One distinct aspect of our public worship is that we include the Book of Psalms in our singing. We recognize that this is an uncommon practice, but we believe it is wise for God's people to be meditating on God's Word and bringing God's Word back to Him in our praise. Paul writes, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom..." (Col. 3.16). The psalms were the prayer book of the people of God in times past and were sung by Jesus Himself (Matt. 26.30).
The Psalms speak to every Christian experience, whether it is of joy, grief, trust, confusion, confidence or repentance. They are, as once remarked, “an anatomy of all parts of the soul.” Basil of Caesarea (329-379 AD) wrote of the psalms: “It prophesies of the future; it recalls history; it legislates for life; it suggests rules for action; in a word, it is a common storehouse of good doctrines, providing exactly what is expedient for everyone... It is the voice of the Church... What mayest thou not learn thence? The heroism of courage; the integrity of justice; the gravity of temperance; the perfection of prudence; the manner of repentance; the measure of patience; in a word every good thing thou canst mention. Therein is a complete theology; the prediction of the advent of Christ in the flesh, the threatening of judgment, the hope of resurrection, the fear of chastisement, promises of glory, revelations of mysteries: all, as in some great public storehouse, are treasured up in the Book of Psalms.”
The Psalms are instrumental in our spiritual formation. As Tim Keller explains, "The psalms also help us see God—God not as we wish or hope him to be but as he actually reveals himself. The descriptions of God in the Psalter are rich beyond human invention. He is more holy, more wise, more fearsome, more tender and loving than we would ever imagine him to be. The psalms fire our imaginations into new realms yet guide them toward the God who actually exists. This brings a reality to our prayer lives that nothing else can. Left to ourselves, we will pray to some god who speaks what we like hearing, or to the part of God we manage to understand. But what is critical is that we speak to the God who speaks to us, and to everything that he speaks to us. . . . What is essential in prayer is not that we learn to express ourselves, but that we learn to answer God."
We should sing the Psalms because ultimately they lead us to Jesus (Luke 24:44). They do so in different ways. We read passages that speak to His sufferings (Psalm 22; 34:20; 35:19; 41:9; 69:21) and other passages that celebrate the glories of Christ (Psalm 2, 16:10; 68:18; 110:1; 118:22) in fulfilling the Lord's promised work of salvation.
To learn more about singing psalms in worship, you can view an electronic copy of the psalms set to metrical form below or download the Sing Psalms app.