For 1000’s of years, the Psalms have provided Jews and Christians with a guide for their faith. They have been a powerful worship and prayer tool giving direction for many. Here are three reasons the Psalms have been so influential and how they can be used by you.
Firstly, the Psalms speak to you. These songs are God’s songs. They are His words to YOU, giving you guidance in all of life’s situations. From giving thanks for blessings to dealing with tough times, the Psalms speak to us showing us comfort and direction.
For example, Psalm 46 verse 10 speaks instruction to us, “Be still, and know that I am God.” The song is telling us that God’s city cannot be shaken. Troubles will come but we can trust in Him because He is like a fortress. We can rest and be still because He is this fortress. These words teach us of God’s nature and instruct us of His promises.
Secondly, they speak for you. Language is often inadequate. It is often hard to put our thoughts and emotions into words. However, the Psalms do this for us. They give us the words to say, and translate our emotions into words of lament or praises. They verbalise the groans of our hearts.
For example, Psalm chapter 51 verse 8 says, “Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.” In this Psalm, King David is crying out to God for forgiveness in his distress. He is craving a return to joy from his sorrow. This song puts into words the emotions we have in deep sadness and point us to the joy of a restored relationship with God through Jesus.
Thirdly, they provide a guide for us to help others. We are all called to provide love and care to others. Pastoral care is not something restricted to Counsellors or Pastors but something we can all do. And the Psalms provide a template for pastoral care showing us how to provide comfort to others.
For example, Psalm 139 verse 16 can be used as a guide explaining, “Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” If a friend is lacking self-worth this song can point them to the fact that they are precious to God. You can remind them, from this Psalm, that God created them for a purpose and will sustain them through their tough time.
There is a reason the Psalms have been so well read and loved throughout the centuries. They are God’s prayer and praise guide towards love and good deeds. The Psalms point to Jesus as the focus of our faith and were used by Jesus for worship and lament. Regularly reading this book is like unlocking a powerful training manual that we can use to bless ourselves and others.
Jeremy Dover is a former sports scientist and Pastor
Jeremy Dover's previous articles may be viewed at https://www.pressserviceinternational.org/jeremy-dover1.html