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Why Preach, Pray, and Sing the Psalms?

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Why Preach, Pray, and Sing the Psalms?

Dear brothers and sisters,
It brings me such joy to worship our risen Christ with you. Our Sabbaths have been sweet in recent months as we studied the letters of John, the beloved apostle. This Lord’s Day we will begin studying Book One of the Psalms in our morning worship service. The Psalms are divided into 5 different books: Book One is Psalm 1-41, Book Two is 42-72, Book Three is 73-89, Book Four is 90-106, and Book Five is 107-150. The next several months we will spend time in Psalms 1-41.

Why preach, pray, and sing from the Psalms? Here are four considerations:

1. Biblical—The Holy Spirit exhorts us to “make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.” (Psalm 95:2) The Apostle Paul says to the Colossian church “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Colossians 3:16) Notice, he says these Psalms are the “word of Christ” and they are to be taught and sung. Consider also, Jesus and his disciples sang a “hymn” (referring to a title in the Psalms) to close their observance of the Passover and institution of the Lord’s Supper: “When they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.” (Matthew 26:30) One vital reason for preaching, praying, and singing the Psalms is the Biblical command and example.

2. Historical—When the Lord’s people gathered for worship down through the centuries, they sang and prayed the Psalms. In fact, for most of church history, the Psalms dominated Christian worship. The ancient church, the best medieval traditions, and Reformed Protestants were known for their zealous dedication to Psalm singing in worship and daily life. Only in the past 2 centuries were the Psalms eclipsed by songs of human composition in public worship. When we pray and sing the Psalms, we join hands with saints from across the centuries.

3. Practical—John Calvin described the Psalms as “an anatomy of all parts of the soul.” They mirror the raw emotion of Man. Here, the Holy Spirit gives you words to express your deepest longings and laments. These inspired songs train you for communion with God, vital godliness, wisdom for living, and future hope. Psalms also stiffen your resolve against evil. In a world hostile to the reign of Jesus, they supply you with the battle hymns of the Lord. One chip at a time, the risen Jesus uses the Psalms of David to chisel you anew after the image of God.

4. They point us to Jesus. “And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then he opened their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.” (Luke 24:44-45) Oh, that we would see the glory of Christ in all of the Psalms! May he open our understanding over the coming months, that we might understand the Scriptures. May we search these Scriptures, and find that they testify of him. I look forward to beholding the strength and glory of our Savior with you.

Much love in Christ,