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.