(A psalm by David for the music leader. Use stringed instruments.)
An Evening Prayer
4 You are my God and protector. Please answer my prayer. I was in terrible distress, but you set me free. Now have pity and listen as I pray.
2 How long will you people refuse to respect me?[a] You love foolish things, and you run after what is worthless.[b]
3 The Lord has chosen everyone who is faithful to be his very own,[c] and he answers my prayers. 4 But each of you had better tremble and turn from your sins. Silently search your heart as you lie in bed. 5 Offer the proper sacrifices and trust the Lord.
6 There are some who ask, “Who will be good to us?” Let your kindness, Lord, shine brightly on us. 7 You brought me more happiness than a rich harvest of grain and grapes. 8 I can lie down and sleep soundly because you, Lord, will keep me safe.
(A psalm by David for the music leader. Use flutes.)
A Prayer for Help
5 Listen, Lord, as I pray! Pay attention when I groan.[d] 2 You are my King and my God. Answer my cry for help because I pray to you. 3 Each morning you listen to my prayer, as I bring my requests[e] to you and wait for your reply.
4 You are not the kind of God who is pleased with evil. Sinners can’t stay with you. 5 No one who boasts can stand in your presence, Lord, and you hate evil people. 6 You destroy every liar, and you despise violence and deceit.
7 Because of your great mercy, I come to your house, Lord, and I am filled with wonder as I bow down to worship at your holy temple. 8 You do what is right, and I ask you to guide me. Make your teaching clear because of my enemies.
9 Nothing they say is true! They just want to destroy. Their words are deceitful like a hidden pit, and their tongues are good only for telling lies. 10 Punish them, God, and let their own plans bring their downfall. Get rid of them! They keep committing crimes and turning against you.
11 Let all who run to you for protection always sing joyful songs. Provide shelter for those who truly love you and let them rejoice. 12 Our Lord, you bless those who live right, and you shield them with your kindness.
(A psalm by David for the music leader. Use stringed instruments.[f])
A Prayer in Time of Trouble
6 Don’t punish me, Lord, or even correct me when you are angry! 2 Have pity on me and heal my feeble body. My bones tremble with fear, 3 and I am in deep distress. How long will it be?
4 Turn and come to my rescue. Show your wonderful love and save me, Lord. 5 If I die, I cannot praise you or even remember you. 6 My groaning has worn me out. At night my bed and pillow are soaked with tears. 7 Sorrow has made my eyes dim, and my sight has failed because of my enemies.
8 You, Lord, heard my crying, and those hateful people had better leave me alone. 9 You have answered my prayer and my plea for mercy. 10 My enemies will be ashamed and terrified, as they quickly run away in complete disgrace.
16 While Paul was waiting in Athens, he was upset to see all the idols in the city. 17 He went to the Jewish meeting place to speak to the Jews and to anyone who worshiped with them. Day after day he also spoke to everyone he met in the market. 18 Some of them were Epicureans[a] and some were Stoics,[b] and they started arguing with him.
People were asking, “What is this know-it-all trying to say?”
Some even said, “Paul must be preaching about foreign gods! That’s what he means when he talks about Jesus and about people rising from death.”[c]
19 They brought Paul before a council called the Areopagus, and said, “Tell us what your new teaching is all about. 20 We have heard you say some strange things, and we want to know what you mean.”
21 More than anything else the people of Athens and the foreigners living there loved to hear and to talk about anything new. 22 So Paul stood up in front of the council and said:
People of Athens, I see that you are very religious. 23 As I was going through your city and looking at the things you worship, I found an altar with the words, “To an Unknown God.” You worship this God, but you don’t really know him. So I want to tell you about him. 24 This God made the world and everything in it. He is Lord of heaven and earth, and he doesn’t live in temples built by human hands. 25 He doesn’t need help from anyone. He gives life, breath, and everything else to all people. 26 From one person God made all nations who live on earth, and he decided when and where every nation would be.
27 God has done all this, so that we will look for him and reach out and find him. He isn’t far from any of us, 28 and he gives us the power to live, to move, and to be who we are. “We are his children,” just as some of your poets have said.
29 Since we are God’s children, we must not think that he is like an idol made out of gold or silver or stone. He isn’t like anything that humans have thought up and made. 30 In the past, God forgave all this because people did not know what they were doing. But now he says that everyone everywhere must turn to him. 31 He has set a day when he will judge the world’s people with fairness. And he has chosen the man Jesus to do the judging for him. God has given proof of this to all of us by raising Jesus from death.
32 As soon as the people heard Paul say that a man had been raised from death, some of them started laughing. Others said, “We will hear you talk about this some other time.” 33 When Paul left the council meeting, 34 some of the men put their faith in the Lord and went with Paul. One of them was a council member named Dionysius. A woman named Damaris and several others also put their faith in the Lord.
17.18Epicureans: People who followed the teaching of a man named Epicurus, who taught that happiness should be the main goal in life.
17.18Stoics: Followers of a man named Zeno, who taught that people should learn self-control and be guided by their consciences.
17.18people rising from death: Or “a goddess named ‘Rising from Death.’”
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