Worship God with Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs

Music has always been an integral part of worshipping God. Throughout the Bible, we see examples of singing praises to the Lord through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Using these forms of musical worship can deepen our connection with God and strengthen our faith.

We’ll look at how these different forms of musical praise each contribute to our corporate worship. Finally, we’ll consider some practical tips for incorporating psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs into your devotional life.

The Importance of Worshipping God Through Music

Singing praises to God has been a tradition since biblical times. The book of Psalms in the Old Testament contains numerous songs and poems that were used corporately by the Israelites to worship Yahweh. Music and singing are mentioned over 50 times in the book of Psalms alone.

The New Testament continues this musical tradition. We’re instructed in Ephesians 5:19 to speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Likewise, in Colossians 3:16, we’re told to teach and admonish one another through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.

Music has a way of connecting with our emotions that the spoken word does not. Singing praise together with other believers can stir our hearts in ways that simply listening to a sermon cannot. When our voices join together in song, we’re united in our worship in a very tangible way.

Beyond just an emotional experience, musical worship reinforces biblical truth. The lyrics remind us of God’s character and His work in the world and in our lives. This is why the apostle Paul instructs the church to teach one another through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.

Benefits of Worshipping Through Music

Here are some key benefits of worshipping God through music:

  • Music engages our emotions and helps us connect with God on a heart level
  • Singing together unites us and reminds us we’re part of the body of Christ
  • Lyrics teach biblical truth and remind us of sound doctrine
  • Melody helps commit truth to memory
  • Songs lead us into God’s presence as we reflect on His character

Psalms in the Bible and Their Role in Worship

The book of Psalms contains 150 songs and poems used by the people of Israel to worship God. King David, who had a gift for music composition, authored over half of them. The psalms include deeply emotional cries for help, declarations of praise, thanksgiving songs, royal psalms about the messianic king, and hymns of confidence in God’s protection.

The psalms model raw, honest expressions before God. They show that we can cry out to the Lord in despair, doubt, sorrow, and anger, as well as joy, trust, and gratitude. We should incorporate the singing of psalms into our worship because they span the full range of human emotions.

Reasons to Sing the Psalms

Here are some reasons why singing the psalms should be part of our worship:

  • The psalms model crying out to God in distress and pain
  • They remind us of God’s faithfulness and sovereignty
  • The psalms teach us to respond to trials and hardship with trust in God
  • They instruct us to answer tragedy and injustice by seeking God’s salvation and justice

Whether ancient hymns like Psalm 23 or more contemporary versions, the psalms form the foundation of our musical worship tradition. Singing them connects us to centuries of worshippers who have gone before us.

Hymns as Traditional Worship Songs Based on Scripture

Hymns are sacred songs that directly reference God, biblical truth, or Christian life. They emerged as more structured songs of worship during the Reformation period. Some draw lyrics directly from scripture while others paraphrase biblical concepts.

Classic hymns like “Amazing Grace” and “It Is Well” include deep theological truths. Singing these vertical worship songs directs our gaze toward God. Other hymns like “Come Thou Fount” and “Be Thou My Vision” cry out to God for mercy and grace.

The Value of Hymns

Here’s why singing classic hymns should be part of our musical worship:

  • They remind us of core doctrines like the crucifixion, resurrection, and second coming of Christ
  • Lyrics instill sound theology and expose false teaching
  • The rich poetry conjures beautiful word pictures of our faith
  • Melodies engage our emotions and draw us into worship

While the language of hymns can sometimes feel outdated, their lyrical depth continues nourishing Christians today. Blending hymns with contemporary worship provides connection to the past while appealing to modern musical sensibilities.

Spiritual Songs as Contemporary Expressions of Faith

Spiritual songs encompass a range of modern musical styles like praise choruses, worship songs, and Christian pop/rock music. Composers like Chris Tomlin, Hillsong, and Bethel Music exemplify this genre.

Spiritual songs feature simple, repetitive lyrics focused on celebrating God’s attributes and works. They use contemporary instrumentation and build to emotional crescendos. This makes them easy for worshippers to quickly pick up and sing along to.

Why We Need Spiritual Songs

Here are some benefits of spiritual songs:

  • Their contemporary sound resonates with today’s culture
  • Repetitive lyrics are easy to memorize
  • They facilitate corporate singing for those unfamiliar with hymns
  • Joyful celebration of God’s glory and grace

Spiritual songs provide continuity from generation to generation. Each era contributes its own musical style to the tradition of worshipping through song. Blending the old and new creates space for all worshippers to participate.

Singing Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs Together as an Act of Worship

God designed corporate musical worship to unite Christians together across generational, cultural, and racial barriers. Singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs knits our hearts together as we glorify God with one voice.

It’s important our musical worship includes diversity in song selection. Psalms root us in biblical tradition and model crying out to God. Hymns instruct us theologically through poetry and metaphor. Spiritual songs facilitate corporate participation in praise using modern musical idioms.

Tips for Diverse Corporate Worship

  • Include a mix of psalms, hymns and spiritual songs in each service
  • Vary musical styles from week to week
  • Sing songs composed by diverse Christian artists – women, minorities, and internationals
  • Encourage the congregation to learn songs outside their musical preferences

Our worship should be as diverse as the body of Christ. Exploring musical traditions outside our own gives us new language to praise God and appreciate the global church.

Practical Tips for Using Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs to Connect With God

In addition to corporate worship, we can also sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs in our personal quiet time to draw near to God. Here are some tips:

When Reading the Psalms

  • Paraphrase verses into your own words through song or prayer
  • Write a melody to help meditate on that psalm
  • Sing an existing version of the psalm like from a hymnal

With Hymns

  • Read through lyrics and reflect on their meaning
  • Listen to different renditions of the same hymn
  • Consider whom the hymn writer was addressing God, yourself, or others
  • Make a playlist for praising God throughout your day
  • Sing along during chores, exercise, driving, etc.
  • Focus on memorizing lyrics that inspire you

Add variety to your quiet times by incorporating these different forms of worship music. Be open to where the Holy Spirit leads you each day – into brokenness, gratitude, or praise.