In our catechesis on Christian prayer, we have looked to a number of Old Testament figures who represent models of prayer. We now turn to the great “prayerbook” of sacred Scripture: the Book of Psalms. These inspired songs teach us how to speak to God, expressing ourselves and the whole range of our human experience with words that God himself has given us.
Despite the diversity of their literary forms, the Psalms are generally marked by the two interconnected dimensions of humble petition and of praise addressed to a loving God who understands our human frailty. In Hebrew, the Psalms are called Tehellim or songs of praise; the prayer of praise is, in fact, our best response to the God who even at times of trial remains ever at our side.
Many of the Psalms are attributed to David, the great King of Israel who, as the Lord’s Anointed, prefigured the Messiah. In Jesus Christ and in his paschal mystery the Psalms find their deepest meaning and prophetic fulfilment. Christ himself prayed in their words. As we take up these inspired songs of praise, let us ask the Lord to teach us to pray, with him and in him, to our heavenly Father.