One of my favorite pastime activities since the days of my youth has been reading the Bible and pointing out verses that suit specific seasons.
During the recently passed Lent, one of my Bible study group members asked me what verses in the Book of Psalms they could use for prayer.
As an experienced theologian with a deep understanding of the Bible, you can imagine how happy I was to share my sentiments.
I thought I’d share these verses with those of you who are also wondering which Psalms are the best to read during Lent.
5 Best Psalms to Read for Lent
“Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath. Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am faint; heal me, Lord, for my bones are in agony. My soul is in deep anguish. How long, Lord, how long?”
This is the first out of the seven Penitential Psalms. It is David’s lament for forgiveness after sinning and is mainly read on Ash Wednesday.
You should pray in confidence that God will forgive you, just like David did.
“Blessed is the one whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the one whose sin the Lord does not count against them and in whose spirit is no deceit.”
In this chapter, the Psalmist explains the joys of having your sins forgiven and the horror of living with your sins in secret.
This is a Psalm call to confess your sins to experience the joy of being freed from guilt.
“Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger or discipline me in your wrath. Your arrows have pierced me, and your hand has come down on me. Because of your wrath there is no health in my body; there is no soundness in my bones because of my sin. My guilt has overwhelmed me like a burden too heavy to bear.”
This chapter shows the effects of David’s sins. He is burdened with guilt and knows that the Lord is displeased with his actions.
Read this Psalm as a guide on how to ask the Lord for forgiveness when you feel like He is angry with you.
“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.”
Psalm 51 is David’s lament asking the Lord to purify his heart after he committed adultery with Bathsheba. It shows us how to ask God for forgiveness after sinning.
“Hear my prayer, Lord; let my cry for help come to you. Do not hide your face from me when I am in distress. Turn your ear to me; when I call, answer me quickly.”
The Psalmist begs the Lord to hear his prayer in agony and explains the torture brought upon Jerusalem when the Lord is angry with them.
This Psalm is a good example of how to ask for forgiveness amidst your suffering.
Can You Read These Psalms on Other Days?
Some Christians propose that these days, these psalms can be read whenever one wants to repent and ask God for forgiveness as opposed to before when you could only pray them during Lent.
They base this on the argument that these Psalms offer a blueprint to follow when asking for God’s forgiveness. On days when you may not have the words to express how remorseful you are for a sin you committed, you can turn to these Psalms and use them as your prayers when asking for forgiveness.
How Do You Use the Psalms to Pray for Lent?
Most theologians dictate that the preferred way to pray the Psalms for Lent is as follows: If you are reciting all the seven Penitential Psalms together, start with an antiphon then recite the first Penitential Psalm, say Glory be,” Glory to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit as it was in the beginning, as it is now, and will be forever, world without end.
Amen” then recite the next Psalm. Keep saying Glory be between each Psalm, and at the end, repeat the same antiphon you said in the beginning.
If you are only reciting one Psalm, simply start with an antiphon and end with Glory be.
Can You Read These Psalms Everyday Through Lent?
According to most theologians, these psalms were traditionally prayed daily throughout Lent. Presently, most Christians believe that these Psalms can be prayed anytime aside from Lent.
Some choose to pray all seven Psalms daily, one each Friday, one on each day of the week, and some even choose to pray them according to the sins they primarily address.
As a theologian, I have always been curious to learn more about the Christian Faith. That is why I pursued a Certificate in Christian Studies, Certificate in Christian Foundations and a Masters in Theology. I also have an immersive experience in editing for numerous websites. I have worked as an editor for over a decade and am currently the editor-in-chief at Christian Faith Guide. I enjoy working as an editor and feel privileged to share my expertise and help spread God’s word. You can read more about me on the about us page.