Guide to Psalm & Scripture Vigil
Chanting Our Way Home
The following Psalm resources can be printed out for bedside visits or for your own daily life. You may only want to print a few pages. This Psalm collection includes shortened passages to make it easier to absorb when ill or dying.
The Story of a Psalm Vigil
Over 50 years ago I was deeply moved in a monastery by a Psalm prayer vigil for a young monk who suddenly died. Psalms were chanted throughout the night. The monks entered the chapel in twos, each twosome sitting for one or two hours all night long. I sat with them.
At sunrise, the shock of death gave way to a glorious celebration of light as the rising sun brought healing into the new day. This surprise of joy and freedom from sorrow is a highlighted memory I have held in my heart for 50 years.
A few years back when my elder client died, I adapted the monks’ vigil for a 3 hour bedside prayer. As Healing Companion, I spoke & sang Psalms aloud, alternating with her caregiver as we paused to talk to our client, thank her for the years we spent with her. Deep peace shrouded the room.
If the Psalms are helpful, you may want to laminate some of the pages. Or you can skip around the various selections to find what fits for you, adapt the materials to suit anyone including yourself, and even sing them. If you are tending someone for long hours, you might include inspirational poetry, prayer or scripture passages. In daily life, you can even use these readings with a friend who might need encouragement.
To begin. The very best thing you can do: Be the light for someone, including yourself.
Psalms & Scriptures for a 3 hour Vigil, Guideline Introduction: Part 1
Refrains interspersed with Psalm verses recited two or three times
1. Recite psalm verses slowly.
2. Repeat a phrase several times if it seems particularly meaningful.
3. Ask inwardly for your own refrain to be recited aloud or silently between phrases, one that brings the Divine Presence close to you and the one you love. 4. The refrain can be coordinated with your breathing or that of your loved one. Try approximately 7 or 8 syllables more or less when repeating this as a breath prayer. Use the suggested refrains below or make new ones.
Inspired Refrains or Breath Prayers:
1. Prince of Peace (breathe in)
Wonderful Counselor (breathe out)
2. Prince of Peace (breathe in)
Illumine my mind (breathe out)
Prince of Peace
Illumine my heart
Prince of Peace
Illumine my soul
3. Prince of Peace
4. Prince of Peace/open our hearts
Prince of Peace/heal our souls
Prince of Peace/calm our minds
Prince of Peace/ fill our spirits
Prince of Peace/ Lord have mercy
Singing or Speaking the Psalms
Ps 50:3 Our God comes Note: can repeat several times
he does not keep silence
Ps 51:6 Teach me wisdom
in my secret heart
Ps 51:8 Fill me with joy and gladness Note: Breath prayer: Breathe in joy Breathe out gladness
Note: long Psalms are optional,
short may be better
Ps 51:12 Restore to me the joy of thy
Uphold me with a
Ps 52:8 I trust in the steadfast love
of God for ever and ever.
Ps 54:4 Behold, God is my helper
Thou hast delivered me
from every trouble
Ps 55:6 O that I had wings like a dove
I would fly away and be at rest
Ps 55:18 He will deliver my soul in safety
from the battle that I wage
Ps 55:22 Cast your burden on the Lord
and he will sustain you
Ps 56:3 When I am afraid
I put my trust in thee
Ps 56:4 In God I trust without fear
What can flesh do to me?
Ps 56:9 This I know, that God is for me.
In God, whose word I praise
Ps 56:13 That I may walk before God
in the light of life.
Ps 57:1 In the shadow of thy wings
I will take refuge
till the storms of destruction pass by
Ps 57:2 I cry to God Most High
to God who fulfills his purpose for me
Ps 57:3 He will send from heaven
and save me
Ps 59:9 O my Strength, I will sing
praises to thee
for thou O God, art my fortress
Ps 59:10 My God in his steadfast love
will meet me;
my God will let me look
in triumph on my enemies
Ps 59:16 I will sing of thy might
I will sing aloud of thy steadfast
love in the morning
Ps 61:2 Lead thou me
to the rock that is higher than I
For thou art my refuge
a strong tower against my enemy
Ps 62:1 For God alone my soul
waits in silence...
my fortress; I shall not
be greatly moved
Ps 63:3 Because thy steadfast love
is better than life
my lips will praise thee
Ps 63:7 In the shadow of thy wings
I sing for joy
Ps 46:10 Be still and know
that I am God
Ps 65:4 Blessed is he whom thou
and bring near
Ps 66:2 Sing the glory of his name
give to him glorious praise!
Ps 67:1 May God be gracious to us and bless us
and make his face to shine upon us
Ps 68:3 Let them be jubilant with joy!
Ps 68:19 Blessed be the Lord
who daily bears us up
Ps 69:2-3 I have come into deep waters
and the flood sweeps over me.
I am weary of crying;
my throat is parched
my eyes grow dim
with waiting for my God.
Ps 32:6-7 At a time of distress in the rush
of great waters, they shall not reach him.
Ps 69:32 You who seek God
let your hearts revive
Ps 70:1 Be pleased, O God, to deliver me!
O Lord make haste to help me!
Ps 71:5,6 For thou, O Lord, art my hope...
Upon thee I have leaned from my birth
Ps 71:8 My mouth is filled with thy praise,
and with thy glory all the day
Ps 71:9 Do not cast me off in the time
of old age;
forsake me not when my strength
Ps71:14 I will hope continually
and praise thee yet more and more.
Ps 71:20 Thou who hast made me see
many sore troubles
wilt revive me again...
Ps 71:21 Thou wilt increase my honor
and comfort me again.
Ps 73:25 ...there is nothing upon earth
that I desire beside thee
Ps 73:26 My flesh and my heart may fail
but God is the strength of
and my portion forever.
Ps 73:28 But for me it is good
to be near God
Ps 84:1 How lovely is thy dwelling place,
O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, yea, faints
for the courts of the Lord;
My heart and flesh sing for joy
to the living God.
ISA 55:12 For you shall go out with joy,
and be led forth with peace...
ISA 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord…
For you shall go out with joy,
and be led forth with peace...
ISA 60:19-20 The sun shall be no more thy light by day;
neither for brightness shall the moon give light to thee;
but the Lord shall be to thee an everlasting light,
and thy God thy glory...
60:21...for the Lord shall be thy everlasting light,
and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.
ISA 58:8 Then shall thy light break forth like the morning...
ISA 58:11 ...then shall thy light rise in darkness,
and thy gloom be as the noonday:
and the Lord shall guide thee continually,
and satisfy thy soul...
and thou shalt be like a watered garden,
and like a spring of water,
whose waters fail not.
ISA 61:1-3 The spirit of the Lord God is upon me...
he has sent me to bind up the broken hearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives...
to give them a garland instead of ashes,
the oil of joy instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of the spirit of
ISA 60:1 Arise, shine; for thy light is come,
and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee.
Ps 84:10 For a day in thy courts is better
than a thousand elsewhere.
Ps 84:11 For the Lord God is a sun and a shield
he bestows favor and honor.
Ps 85:8 ...he will speak peace...
to those who turn to him in their hearts
Ps 86:4 Gladden the soul of thy servant,
for to thee, O Lord, do I lift up my soul.
Ps 86:5 For thou, O Lord, art good and forgiving,
abounding in steadfast love
to all who call on thee.
Ps 86:7 In the day of my trouble I call on thee,
for thou dost answer me.
Ps 86:12 I give thanks to thee, O Lord my God,
with my whole heart
and I will glorify thy name forever.
Ps 87:7 Singers and dancers alike say,
"All my springs are in you."
Ps 89:9 Thou dost rule the raging of the sea;
when its waves rise, thou stillest them.
Ps 89:20 With my holy oil I have anointed him;
so that my hand shall ever abide with him,
my arm also shall strengthen him.
Ps 90:12 So teach us to number our days
that we may get a heart of wisdom
Ps 90:14 Satisfy us in the morning
with thy steadfast love,
that we may rejoice and
be glad all our days.
Ps 91 He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High,
who abides in the shadow of the Almighty,
will say to the Lord, "My refuge and my fortress;
my God, in whom I trust."
You will not fear the terror of the night,
nor the arrow that flies by day,
nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.
Because you have made the Lord your refuge,
the Most High your habitation,
no evil shall befall you,
no scourge come near your tent.
For he will give his angels charge of you
to guard you in all your ways…
Because he cleaves to me in love,
I will deliver him;
I will protect him, because he knows my name.
When he calls to me, I will answer him;
I will be with him in trouble,
I will rescue him and honor him.
With long life I will satisfy him,
and show him my salvation.
Ps 92 Thou hast poured over me fresh oil...
Ps 93:1 The Lord reigns; he is robed in majesty;
Ps 93:4 Mightier than the thunders of many waters,
mightier than the waves of the sea,
the Lord on high is mighty!
Ps 94:19 When the cares of my heart are many,
thy consolations cheer my soul.
95:1 O come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise
to the rock of our salvation!
95:2 Let us come into his presence with
let us make a joyful noise to him
with songs of praise!
95:6 O come, let us worship and bow down,
let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker!
96:1 O sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth!
Sing to the Lord, bless his name;
tell of his salvation from day to day.
96:4 For great is the Lord and greatly to be
96:6 Honor and majesty are before him;
strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
96:7 Ascribe to the Lord glory and strength!
96:10 Say among the nations,
"The Lord reigns!"
96:11-13 Let the heavens be glad,
and let the earth rejoice;
let the sea roar, and all that fills it;
let the field exult, and everything in it!
96:11-13 then shall all the trees of the wood
sing for joy
before the Lord, for he comes,...
97:11 Light dawns for the righteous,
and joy for the upright in heart.
Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous,
and give thanks to his holy name!