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Penitential Psalms

From as early as the time of Origen (AD 184—253) and Augustine (AD 354—430), the penitential psalms were set apart for liturgical use in the Christian church for the confession of sin and repentance. Medieval Pope Innocent III (AD 1161—1216) ordered that the penitential psalms be recited during Lent and Holy Week. The Roman Breviary, an ancient service book of the priests of the Roman Catholic Church, provided a special place for the penitential psalms. Likewise, the Church of England’s Book of Common Prayer designates the penitential psalms as appropriate for use on Ash Wednesday and in other Lenten prayer services.

There are seven penitential Psalms. Perhaps you could use them through this Lenten season of preparation, penitence, and pursuance. 

Try reading them from different translations to help you reflect with fresh eyes.

If you prefer to listen, we have added some suggested songs of the Pslams. We have tried to pick a variety of styles of music. Click the links below to try them. If you don’t like any of them there are several ‘psalm projects’ that have been producing the Psalms as songs.

We would love to hear how you pray, listen, sing, these Psalms. And how the Lord speaks to you and stirs your heart. Send us you reflections, or links to resources/songs you have found helpful: [email protected]

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