1    I said, ‘I will keep watch over my ways,  

so that I offend not with my tongue.

2    ‘I will guard my mouth with a muzzle,  

while the wicked are in my sight.’

3    So I held my tongue and said nothing;  

I kept silent but to no avail.

4    My distress increased, my heart grew hot within me;  

while I mused, the fire was kindled

    and I spoke out with my tongue:

5    ‘Lord, let me know my end and the number of my days,  

that I may know how short my time is.

6    ‘You have made my days but a handsbreadth,

    and my lifetime is as nothing in your sight;  

truly, even those who stand upright are but a breath.

7    ‘We walk about like a shadow

    and in vain we are in turmoil;  

we heap up riches and cannot tell who will gather them.

8    ‘And now, what is my hope?  

Truly my hope is even in you.

9    ‘Deliver me from all my transgressions  

and do not make me the taunt of the fool.’

10  I fell silent and did not open my mouth,  

for surely it was your doing.

11  Take away your plague from me;  

I am consumed by the blows of your hand.

12  With rebukes for sin you punish us;

    like a moth you consume our beauty;  

truly, everyone is but a breath.

13  Hear my prayer, O Lord, and give ear to my cry;  

hold not your peace at my tears.

14  For I am but a stranger with you,  

a wayfarer, as all my forebears were.

15  Turn your gaze from me, that I may be glad again,  

before I go my way and am no more.


Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England, material from which is included here,
is copyright © The Archbishops' Council 2000 and published by Church House Publishing.

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Source URL: https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/worship-texts-and-resources/common-worship/common-material/psalter/psalm-39