The Psalms are beautifully honest, a laying bare of the human heart, and an expression of worship, struggle, proclamation and trusting in God. There are a number of categories in which scholars have grouped the Psalms. Some are prophetic, proclaiming the coming of the Messiah and what He will do. Some are imprecatory, a crying out for the God of justice to destroy enemies. Psalms of lament come from a place of distress; Psalms of thanksgiving from a place of joyful gratitude. We know that King David authored many of the Psalms and that these were written during various seasons of his life.
How do we see the Psalms today, and how can we learn from them?
In our churches today, we have so many different styles of worship, so many different songs that are sung. Some people love hymns, others feel compelled to dance. At the heart of any worship, is the desire to honour, celebrate and rejoice in God, giving Him praise. When I think not only about the music of contemporary worship, but its lyrics, I see familiar themes. Some songs are adoration based, declaring the character of God. Some are victory songs, in faith proclaiming that God has overcome all things and won every battle. There are also testimonial songs of thanksgiving which celebrate what God has done for us.
These are just some examples and it is always inspiring to learn about the story behind a song. What encounter with God caused the song-writer to pen those lyrics and compose that music? With these thoughts in mind, I see that there really is a song for every season we walk through. We might not all write those songs down to music, but our hearts sing them to the Lord. [Psalm 42:8] says,
“The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime,
And in the night His song shall be with me –
A prayer to the God of my life.”
What is our prayer to God? What song is He singing over us?
Here are just a few Psalms and lyrics to help us pray, praise God and encourage our souls. The cacaphony of human experience and emotion can be hard to express, but the Psalms give us an example of how we can always turn to God. We can speak with Him and be in relationship with Him at any time, and in every season. Nothing can separate us from the love of God!
. . .
Thank you God / Adoration
“Bless the Lord, O my soul!
O Lord my God, You are very great:
You are clothed with honour and majesty,
Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment,
Who stretch out the heavens like a curtain.”
“Worthy is the Lamb who was slain
Holy, holy is Thee
Sing a new song to Him who sits on
Heaven’s mercy seat”
[“Revelation Song” – Gateway Worship]
. . .
The God who fights our battles
“In God is my salvation and my glory;
The rock of my strength,
And my refuge, is in God.”
“God is fighting for us
God is on our side
He has overcome
Yes He has overcome.”
[“In Jesus’ Name” – Darlene Zschech]
. . .
A cry for comfort
“Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil;
For You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”
“When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.”
[“It is Well with My Soul” – Horatio G. Spafford]
. . .
A cry for transformation
“Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.”
“… Create in me a clean heart, oh God
And renew a right spirit within me
Cast me not away from Thy presence, oh Lord
And take not Thy holy spirit from me
Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation
And renew a right spirit within me.”
[“Create in me a clean heart” – Keith Green]
. . .
Songs of testimony
“You have put gladness in my heart,
More than in the season that their grain and wine increased.
I will both lie down in peace, and sleep;
For You alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety.”
Set me free
Jesus alive in me.”
[“Victory” – Hillsong Worship]
. . .
Let us not be afraid to proclaim the songs God has put in our hearts!