Aside from the beloved classic Psalm 23, the Book of Psalms is something of a mystery to us. Many of us read very little of it, and the parts we do come in contact with seem repetitive or highly-worded or just long.
Maybe this is because we’re just reading them…when they’re meant to be prayed.
The Jews prayed the Psalms daily; certain Psalms were linked to certain times of the day or events. That is why Our Lord and the Apostles frequented Gethsemane at night: they went there to pray the evening Psalms together.
The Psalms are an excellent way for us to enrich our prayer. Their words express with eloquence and profundity those thoughts we may struggle to convey in prayer.
Best of all, you can always find a Psalm that fits your needs perfectly! There are several varied lists of the types of Psalms, but let’s look at a basic division of their kinds:
1. Supplication: These Psalms cry out to the Lord from a distressed heart, asking for deliverance from the soul’s enemies. An early example is Psalm 5: Give ear to my words, O Lord, give heed to my groaning. Listen to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you do I pray.
2. Thanksgiving: True gratitude bursts forth exultantly from these Psalms! Thankfulness praises God for His gifts and intervention, often bestowed undeserved or unlooked for. I will give thanks to the Lord with my whole heart, Psalm 9 exclaims. I will tell of all your wonderful deeds.
3. Repentance: These express the wretched ache of a heart which knows it has offended God. I confess my iniquity, I am sorry for my sin, as Psalm 38 says.
4. Praise/Adoration: Psalm 18 is a good example of the thunderous declarations of God’s glory and majesty. Every word of the Psalms of praise breath forth the Creator’s infinite power.
These are the most basic types of Psalms, but every Psalm has its own distinct—even if subtle—mood.
Next time you pray, take the Psalms with you. They are a treasury of prayers which will profoundly deepen your prayer life.
To help bring the Psalms into your daily life in a simple way, why not start with the bright My Cup Overflows Joyful Glass Pitcher? Capacious, sleek, and cheerily painted, this hospitable pitcher will bring joy to any hostess! Available today at The Catholic Company!