You satisfy the desires
    of all your worshipers,
    and you come to save them
    when they ask for help.
20 You take care of everyone
who loves you,
    but you destroy the wicked.

21 I will praise you, Lord,
    and everyone will respect
    your holy name forever.

Footnotes

  1. 140.8,9 or else. . . lies: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  2. 141.5-7 Let. . . grave: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verses 5-7.
  3. 143.9 I. . . safety: Or “You are my hiding place.”
  4. 144.1 mighty rock: See the note at 18.2.
  5. 144.2 of our people: Some Hebrew manuscripts and ancient translations have “of the nations.”
  6. 144.14 have calves: Or “grow fat.”
  7. 145.5 and. . . miracles: One Hebrew manuscript and two ancient translations have “as others tell about your mighty miracles.”
  8. 145.13 Our. . . say: These words are found in one Hebrew manuscript and two ancient translations.

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