This blog post is excerpted from Engaging the Psalms: A Guide for Reflection and Prayer.
The Psalter was ancient Israel’s hymnal, and it was the hymnal for Jesus and His disciples. From earliest times, Christians continued to use the psalms to give voice to their prayer and praise. The psalms have had an immense influence on Christians and their worship.
Every Maundy Thursday evening during the stripping of the altar, the choir at my church sings a version of Psalm 22, the Psalm that begins “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” It’s a poignant piece for that part of the service and a look at the way in which the Psalms continually point us to Christ. This repetition of the same psalm at the same service every year also ensures that the psalm becomes familiar to the congregation and offers members words of Scripture to pray in times of need.