Should I use Psalms in prayer?

February 22, 2017

 Should I use Psalms in prayer?

Prayer is a deep conversation with God, but there are many ways to converse with Him. One of these ways is to pray with psalms. The word “psalms” in Hebrew means “praises.” However, many people ask if they should be praying with psalms? That question raises another one: What did the early church do? Did she pray with psalms too? Christ has given to the early church, to the apostles, a Way of Life—the Holy Tradition. When we see what they did and how they prayed, that counts because the Church was evidently extremely strong as it is shown in the book of Acts.

In chapters 3 & 4 of the book of Acts, we find that beautiful story of St. Peter that healed the man that was lame at the gate of the temple. In Acts 3, he heals him and in Acts 4, the Jews are questioning St. Peter and St. John and are not happy about the miracle because it was in the name of Jesus. Therefore, after being threatened, St. Peter left with St. John to join their companions. In Acts 4:23-26, the apostles raised their voice to God in prayer and prayed a psalm. In acts 3:1, 10:9, you find the timing of these psalms. They both prayed the sixth at nine hours because in the Jewish tradition, the prayers are from the psalms because these are the works and words of the Holy Spirit through the men of God. In Ephesians 5, St. Paul says that when we sing a melody from our heart to the Lord, we should be using psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. By this, it is implied that we are filled with the Holy Spirit by praying the psalms. 

Why are psalms so important? The more we pray with psalms, the more we realize how great is God and we remind ourselves who He is. The psalms remind us that God is Pantocrator Almighty, and consequently, we should not fear. They remind us that God is good and merciful. As we are praying, we realize that God is just and wise. Therefore, since we are reminded of all these things, our relationship with God deepens through the psalms.

Another aspect of the psalms in the Agpeya is that they are prophetical. We hence see the prophecies about Christ, written by the men of God, that were fulfilled many years later.

However, one main thing about the psalms is declared to us by St. John Cassian: “the constant singing of the psalms is designed to produce a persistent compunction, a repentance within us, so that the mind, slimmed down, may not have a taste for the things of earth and will turn, instead to behold the things of heaven. And if we carelessly neglect these, then of necessity the mind, filled with the squalor of sin, turns soon and comes rushing toward the domain of the flesh. “ In other words, the purpose of the word of God, the Bible, and the psalms are to leads us to repentance. When we realize that we haven’t fulfilled a commandment in the last days, when we realize that we have been fearful when we should not, we are led to repentance through the psalms. We are guided and directed by the word of God in prayer. And when we do this, our mind and heart will be lifted up to God.

Finally, there is a big difference between praying and reading the psalms. When we read them, the words of God connect with our mind, but this connection fails to attain our heart. When we pray with the psalms, we pray with our mind, heart, soul, and strength. Therefore, we pray with our entire being. Consequently, we attain a deeper level of prayer; we taste God in a different more enjoyable way. However, many people are reading the psalms instead of praying them. In turn, they don’t enjoy the prayer. The problem is not in the psalms. We ought to pray the psalms rather than reading them.

If you are not using the psalms in prayer, you are missing out. You should give it another chance to truly pray the psalms from the bottom of your heart, and you will taste prayer in a deeper way.

Remember know your faith, live your faith and teach your faith


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