How the Psalms Impact Christian Worship

The Psalms are not meant to be edited out or “Christianized,” they are the worship collection of prayers and songs for the people of God and as such there are many lessons to be learned. While it is surprising to many, one of the largest themes in the Psalms is surprisingly lament and not praise (Ps 13; 22; 69; 88). Lament teaches the Christian how to deal with real life. It is ok to “vent” and “cry out” to God when one does not understand. Praising God is important, yes, but the Lord does not desire His people to merely be religious and offer a form of worship, no, God desires worship from the heart and the Psalms display that in prayers and songs that are at times, well messy (Ps 38-44).

     Further, the imprecatory Psalms teach an aspect of worship that is largely absent and even shunned by the church today. The idea of imprecation, pleading for God to judge the wicked now for their sins, is considered unchristian and perhaps “Old Testament.” However, the Christian today should also practice imprecation in prayer and in worship as well as their personal mediation. The Book of Psalms begins with an imprecatory contrast of the wicked and the righteous (Ps 1). Further, Micah 6:8 makes clear the God desires His people to walk humbly, love kindness and support justice. If a Christian is going to worship God–and worship is far more than saying a prayer or singing a song, worship is a lifestyle–then one must cry out for and support the cause of justice. Pleading for justice now means that someone is going to have to pay a price for violating justice.

      In short, the worshipper in the Psalms is honest with God and committed to living righteously and contending for what is right to be done in the world. The picture of the worshipper is far more than simply a singer or an eloquent prayer warrior, the worshipper in the a person who lives for God and seeks for God’s righteous ways to be justly upheld.

How Should The Psalms Impact Christian Worship

I read The Psalter Reclaimed in its entirety via the Kindle app on my phone during breaks at work and thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Psalter Reclaimed: Praying and Praising with the Psalms by Gordan Wenham is a superb introduction and resource to the Psalms and their place in the Christian life today. This essay will be structured around the three questions posed for the review by Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary, Old Testament Orientation II which are: how the Psalms contribute to the Christian’s understanding of worship, what the Psalms contribute to understanding the Messiah, and how the Psalms contribute to Christian ethics. Read more