Back in June, I praised the NABRE Psalms for their beauty and lyrical quality. Another one of my favorite translations of the Psalms is the Common English Bible (CEB) — for very different reasons. The CEB Psalms wear raw emotion on their sleeve. None of it is masked under formal language or poetic style. If the Psalms sometimes seem distant to you, or if you find yourself distracted while reading a familiar psalm, I highly recommend the CEB for a change of pace. Given the formal language that most translations use in the Psalms, you might find the CEB off-putting, but if you can get past the contractions and the conversational tone, the punchy language can be truly moving. I remember the first time I read Psalm 22 in the CEB, I was at the point of tears. Here’s a snippet, but I recommend reading the psalm in its entirety (you can look up any passage of the CEB for free on the CEB website).
But I'm just a worm, less than human;
insulted by one person, despised by another.
All who see me make fun of me --
they gape, shaking their heads:
"He committed himself to the LORD,
so let God rescue him;
let God deliver him
because God likes him so much."
But you are the one who pulled me from the womb,
placing me safely at my mother's breasts.
I was thrown on you from birth;
you've been my God
since I was in my mother's womb.
Please don't be far from me,
because trouble is near
and there's no one to help Psalm 22:6-11 CEB
As a more upbeat example, take a look at the first few verses of Psalm 91, which is used every Sunday for night prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours:
Living in the Most High's shelter,
camping in the Almighty's shade,
I say to the LORD, "You are my refuge, my stronghold!"
You are my God -- the one I trust!"
God will save you from the hunter's trap
and from deadly sickness.
God will protect you with his pinions;
you'll find refuge under his wings.
His faithfulness is a protective shield.
Don't be afraid of terrors at night,
arrows that fly in daylight,
or sickness that prowls in the dark,
destruction that ravages at noontime. Psalm 91:1-6 CEB
The CEB psalms are unmistakably raw prayers from the heart. Check them out! I highly recommend them.