Psalm 139 from King David: the text of the prayer in Russian, the rules of reading
I have been studying psalms and prayers for a long time. Today I would like to elaborate on psalm 139.
I will tell its meaning, the story of its appearance and the rules of reading.
Purpose of the Psalms
Psalms are songs of praise or sacred prayer chants written according to the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. There are many of them and they are all enclosed in one book — the Psalter, which is part of the Bible.
Psalms are special texts that are not read, but are sung in a special way. Specific monotony, melodiousness in a special way affects people — and those who sing them, and those who listen.
The result of this impact is a kind of peace, detachment from problems and passions, bliss. At the same time, the soul rises above worldly concerns, soaring in the heavens.
Athanasius of Alexandria even wrote a work on this subject, highlighting in it especially the fact that the soul is healed from the singing of psalms. Another well-known Christian ascetic Efim Sirin noted that singing psalms drives away the devil, and the psalms themselves are an excellent remedy for nightmare, from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, a guardian for infants and consolation for the old.
The psalms make the holidays even brighter, and if sadness appears in sacred texts, then it is godly sorrow, not despondency, which is a sin. When singing psalms can melt even the most hard heart.
For the mind, psalms are enlightenment, and for the soul, joy.
What is the difference between a psalm and a prayer?
Psalms are sacred prayer texts, they are usually read before the main prayers. Usually, people confine themselves to only reading prayers, while skipping reading psalms.
However, the church recommends and deeply religious people remember this — psalms must go first, then prayer.
It is not by chance that a large number of verses from psalms are included in the divine services held in temples and churches. Psalms may also already enter the prayers themselves.
There are mandatory reading psalms — for example, the 50th penitential psalm, it must be read daily in the morning.
In Orthodoxy for each action has its own special ritual. If reading prayers implies some rules, then there may be a few more when reading psalms. To read the psalms, it is advisable to receive the blessing of the priest.
As soon as they finish reading the Psalter, they start over from the beginning, as it is throughout their life. In such a constant reading is already a kind of feat, because it is — the daily work of a believer.
Especially considering that there are always some forces that are trying to intervene and create obstacles for this.
Before reading the psalms at home it is advised to light a church candle. The fire of a church candle is a kind of substance that purifies the surrounding space.
Fire is generally considered the most mysterious of all four elements. Man has a peculiar multi-faceted relationship with him.
Fire is practically a living organism, it is very stubborn, it needs food and it has an amazing burden to life.
He can give rise to his own kind. In addition, his sometimes militant activity allows for an association with the male principle. The fire is almost absent in the wild, it is a constant companion of human activity.
Fire is always needed by man, but at the same time there is a great danger in it. Based on all this, the attitude of man to fire is also ambiguous. People are afraid of him, but he always attracts them.
In Orthodoxy, fire is considered one of the earthly manifestations of God.
However, even if there are no lit candles when reading psalms, this is not a sin. The most important thing is the right attitude. Beginners can read psalms in Russian, not everyone can immediately learn Church Slavonic.
Reading the psalms, you need to know what they say, the history and circumstances of their writing. If all this is done, then gradually there appears a natural desire to read them in the language in which it is supposed.
If there is a need to interrupt while reading — nothing terrible, then only it will be necessary to continue. However, if possible, it is better to avoid it.
In order to pray for someone while reading, you need to mention the names of these people. It is not allowed to read immediately about repose and about health.
Psalms for different circumstances
The most common mistake is to assume that one has only to start reading psalms and everything in life will return to normal. Psalms are not some kind of magic spell, not magic. Here lies the question of whether a person is able to believe or not.
If there is faith, then psalms will surely help, because they have tremendous power. It is faith that lies at the basis of all Orthodoxy in general, prayers and psalms in particular.
It is believed, and there is repeated evidence that psalms can relieve toothache and headache, contribute to early marriage.
Often people read psalms in difficult life circumstances, asking for protection from ill-wishers. Few people understand that sometimes the most terrible enemies of a person are those who live in himself — pride, hatred, envy and others.
Accordingly, all forces must be thrown precisely at their eradication.
However, this is not the essence of the sacred texts. The most important thing in them is repentance of their sins and giving thanks to God for all his mercies.
People often ask when to read. The priests answer that they first read thanksgiving and glorifying psalms, then penitential, and only then can a psalm be read about intercession or help.
It sometimes happens that, starting to repent, a person comes to understand and realize why this or that difficult situation is sent to him. In conclusion, another psalm of thanksgiving is always read.
Psalm 139 is a song petition. King David, who was his author, experienced hard life circumstances during his writing: captivity, flight from him, persecution, this was accompanied by the constant threat to his life.
The text reflects all the wisdom of King David, laid the correct Christian attitude to life and all its vicissitudes, that is, humility and complete hope in God.
The text also points to the peculiar ingenuity and cunning of David’s enemies. Psalm 139 was written during that period in the life of David, when his son Absalom plotted against him. More specifically — when Absalom gathered an army against his own father, but did not dare to speak, he intrigued, tuned people.
King David remained a silent witness to these intrigues, and, unable to do anything, he was preparing to escape. Most likely, David simply did not believe that his own son could start a war against his father.
This psalm was written in the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew Bibles. It has similarities with 57 and 63 — they are all the same almost to the letter.
Psalm 139 begins sadly enough, since the author is at a dead end and does not see any way out of it. Indeed, during this period King David was overcome by the strongest affliction, and the enemies built constant machinations against him.
For this reason, the author asks for help from God — how to do the right thing. The essence of this psalm is as follows:
- Verses 1-4 — a detailed description of the enemies of King David and their intrigues. Particular emphasis is placed on the fact that the enemies turned against David people from his inner circle. And it did not come from someone else, but from the king’s own son. It is indicated that the main weapon of the enemy is slander, lie.
- Verse 8 is an expression of complete, unconditional trust in God, reliance on him, His wisdom and magnanimity.
- Verse 9 is the ascension of the petition to the Most High. Here the author asks to intercede for him and curb his enemies, but only in the way that pleases God. David himself hopes that all his previous righteous deeds and observance of the word of God will become his protection.
- Verse 12 is an expression of King David’s confidence that he acted all his life according to the will of God. And this gives him the right to hope for intercession.
- Verse 14 is a direct call in praise of God.
In the temples they read this psalm in Church Slavonic language — on weekly services and necessarily twice during Lent. If it is read at home, then it can be done at any time, in Russian.
It is believed that it is especially good to read psalm 139 if there is some injustice from the closest people, work colleagues. Since in this case we are talking about protection from enemies, then Psalm 139 is read 40 times in hard times.
Thus, hope is expressed for his help and wisdom, faith for the best.
It is very good when the whole family listens to this psalm (it can be a live reading or listening to a recording). This is especially suitable when the family is experiencing someone’s harmful pressure from outside.
Also, Psalm 139 is great as a prayer for the head of the family.
- Psalms are sacred texts ascended to God.
- In the Psalter, you can find psalms for any life situation.
- Reading psalms implies adherence to certain rules.
- Psalm 130 is a song-petition, the appeal of King David to God.
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