140 Lord, save me from people who are evil.
Protect me from those who are cruel,
2 from those who plan to do evil
and always cause trouble.
3 Their words are as harmful as the fangs of a snake,
as deadly as its venom. Selah
4 Lord, save me from the wicked!
Protect me from these cruel people who plan to hurt me.
5 These proud people are trying to trap me.
They spread nets to catch me;
they set traps in my path. Selah
6 Lord, you are my God.
Lord, listen to my prayer.
7 My Lord God, you are the powerful one who saves me.
You protect my head in battle.
8 Lord, don’t let the wicked have what they want.
Don’t let their plans succeed. Selah
9 My enemies are planning trouble for me.
Lord, make that trouble fall on them.
10 Pour burning coals on their heads.
Throw them into the fire.
Throw them into pits they can never escape.
11 Don’t let those cruel liars enjoy success here.
Let disaster hunt them down.
12 I know the Lord will provide justice for the poor
and will defend the helpless.
13 Those who do what is right will praise your name;
those who are honest will live in your presence.
141 Lord, I call to you for help.
Listen to me as I pray.
Please hurry and help me!
2 Accept my prayer like a gift of burning incense,
the words I lift up like an evening sacrifice.
3 Lord, help me control what I say.
Don’t let me say anything bad.
4 Take away any desire to do evil.
Keep me from joining the wicked in doing wrong.
Help me stay away from their feasts.
5 If good people correct me,
I will consider it a good thing.
If they criticize me,
I will accept it like a warm welcome.[a]
But my prayer will always be against the wicked and the evil they do.
6 Let their judges be put to death.[b]
Then everyone will know that I told the truth.
7 Like rocks in a field that a farmer has plowed,
so our bones will be scattered in the grave.
8 My Lord God, I look to you for help.
I look to you for protection; don’t let me die.
9 Those evil people are trying to trap me.
Don’t let me fall into their traps.
10 Let the wicked fall into their own traps,
while I walk away unharmed.
142 I cry out to the Lord.
I beg the Lord to help me.
2 I tell him my problems;
I tell him about my troubles.
3 I am ready to give up.
But you, Lord, know the path I am on,
and you know that my enemies have set a trap for me.
4 I look around,
and I don’t see anyone I know.
I have no place to run.
There is no one to save me.
5 Lord, I cry out to you for help:
“You are my place of safety.
You are all I need in life.”
6 Listen to my prayer.
I am so weak.
Save me from those who are chasing me.
They are stronger than I am.
7 Help me escape this trap,[c]
so that I can praise your name.
Then good people will celebrate with me,
because you took care of me.
14 Love should be the goal of your life, but you should also want to have the gifts that come from the Spirit. And the gift you should want most is to be able to prophesy. 2 I will explain why. Those who have the gift of speaking in a different language are not speaking to people. They are speaking to God. No one understands them—they are speaking secret things through the Spirit. 3 But those who prophesy are speaking to people. They help people grow stronger in faith, and they give encouragement and comfort. 4 Those who speak in a different language are helping only themselves. But those who prophesy are helping the whole church.
5 I would like all of you to have the gift of speaking in different languages. But what I want more is for you to prophesy. Anyone who prophesies is more important than those who can only speak in different languages. However, if they can also interpret those languages, they are as important as the one who prophesies. If they can interpret, then the church can be helped by what they say.
6 Brothers and sisters, will it help you if I come to you speaking in different languages? No, it will help you only if I bring you a new truth or some knowledge, prophecy, or teaching. 7 This is true even with lifeless things that make sounds—like a flute or a harp. If the different musical notes are not made clear, you can’t understand what song is being played. Each note must be played clearly for you to be able to understand the tune. 8 And in a war, if the trumpet does not sound clearly, the soldiers will not know it is time to prepare for fighting.
9 It is the same with you. If you don’t speak clearly in a language people know, they cannot understand what you are saying. You will be talking to the air! 10 It is true that there are many different languages in the world, and they all have meaning. 11 But if I don’t understand the meaning of what someone is saying, it will just be strange sounds to me, and I will sound just as strange to them. 12 That’s why you who want spiritual gifts so much should prefer those gifts that help the church grow stronger.
13 So those who have the gift of speaking in a different language should pray that they can also interpret what they say. 14 If I pray in a different language, my spirit is praying, but my mind does nothing. 15 So what should I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind. I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind. 16 You might be praising God with your spirit. But someone there without understanding cannot say “Amen” to your prayer of thanks, because they don’t know what you are saying. 17 You may be thanking God in a good way, but others are not helped.
18 I thank God that my gift of speaking in different kinds of languages is greater than any of yours. 19 But in the church meetings I would rather speak five words that I understand than thousands of words in a different language. I would rather speak with my understanding, so that I can teach others.
20 Brothers and sisters, don’t think like children. In evil things be like babies, but in your thinking you should be like full-grown adults.