Psalm 119 is a long one, with twenty-two eight-verse segments. In the original Hebrew, each segment begins with a letter of the Hebrew alphabet, in order from the first letter of the alphabet, making it an acrostic psalm. It is wide-ranging, repetitive, and structured--all of which can make it feel overwhelming.
I appreciate, then, how liturgical uses can help us find a worshipful center to the psalm. Here are the words of three different sung responses often used responsively with Psalm 119 in worship:
- O Lord, my delight, my delight is in your law.
- Order my steps in your word. Please, order my steps in your word.
- Grant me understanding, that I may live.
I invite you to choose one of these responses tonight. Take a moment to commit it to memory. Find a quiet place where you can close your eyes and relax your mind and body. Pay attention to your breath for several beats. Then bring to mind the words of your chosen response. Meditate on those words, and breathe again. Repeat the words and attentiveness to your breathing until you feel a prayer rise up in you, and let that prayer close your time of centering in God's word.
May God bless your night and your sleep.