A versicle is a short verse or sentence (often from one of the Psalms) which is said or chanted by the pastor during a liturgical worship service. It is followed by a response from the congregation. Below is an example which was used at my church as an opening during Lent. It’s from Psalm 43.
Pastor: Vindicate me, O God and defend my cause against an ungodly people, from the deceitful and unjust man deliver me!
People: For you are the God in whom I take refuge; why have you rejected me?
Pastor: Why do I go about mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?
People: Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling!
Pastor: Then I will go to the altar of God, to God, my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God my God.
People: Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?
Pastor: Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.
The Psalter was ancient Israel’s hymnal, and it would have been used by Jesus and His disciples. From earliest times, Christians have also used the psalms to give voice to their prayer and praise. They have had a continuing influence on Christians and their worship.
For more about the Psalms see these posts:
Learning about God in the Psalms