The following selections are from Therapeutic Praise by David Murray, which originally appeared in the January 2012 issue of Tabletalk magazine:
“Despite hundreds of new Christian songs, of every possible genre, being composed every year, the ancient Psalms are experiencing somewhat of a revival in various places. Why?
I believe the main reason is their therapeutic value; in a day of so many disordered emotions, worshippers are discovering how the Psalms minister so powerfully to their emotional lives.
The Psalms balance divine revelation and human emotion
The Psalms express the full range of human emotions
The Psalms paint a realistic portrayal of Christian emotions
The Psalms open a welcome outlet for our painful emotions
The Psalms call for the transformation of our emotions
The Psalms not only permit us to “vent” our emotions, but also call for their transformation. We are not left to wallow in our feelings, but are shown how to move from fear to courage, from sorrow to joy, from anger to peace, and from despair to hope. The painful starting point is legitimate; but it’s only a starting point. The end-point of emotional healing must be kept in view, and moved towards with the help of Psalmist’s guiding hand.
The Psalms summon us to sympathetic emotion
As a rebellious teenager, I often sat in my Psalm-singing church wondering why I was singing words that had no relevance to me whatsoever. Why sing about sorrow, when I was perfectly happy? Or, some Sundays, why sing about joy when I feel so depressed about my life?
Well of course, such is the mindset of a self-centered teenager. But when God saves us, we begin to look a little beyond ourselves and to realize that while I may not feel these things, others certainly do. The Psalms call me to weep with those who weep, and to rejoice with those who rejoice, no matter if I feel exactly the opposite. They remind me of the emotional diversity of the body of Christ and invite me to share in the sufferings and successes of others. They turn me inside out.
The Psalms supply an emotional stimulus to righteous living
The full article by Dr. David Murray can be read here or in Tabletalk magazine.