Psalm 119 (Psalms on the Trail)

Psalm 119: 54, 55

“Your statues have been my songs wherever I make my home.

I remember your name in the night, O Lord.”  Psalm 119: 54-55

It’s hard to sleep through the night on the trail.  It’snot like home. Doesn’t matter how dead tired I am.  I try to roll over on the thin air mattress and it makes enough squeaking plastic noise to wake my tenting neighbors.  Or my whole body hurts so I take another ibuprofen.  Or because I re-hydrated with my fill of filtered water at supper, I now have to put on shoes and find the flashlight and try to remember which way the privy is, hoping I don’t shine a light in some other wakeful person’s eyes on the way.

But those wakeful night hours were also good times of catching up on any psalms I had missed during the previous day.  Sometimes the psalms would speak to a weary soul lying in the dark—a good thing.  Other times they would just put me back to sleep—a good thing too.  Every month on the trail, Psalm 119 , the longest psalm in the bible, had its turn to be read again.  It was hard to read it in one sitting, so I would often just read one of its 22 parts on the trail and then catch up with the other sections of it in those wakeful night hours.   Read that way, Psalm 119 could last many nights and miles as I moved from one tenting spot to another.  I tried to stay focused by underlining those verses that grabbed my attention as they connected with any experiences of the day.  The verses above were underlined—probably because I was reading them at night.

I am getting ready to go backpacking on the trail again for 12 days.  I am thinking about reading through Philippians this time…only four chapters, but I am sure there will still be a good amount of night reading when my aching body is restless.


1. Take this verse with you and ponder its meaning for you throughout the day.  What do you notice?  What do you wonder?  What scripture would you read in the night out on the trail?

2. Or read the whole psalm to find out how this verse fits into the whole.

3. Or comment with a photo of your own that is a window of this psalm’s meaning for you.

The next post will be on Psalm 120:6-7.

Starting January 1, 2016, for 150 days I am posting a daily psalm verse with a photo that is a visual meditation on the text for me.  Each day a verse from the next psalm is chosen until all 150 psalms have been featured.   To participate you may subscribe to my blog at or “friend” me on Facebook and watch for the daily links to blog posts.  Disclaimer:  I am not a photographer and most of the photos are from a cell phone or small camera while hiking the Appalachian Trail or the C&O Canal/Great Allegheny Passage Trail.


  1. What part of the trail will you hike?

  2. I’m joining my hiking buddy in mid NJ and hope to go for 12 days into NY. My buddy has more time and hopes to get through VT.