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Forms of the Psalms

by on June 04, 2021

Key Scripture: Psalms of Lament: Psalm 10, 12, 38, 83

The Psalms are the most quoted Old Testament Scriptures found in the New Testament and were written in five Forms which include Praise (Hymns), Lament, Thanksgiving, Historical, and Wisdom.

Most notably, the psalmists would use language in the form of poetry and song as they warned against concealing sin and taught to let the Israelites' voices be heard. They encouraged the reader to be transparent and vulnerable before God.

The largest category of Psalms (one-third of them) were written in the form of lament. A lament is "a passionate expression of grief or sorrow that is a declaration before God on the occasion of a distressful situation." In times of crisis, the writers of Psalms rightly knew to cry out to God with confidence and praise as they made their requests to Him.

Thus, we should imitate their format as we worship today. All of the Psalms, and especially the Laments, were written and designed not for us to read through but for us to passionately proclaim before God and others as a form of authentic and acceptable worship. In church gatherings and homes today, the Psalms are still read aloud, prayed through, and sung by new and seasoned Christians.

Psalms are primarily used as a means of worship, and you should desire to read and pray them back to God. Devote yourself to reading a Psalm each day aloud and with your family (when applicable), and use the pattern of the Psalm as a format to pray back to God in your own words. 

Questions to Consider:

Do you daily lament over sin or trials and surrender your situations to God as the psalmists have taught? Would you commit to reading a Psalm each day to encourage an authentic pattern of worship in your own life?

Prayer Prompts:

  • Father, would You help me understand more of what it means to say "It is well with my soul?" I am broken and lament over my sin. I surrender to You and look for Your guidance to restore me back to a right relationship with You and others.

  • Meditate on Psalm 19:14, Psalm 38:4, and Psalm 83:16

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