Psalms of Ascent (Psalms 120-134) There are 150 Psalms, or songs, written to God.  In the Psalms we discover the range of human emotions, processed and taken to God in singing, reflection, and prayer.  These particular excerpts from the Psalms of Ascent are helpful to prayerfully and truthfully prepare you to draw near to God.

(Deuteronomy 16:16-17 ESV)  Three times a year all your males shall appear before the LORD your God at the place that he will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Booths. They shall not appear before the LORD empty-handed. [17] Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD your God that he has given you.

(Psalm 120 ESV)  In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me.  [2] Deliver me, O LORD, from lying lips, from a deceitful tongue.  [3] What shall be given to you, and what more shall be done to you, you deceitful tongue?  [4] A warrior's sharp arrows,     with glowing coals of the broom tree!  [5] Woe to me, that I sojourn in Meshech,  that I dwell among the tents of Kedar! [6] Too long have I had my dwellingamong those who hate peace.  [7] I am for peace,but when I speak, they are for war!

(Psalm 121 ESV)  [121:1] I lift up my eyes to the hills.  From where does my help come?      [2] My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth.  [3] He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber.  [4] Behold, he who keeps Israel     will neither slumber nor sleep.  [5] The LORD is your keeper;  the LORD is your shade on your right hand.  [6] The sun shall not strike you by day,  nor the moon by night. [7] The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. [8] The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.

(Psalm 122 ESV) I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the LORD!”     [2] Our feet have been standing within your gates, O Jerusalem! [3] Jerusalem—built as a city that is bound firmly together, [4] to which the tribes go up, the tribes of the LORD, as was decreed for Israel, to give thanks to the name of the LORD. [5] There thrones for judgment were set, the thrones of the house of David.  [6] Pray for the peace of Jerusalem! “May they be secure who love you! [7] Peace be within your walls and security within your towers!” [8] For my brothers and companions' sake I will say, “Peace be within you!” [9] For the sake of the house of the LORD our God, I will seek your good.

(Psalm 123 ESV) To you I lift up my eyes, O you who are enthroned in the heavens! [2] Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress,  so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he has mercy upon us. [3] Have mercy upon us, O LORD, have mercy upon us, for we have had more than enough of contempt.  [4] Our soul has had more than enough of the scorn of those who are at ease, of the contempt of the proud.

(Psalm 124) If it had not been the LORD who was on our side—let Israel now say—[2] if it had not been the LORD who was on our side when people rose up against us, [3] then they would have swallowed us up alive, when their anger was kindled against us;[4] then the flood would have swept us away, the torrent would have gone over us;      [5] then over us would have gone the raging waters.  [6] Blessed be the LORD, who has not given us as prey to their teeth![7] We have escaped like a bird from the snare of the fowlers; the snare is broken, and we have escaped!  [8] Our help is in the name of the LORD, who made heaven and earth.

(Psalm 125) Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever.  [2] As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people,from this time forth and forevermore. [3] For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest on the land allotted to the righteous, lest the righteous stretch out their hands to do wrong. [4] Do good, O LORD, to those who are good, and to those who are upright in their hearts! [5] But those who turn aside to their crooked ways the LORD will lead away with evildoers!  Peace be upon Israel!

(Psalm 126)  When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion, we were like those who dream. [2] Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The LORD has done great things for them.” [3] The LORD has done great things for us; we are glad.  [4] Restore our fortunes, O LORD, like streams in the Negeb!  [5] Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy! [6] He who goes out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing,  shall come home with shouts of joy, bringing his sheaves with him.

(Psalm 127 ESV) Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.  Unless the LORD watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain. [2] It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep. [3] Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD,     the fruit of the womb a reward. [4] Like arrows in the hand of a warrior are the children of one's youth.     [5] Blessed is the man who fills his quiver with them!  He shall not be put to shame when he speaks with his enemies in the gate.

(Psalm 128 ESV) Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD,  who walks in his ways! [2] You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.  [3] Your wife will be like a fruitful vine     within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table.     [4] Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the LORD. [5] The LORD bless you from Zion!      May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life! [6] May you see your children's children! Peace be upon Israel!

(Psalm 129) “Greatly have they afflicted me from my youth”— let Israel now say— [2] “Greatly have they afflicted me from my youth, yet they have not prevailed against me. [3] The plowers plowed upon my back;  they made long their furrows.” [4] The LORD is righteous;  he has cut the cords of the wicked.  [5] May all who hate Zion be put to shame and turned backward!  [6] Let them be like the grass on the housetops, which withers before it grows up,  [7] with which the reaper does not fill his hand nor the binder of sheaves his arms,     [8] nor do those who pass by say, “The blessing of the LORD be upon you! We bless you in the name of the LORD!”

(Psalm 130) Out of the depths I cry to you, O LORD!  [2] O Lord, hear my voice! Let your ears be attentive to the voice of my pleas for mercy! [3] If you, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand?  [4] But with you there is forgiveness, that you may be feared.  [5] I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; [6] my soul waits for the Lord more than watchmen for the morning,     more than watchmen for the morning. [7] O Israel, hope in the LORD! For with the LORD there is steadfast love, and with him is plentiful redemption.     [8] And he will redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

(Psalm 131 ESV)  [131:1] O LORD, my heart is not lifted up;  my eyes are not raised too high;  I do not occupy myself with things too great and too marvelous for me. [2] But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child is my soul within me.  [3] O Israel, hope in the LORD from this time forth and forevermore.

The Lord Has Chosen Zion – (Psalm 132)       [13] For the LORD has chosen Zion;  he has desired it for his dwelling place: [14] “This is my resting place forever; here I will dwell, for I have desired it. [15] I will abundantly bless her provisions; I will satisfy her poor with bread.  [16] Her priests I will clothe with salvation, and her saints will shout for joy.  [17] There I will make a horn to sprout for David;  I have prepared a lamp for my anointed.      [18] His enemies I will clothe with shame, but on him his crown will shine.”

 (Psalm 133 ESV) Behold, how good and pleasant it is     when brothers dwell in unity!  [2] It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes!  [3] It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion!  For there the LORD has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.

(Psalm 134 ESV)  Come, bless the LORD, all you servants of the LORD, who stand by night in the house of the LORD! [2] Lift up your hands to the holy place and bless the LORD!     [3] May the LORD bless you from Zion, he who made heaven and earth!