the pits

Mar 3, 2023


Psalms are often overlooked in the daily diet of Mass scriptures. These ancient hymns hold a place of great esteem in the Christian life since they were prayers that Jesus knew by heart and prayed daily from memory.

There is a psalm for every human experience and emotion, for joy and for grief, for pain and loss, for tentative curiosity and for confident hope.

There are psalms to express delight, gratitude and excitement.

There are psalms for people who have been robbed of reputation and psalms for those who are unjustly slandered and physically attacked.

Some psalms express the suffering of one abandoned by friends and others well up from the depths of loneliness and insecurity.

Today’s psalm is often referred to as the De Profundis, from the Latin for the opening cry: “Out of the depths I cry to you O Lord.”

Every healthy person feels down at times. In our lowest moments we can fear that the darkness will not pass.

I am greatly comforted at such times knowing that my feelings are not necessarily a sign that something is wrong. I’m especially encouraged knowing that Jesus has been there before me, and that even the most confident, successful and happy people I know at time feels as though they are in the pits.

Our Christian faith is about facing reality however difficult and unwelcome that reality is. While there is nothing wrong with taking opportunities to lift a mood by calling a friend, at other times, perhaps in the middle of the night, we will be alone and there is no easy relief or escape.

Such moments are a privileged opportunities for knowing the presence of Jesus. When we turn to him he responds with assurance that we are not alone, reminding us that the darkest hours are closest to the dawn.

Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord,
Lord, hear my voice!
O let your ears be attentive
to the voice of my pleading.

If you, O Lord, should mark our guilt,
Lord, who would survive?
But with you is found forgiveness:
for this we revere you.

My soul is waiting for the Lord.
I count on his word.
My soul is longing for the Lord
more than watchman for daybreak.
(Let the watchman count on daybreak
and Israel on the Lord.)

Because with the Lord there is mercy
and fullness of redemption,
Israel indeed he will redeem
from all its iniquity.

Glory be to the Father,
and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit
as it was in the beginning,
is now and every shall be
world without end


Psalms for every situation:
Click on the psalm number to pray the psalm.

When Afraid
Psalm 27, Psalm 56

When Anxious
Psalm 46

When Disaster Threatens
Psalm 34, Psalm 91, Psalm 121

When Discouraged
Psalm 23, Psalm 37, Psalm 42, Psalm 55, Psalm 90

When Facing a Crisis
Psalm 34, Psalm 46, Psalm 118, Psalm 121

When Friends Fail
Psalm 27, Psalm 121

When Leaving Home
Psalm 27, Psalm 35

When Needing God’s Protection
Psalm 27, Psalm 62, Psalm 91, Psalm 139 Psalm 88

When Needing Inward Peace
Psalm 37, Psalm 85

When Needing Prayer
Psalm 4, Psalm 6, Psalm 20, Psalm 22, Psalm 25, Psalm 42, Psalm 51

When Sick
Psalm 32, Psalm 38, Psalm 91

When We Sin
Psalm 6, Psalm 51, Psalm 139

When Sorrowing
Psalm 40, Psalm 42, Psalm 43, Psalm 51

When Tempted
Psalm 1, Psalm 73, Psalm 101, Psalm 110, Psalm 139

When Thankful
Psalm 65, Psalm 84, Psalm 92, Psalm 95, Psalm 100, Psalm 103, Psalm 116, Psalm 136, Psalm 147

When in Trouble
Psalm 2, Psalm 16, Psalm 31, Psalm 34, Psalm 37, Psalm 38, Psalm 40, Psalm 139

When Weary
Psalm 6, Psalm 27, Psalm 55, Psalm 60, Psalm 90


  1. This is a good list to download and pin on the notice board. My favorite is psalm 139 which tends to cover all conditions.

  2. Eyes damp with reassurance and comfort after one of my favourite psalms to end this reflection…… all will be well and all manner of things are well (well sort of ;))

  3. I’ve listed the suggestions now have to ensure I use these Psalms. Thank you Father. I also enjoy Joy Cowley’ s feed back. Another fine example of how I should extend my prayer life.

  4. Psalm 121 for me, “I look to the hills, from where shall come my help? My help will come from the Lord”
    Thank you for the list… I shall use it.

  5. Thanks for this post John. I agree with Joy and will be printing the list and pinning it to the notice board

  6. I appreciate your timely list of psalms. It gives me great comfort. Thank you

  7. Psalm 139 – lyrics and music – a beautiful hymn.

  8. The list was timely for me too. Thank you for the daily posts.

  9. Perfect timing for me with my daughters first anniversary approaching. Thank you Fr John

  10. Your reflection today is a gift from God which will endure. Thank you, Father John.

    • Thank you Fr John. I felt overwhelmed when l read today’s Psalm. There really is mercy with the Lord. Thank you for the Psalms for all situations.

  11. Amen thank you Father John for Psalms such an inspiration to know

  12. No room for Psalm 88? 🙂

  13. I also will be printing this off. Wonderful guide for me personally and will be very useful in my work. Thank you John

  14. To have a remedy for the pots and a remedy for the joyous and then everything in between us our gifts of the psalms.
    To know on Christ that all will be well is our Christian faith.
    Thank you Fr john.

  15. Thanks for the affirmation. Thanks for the extra information for reference. Psalm 23 is my middle-of-the-night medicine.

  16. I did not know we have had a Spiritual help directory service for so long ! Thank you for your great words and for sharing.

  17. Thank you Father John. My mother is very ill and I really needed to read this tonight. Her hospital room looks out on some hills and yesterday I thought “I lift up my eyes to the hills from where my help comes.” What a gift the psalms are!

  18. What a brilliant idea – will share with the parish on FB and run a print too, thanks John.

  19. Tks for the list Father. Very helpful. God bless.


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