A Psalter for Prayer: Annotated Edition

A Psalter for Prayer: Annotated Edition

An Adaptation of the Classic Miles Coverdale Translation

Edited and translated by David James
  • AvailableDigital9780884655015: USD 24.99 , Annotated Edition
Format Detail
Annotated Edition
Jun 22, 2023

— About the Book —

A Psalter for Prayer is the first major English edition to include all the prayers needed to read the Psalter at home according to an Orthodox tradition that reaches back to the time of the desert fathers, known popularly as the 'cell rule'. In addition, the contents include many texts, traditionally printed in Orthodox Psalters, that are not easily found in English, such as the Rite for Singing the Twelve Psalms, directions for reading the Psalter for the Departed and much more.

This annotated edition includes footnotes in the printed form and endnotes in the digital form. These provide additional insight into the translation. A few of the notes are simple source citations. Others are rubrical or informational notes, but most are translator’s notes, intended to help the reader understand why a particular word, phrase or verse is used in this English version to translate the Septuagint Greek of Alfred Rahlfs.

This annotated edition will allow readers to not only judge for themselves the fidelity of A Psalter for Prayer to the received Greek text of the Orthodox Church and to its Latin and Church Slavonic translations, but to better understand how the Psalter as the prayer book of the Church evolved into its present form and what such a book teaches us about the centrality of the psalms in Christian prayer and how to pray them at home and in church.

The Psalms and Nine Biblical Canticles have been adapted from the classic Miles Coverdale translation of the Book of Psalms and the King James Version of the Bible. The text has been carefully edited to agree with the original Greek of the Septuagint, as well as to the Latin and Church Slavonic translations, and has been approved for use within the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia. 

— Contents —

Preface to the Annotated Edition
The Athanasian Creed 
A Brief Summary of the Faith 
The Letter to Marcellinus 
St. Basil the Great on the Psalms 
Sayings of Augustine the Teacher, and Others, on the Power of the Psalms 
A Commentary of Theodoret on the Fifth Psalm 
Extract from St. John Chrysostom’s Panegyric on the Psalms 
For All Who Wish to Chant the Psalter 
How the Psalter Is to Be Said Throughout the Whole Year 
Prayers Before Reading the Psalter 
The First Kathisma 
Psalm 1. Beatus vir, qui non abiit &c. 55 Psalm 2. Quare fremuerunt gentes? 56
Psalm 3. Domine, quid multiplicati? 57 Psalm 4. Cum invocarem 57
Psalm 5. Verba mea auribus 58 Psalm 6. Domine, ne in furore 59
Psalm 7. Domine, Deus meus 60 Psalm 8. Domine, Dominus noster 61
Prayers After Reading the First Kathisma 

The Second Kathisma 
Psalm 9. Confitebor tibi 64 Psalm 10. In Domino confido 67
Psalm 11. Salvum me fac 68 Psalm 12. Usque quo, Domine? 68
Psalm 13. Dixit insipiens 69 Psalm 14. Domine, quis habitabit? 70
Psalm 15. Conserva me, Domine 70 Psalm 16. Exaudi, Domine 71
Prayers After Reading the Second Kathisma 72

The Third Kathisma 
Psalm 17. Diligam te, Domine 74 Psalm 18. Coeli enarrant 78
Psalm 19. Exaudiat te Dominus 79 Psalm 20. Domine, in virtute tua 79
Psalm 21. Deus, Deus meus 81 Psalm 22. Dominus regit me 83
Psalm 23. Domini est terra 83
Prayers After Reading the Third Kathisma 84

The Fourth Kathisma 
Psalm 24. Ad te, Domine, levavi 86 Psalm 25. Judica me, Domine 87
Psalm 26. Dominus illuminatio 88 Psalm 27. Ad te, Domine 90
Psalm 28. Afferte Domino 90 Psalm 29. Exaltabo te, Domine 91
Psalm 30. In te, Domine, speravi 92 Psalm 31. Beati, quorum 94
Prayers After Reading the Fourth Kathisma 95

The Fifth Kathisma 
Psalm 32. Exultate, justi 97 Psalm 33. Benedicam Domino 99
Psalm 34. Judica, Domine 100 Psalm 35. Dixit injustus 102
Psalm 36. Noli æmulari 103
Prayers After Reading the Fifth Kathisma 106

The Sixth Kathisma 
Psalm 37. Domine, ne in furore 108 Psalm 38. Dixi, custodiam 109
Psalm 39. Expectans expectavi 110 Psalm 40. Beatus qui intelligit 112
Psalm 41. Quemadmodum 113 Psalm 42. Judica me, Deus 114
Psalm 43. Deus, auribus 115 Psalm 44. Eructavit cor meum 116
Psalm 45. Deus noster refugium 117
Prayers After Reading the Sixth Kathisma 

The Seventh Kathisma 1
Psalm 46. Omnes gentes, plaudite 120 Psalm 47. Magnus Dominus 121
Psalm 48. Audite hæc, omnes 122 Psalm 49. Deus deorum 123
Psalm 50. Miserere mei, Deus 125 Psalm 51. Quid gloriaris? 126
Psalm 52. Dixit insipiens 127 Psalm 53. Deus, in nomine 128
Psalm 54. Exaudi, Deus 128
Prayers After Reading the Seventh Kathisma 130

The Eighth Kathisma 
Psalm 55. Miserere mei, Deus 132 Psalm 56. Miserere mei, Deus 133
Psalm 57. Si vere utique 134 Psalm 58. Eripe me de inimicis 135
Psalm 59. Deus, repulisti nos 136 Psalm 60. Exaudi, Deus 137
Psalm 61. Nonne Deo? 138 Psalm 62. Deus, Deus meus 139
Psalm 63. Exaudi, Deus 140
Prayers After Reading the Eighth Kathisma 140

The Ninth Kathisma 
Psalm 64. Te decet hymnus 142 Psalm 65. Jubilate Deo 143
Psalm 66. Deus misereatur 144 Psalm 67. Exurgat Deus 145
Psalm 68. Salvum me fac 148 Psalm 69. Deus in adjutorium 150
Prayers After Reading the Ninth Kathisma 151

The Tenth Kathisma 
Psalm 70. In te, Domine, speravi 152 Psalm 71. Deus, judicium 154
Psalm 72. Quam bonus Israel! 155 Psalm 73. Ut quid, Deus? 157
Psalm 74. Confitebimur tibi 159 Psalm 75. Notus in Judæa 160
Psalm 76. Voce mea ad Dominum 161
Prayers After Reading the Tenth Kathisma 162

The Eleventh Kathisma 
Psalm 77. Attendite, popule 165 Psalm 78. Deus, venerunt 170
Psalm 79. Qui regis Israel 171 Psalm 80. Exultate Deo 172
Psalm 81. Deus stetit 173 Psalm 82. Deus, quis similis? 174
Psalm 83. Quam dilecta 175 Psalm 84. Benedixisti, Domine 176
Prayers After Reading the Eleventh Kathisma 177

The Twelfth Kathisma 
Psalm 85. Inclina, Domine 178 Psalm 86. Fundamenta ejus 179
Psalm 87. Domine Deus 180 Psalm 88. Misericordias Domini 181
Psalm 89. Domine, refugium 184 Psalm 90. Qui habitat 186
Prayers After Reading the Twelfth Kathisma 187

The Thirteenth Kathisma 
Psalm 91. Bonum est confiteri 189 Psalm 92. Dominus regnavit 190
Psalm 93. Deus ultionum 190 Psalm 94. Venite, exultemus Domino 192
Psalm 95. Cantate Domino 193 Psalm 96. Dominus regnavit 194
Psalm 97. Cantate Domino 195 Psalm 98. Dominus regnavit 196
Psalm 99. Jubilate Deo 196 Psalm 100. Misericordiam et judicium 197
Prayers After Reading the Thirteenth Kathisma 197

The Fourteenth Kathisma 
Psalm 101. Domine, exaudi 199 Psalm 102. Benedic, anima mea 201
Psalm 103. Benedic, anima mea 202 Psalm 104. Confitemini Domino 205
Prayers After Reading the Fourteenth Kathisma 207

The Fifteenth Kathisma 
Psalm 105. Confitemini Domino 209 Psalm 106. Confitemini Domino 212
Psalm 107. Paratum cor meum 215 Psalm 108. Deus laudem 216
Prayers After Reading the Fifteenth Kathisma 218

The Sixteenth Kathisma 
Psalm 109. Dixit Dominus 220 Psalm 110. Confitebor Domino 220
Psalm 111. Beatus vir 221 Psalm 112. Laudate, pueri 222
Psalm 113. In exitu Israel 223 Psalm 114. Dilexi, quoniam 224
Psalm 115. Credidi 225 Psalm 116. Laudate, Dominum 226
Psalm 117. Confitemini Domino 226
Prayers After Reading the Sixteenth Kathisma 228

The Seventeenth Kathisma 
Psalm 118. Beati immaculati 229
Prayers After Reading the Seventeenth Kathisma 241

The Eighteenth Kathisma 
Psalm 119. Ad Dominum 243 Psalm 120. Levabo oculos 243
Psalm 121. Lætatus sum 244 Psalm 122. Ad te levavi oculos meos 244
Psalm 123. Nisi quia Dominus 245 Psalm 124. Qui confidunt 246
Psalm 125. In convertendo 246 Psalm 126. Nisi Dominus 247
Psalm 127. Beati omnes 247 Psalm 128. Sæpe expugnaverunt 248
Psalm 129. De profundis 249 Psalm 130. Domine, non est 249
Psalm 131. Memento, Domine 249 Psalm 132. Ecce, quam bonum! 251
Psalm 133. Ecce nunc 251
Prayers After Reading the Eighteenth Kathisma 251

The Nineteenth Kathisma 
Psalm 134. Laudate Nomen 253 Psalm 135. Confitemini 254
Psalm 136. Super flumina 256 Psalm 137. Confitebor tibi 257
Psalm 138. Domine, probasti 257 Psalm 139. Eripe me, Domine 259
Psalm 140. Domine, clamavi 260 Psalm 141. Voce mea ad Dominum 261
Psalm 142. Domine, exaudi 262
Prayers After Reading the Nineteenth Kathisma 263

The Twentieth Kathisma 
Psalm 143. Benedictus Dominus 264 Psalm 144. Exaltabo te, Deus 265
Psalm 145. Lauda, anima mea 267 Psalm 146. Laudate Dominum 268
Psalm 147. Lauda, Ierusalem 268 Psalm 148. Laudate Dominum 269
Psalm 149. Cantate Domino 270 Psalm 150. Laudate Dominum 271
Psalm 151. Pusillus eram inter fratres meos 
Prayers After Reading the Twentieth Kathisma 

The Canticles 
The First Canticle 275 The Second Canticle 
The Third Canticle 281 The Fourth Canticle 
The Fifth Canticle 285 The Sixth Canticle 
The Seventh Canticle 287 The Eighth Canticle 
The Ninth Canticle 

Prayers After Reading the Psalter 
The Megalynaria & Selected Psalms for the Principal Feasts 
The Rite Chanted Following the Departure of the Soul from the Body 
Reading the Psalter for the Departed 
The Commemoration 
The Rite for Singing the Twelve Psalms 
From the Fathers Concerning the Cell Rule 
The Hymn of St. Ambrose, Bishop of Milan 
Appendix: The Numbering of the Psalms 

— Reviews —

I realize that there are quite a few prayer books and liturgical texts that are oft mentioned as "must have" for Orthodox. Well, this one surely needs to be added to that list. This is the most clear and efficient of all Anglophonic Orthodox Psalters with regard to explaining and laying out how Orthodox are to read the Psalter. The "additional material" alone is worth the price of the book, and being able to have that material rightly placed within the Psalter is a great help.

The Ochlophobist


For a person who is accustomed to Coverdale (as I am), there's something very reassuring and comforting about David James' translation. He's done a good job of capturing the genius of Coverdale while bringing him more in line with the Greek Septuagint and Church Slavonic.

Fr. Benedict Crawford
Christ the Saviour Orthodox Church, McComb, Mississippi



"I do have some good news, however, of a new English Psalter based on the classic Coverdale text. It has been edited by David James and is being published with the blessing of the Russian Church Outside of Russia...but the Psalter is in English, the very best English the world has ever heard. I hope you will buy a copy when it comes out. Use it at home. Allow this most felicitous marriage of the genius of King David and the genius of Miles Coverdale to saturate your mind and your heart. When you do, I think you will begin to see the possibilities for a truly American Orthodoxy." 

Dr. Clark Carlton

Faith and Philosophy Podcast, Ancient Faith Radio