Why we sing the Psalms

When our hearts don’t know what to think about the sorrows or joys we may face in this life, we can find solace in the Word of God (specifically in the Psalms) where we find words that express every emotion for our souls and see Jesus more clearly. We recently gathered some resources and quotes surrounding why we sing the Psalms for a Sunday school class and wanted to share them here for you. Below are some quotes and resources, not exactly an essay, just some encouraging words worth sharing (the sources are at bottom of this post). May we continue to “sing to him a new song” (Psalm 33:3) bringing glory and honor to our precious Lord and Savior.

“The prayers of the faithful are so cold, that we ought to be ashamed and dismayed. The psalms can incite us to lift up our hearts to God and move us to an ardor in invoking and exalting with praises the glory of his Name.” – John Calvin engaging his church in Geneva.

Luther directed that we should warm the heart before we pray through meditation. What better way to warm our hearts but through the power of music and a redemptive story well told. We are often uncomfortable with waiting and silence within our services, but musical interludes do enable us to meditate on what we have just sung, warming our hearts for what we are about to sing.

“I desire to see all arts, principally music, in the service of Him who gave and created them. Music is a fair and glorious gift of God. I would not for the world forgo my humble share of music. Singers are never sorrowful, but are merry, and smile through their troubles in song. Music makes people kinder, gentler, more staid and reasonable. I am strongly persuaded that after theology there is no art that can be placed on a level with music; for besides theology, music is thee only art capable of affording peace and joy of the heart…the devil flees before the sound of music as much as before the Word of God.” – Martin Luther

There are always fresh reasons to “sing to the Lord a new song” (Ps:96:1; Isa 42:10)

Why do we sing to the Lord?***

• Singing encourages and expresses the Spirit’s work in our hearts

• Singing helps us remember God’s Word

• Singing helps us teach and be taught

• Singing helps express and engage our emotions

• Singing encourages physical expressiveness

• Singing helps us express our unity with the church

“The reason we sing is because there are depths and heights and intensities and kinds of emotions that will not be satisfactorily expressed by mere prosaic forms, or even poetic readings. There are realities that demand to break out of prose into poetry and some demand that poetry be stretched into song….Singing is the Christian’s way of saying: God is so great that thinking will not suffice, there must be deep feeling; and talking will not suffice, there must be singing.” – John Piper

Why are we passionate about crafting new songs?

The book of Psalms has a staggering 672 imperative verbs!** Affirmative action words that tell us how to respond, posture our bodies, and engage our souls in worship. This is why we are such believers in writing Psalm songs and re-tuning hymns. Setting texts to new and different contexts engage our souls and our ears in new and different ways. We need to be singing both new and old versions of hymns in our congregations!

Every song you craft, every heart you touch, every work you do, our work finds new life in the world to come. – George Robertson

Exalting God in the exercising of faith toward God through the sharing of songs.

“The purpose of faith isn’t to secure wealth and health in the here and now but to remind ourselves that in Jesus Christ, God has already given us everything” Bob Kauflin (1 Cor 3:21-23; Eph 1:3)

The act of engaging our spirits through the singing of songs is a powerful way to exercise our faith. Exercising faith toward God puts his WISDOM, his POWER and his FAITHFULNESS on display!***

Lord give us such a faith as this and then whate’er may come, we’ll taste even here the hallowed bliss of our eternal home.” William Bathurst 1831 hymn text O For a Faith That Will Not Shrink*


***True Worshipers Book by Bob Kauflin find it HERE

** http://overviewbible.com/the-bossiest-books-of-the-bible/

* Then Sings My Soul A Book Series about hymns and their writers by Robert J. Morgan find it HERE

2 thoughts on “Why we sing the Psalms

  1. Mike and Allie,
    Thank you for this excellent and inspiring collection of Psalm thoughts. I especially appreciate the breadth of its scope: multigenerational, interdenominational, and international. A beautiful expression of the blessed balance of heart, mind and body that the Lord seeks in our worship.
    Praise His great name!

    1. Thank you Paul, you are such an encourager! Grateful to you and the legacy you left at First Pres. Upon reading your comment Mike said: “What a guy”. It’s still felt that you were and still are very loved here at First Pres.
      Many Thanks! Allie

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