The Psalms: “Prayers and Songs”


Psalm: [ /sä(l)m/ ] noun --- from the Greek word psalmos, "song sung to a harp", similar to the original Hebrew word and meaning.

The Book of Psalms lists many authors as this is a collection of songs and prayers to God. David has his name on 73 different Psalms, making him the main author. Two of the psalms (72 and 127) are attributed to Solomon, David’s son and successor. Psalm 90 is a prayer assigned to Moses. Another group of 12 psalms (50) and (73—83) is ascribed to the family of Asaph. The sons of Korah wrote 11 psalms (42, 44—49, 84—85, 87—88). Psalm 88 is attributed to Heman and Psalm 89 is assigned to Ethan the Ezrahite. Except for Solomon and Moses, all these additional authors from David were priests or Levites who were responsible for providing music for sanctuary worship during David’s reign.

These Psalms were written over many centuries, based on authorship, from the prayer of Moses (90) being the oldest to Psalm 137 as the most current as a song of lament clearly written during the days when the Hebrews were being held captive by the Babylonians, from about 586 to 538 B.C.


The Book of Psalms has far more “chapters” than any other book in the Bible, with 150 individual psalms. It is also one of the most diverse, since the psalms deal with such subjects as God and His creation, war, worship, wisdom, sin and evil, judgment, justice, and the coming of the Messiah.

The Book of Psalms is a collection of prayers, poems, and hymns that focus the worshiper’s thoughts on God in praise and adoration. Parts of this book were used as a hymnal in the worship services of ancient Israel. The book of Psalms expresses worship – this being done with music and without music. Through its many pages, Psalms encourages its readers to praise God for who He is and what He has done. The Psalms illuminate the greatness of our God, affirm His faithfulness to us in times of trouble, and remind us of the absolute centrality of His Word. As the Psalms present a clear picture of God lovingly guiding His people, the responses of praise and worship to God are never far from the heart of the author. The portrayal of worship in the Psalms offers us glimpse after glimpse of hearts devoted to God, individuals repentant before Him, and lives changed through encounters with Him to praise Him.


One of the results of being filled with the Spirit or the word of Christ is singing. The psalms are the “songbook” of the early church that reflected the new truth in Christ. God is the same Lord in all the psalms. But we respond to Him in different ways, according to the specific circumstances of our lives. What a marvelous God we worship, the psalmist declares, high and lifted up beyond our human experiences but also close enough to touch and who walks beside us along life’s way. We can bring all our feelings to God—no matter how negative or complaining they may be—and we can rest assured that He will hear and understand. The psalmist teaches us that the most profound prayer of all is a cry for help as we find ourselves overwhelmed by the problems of life. Read Psalm 1, then Psalm 150. Thank God for allowing you to express your deepest emotions to Him. If you are hurting, use Psalm 13 as a guide and write your own lament to God. If you are rejoicing, meditate on Psalm 30 and echo the praise found there. If you wonder about victory of evil and being downcast, read Psalm 73 to remind you that God is bigger and not to trust in what you see, but who God is. No matter your circumstance, the psalms contain a corresponding word that will help you share your heart with the Lord.

Next month, we seek wisdom in the Book of Proverbs. May God bless you and keep you until then!

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