19th March 2023

I recently went to a ‘Psalm Evening’ at a local church. After a talk about the Psalms – their probable authors and dates, their significance in both Jewish and Christian worship, we read a couple of Psalms responsively and then sang a modern version of one.

I was glad to be reminded of the rich resource they provide. I was fortunate (although did not appreciate it at the time!) that at school each morning assembly included singing a hymn and chanting a psalm.

They offer us something for every situation and mood. One of the most obvious is Psalm 23, which Ian reminded us of recently. I suppose we are most likely to turn to the Psalms when we are feeling low – depressed, worried, disappointed. Take Psalm 46: ‘God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble’; or Psalm 31 – ‘In Thee, O Lord, do I put my trust… For thou art my rock.’ They can also give us words when we are not sure how to pray: Psalm 55 – ‘Give ear to my prayer, O God; and hide not thyself from my supplication’; Psalm 69 – ‘Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul.’ Not that the exact words of the psalm are always appropriate, but they suggest an approach to make in our own words. To help us simply praise God we can surely do no better than the last seven Psalms, five of which begin: ‘Praise ye the Lord.’

You may prefer a more modern translation, but the essence is the same. If you haven’t looked at a Psalm lately, why not do so?

David T Roberts