From God's fullness we have all received, grace upon grace
A Booklet of Randomised Psalms

A Booklet of Randomised Psalms

The psalms were the prayer book of Jesus; from the temptations to the cross, he often quoted from them. They express all human emotion, from praise and trust to fury and desolation, and the many ways in which God works in our lives. Nothing can be hidden from God (see Psalm 139) and God can deal with anything the psalmist or any of us might want to vent. So the psalms are a deep well to draw from in our personal relationship with God and our intercession on behalf of others.

I prefer to pray without too many words, and usually practise Centring Prayer. But sometimes I feel the need to add words of sacred poetry, and turn to the psalms. I used to turn to the Church of England’s Daily Prayer app to find the set psalm, or go through the psalter numerically. But neither method was satisfactory. Although in using Daily Prayer I would be praying the psalm alongside others, it doesn’t include the whole psalter and the lectionary cycle is a mystery. And the numerical cycle felt like a bit of a plod. Plus when it got interrupted I used to start again at the beginning, so I never really ran through the whole gamut.

So I made this booklet. I randomised the numbers 1-150, took the text from an inclusive version of the psalter available online, and reorganised it according to my new series. And added page numbers and an index for reference. Note that it is a bit of a tome to print. In the Adobe Reader print screen, select Booklet with left binding. Set your printer to print A4 on both sides, flipping on the short edge. I guillotined the pages to A5, punched holes, and popped them in an A5 binder. As a booklet I use a piece of card that is slightly longer than the A5 height, also hole-punched, with slits cut through to the holes so I can move it easily without cracking the binder rings.

Now I am not really sure which psalm is coming up next. Each is unexpected and unfamiliar in its context. Psalm 135, a psalm of praise, is followed by Psalm 22: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me.” I don’t know whether today’s psalm will speak to me, or whether I am praying it for others. It is an invitation to slow down and be attentive to the words, to read contemplatively, perhaps to try to memorise and take the psalm through the day.

I do sometimes miss praying the Daily Office in community, with the whole psalter on a four-week cycle. That is the best way for psalms to sink into the unconscious, so that they are available to be called on at opportune times. But this randomised booklet works for me at present, so I offer these thoughts in the hope that it might be helpful to others – please get in touch.

Source: The Psalter of The Book of Alternative Services, GS2016, Anglican Church of Canada