Spiritual Practices

Singing the Psalms: A Playlist

The book of Psalms is a collection of prayers, which were often sung to God. There is power when you put God’s word to music. Melody not only helps you remember more easily; it also helps you meditate on the Scripture in a different way.

As we journey through the Psalms together this summer, we can join with centuries of Christ-followers who have sung the prayers of God. To help with that our Worship Arts team has created a collection of Psalms put to music.

You can find the Spotify playlist here.

As we prepared for this series and created this playlist, I’ve been reflecting on how the psalms have shaped my own life in profound and powerful ways.

My journey with the psalms began as a new believer in Christ searching for an anchor to stabilize my turbulent soul. I remember opening my Bible to Psalm 62 and being gripped by these words:: “My soul finds rest in God alone, my salvation comes from him.” As I sat quietly in my room, those words became a melody inside my soul and I began to sing it out.

I realized I had been striving to find purpose and peace in shallow and temporal things, but meditating on that Scripture, I felt a deep longing and eternal connection with the creator of the universe and the reason I was alive. The words and melody became a prayer. I wanted my life and all that I was to be an offering of praise and thanks to God. I felt peace and love begin to well up within me. Everything seemed to make sense despite the many unknowns in the journey ahead. The simple truth of being loved and fully known was enough.

As I continued to follow Christ, the psalms helped me get honest with my deep feelings of pain, doubt and struggle. Openness and honesty were not something I practiced much in my growing up years, but I began to dig into feelings and emotions I didn’t know existed. The psalms spoke to real places within my soul. They helped me tear down walls of self-protection, and open up to God and others in honesty and vulnerability.

The psalms also helped me understand that I am not alone in this journey. Knowing we’re not alone in this life is something we all long for. To know and to be known, to be loved and offer love to others–these are core realities to being image bearers of God.

“The Psalms have given me words for intangible feelings I hadn’t been able to name.”
The Psalms have given me words for intangible feelings I hadn’t been able to name. As I have wrestled with God about the injustice of the world, including my own failures, the Psalms have given me language in beautiful places of prayer, and expression through music and writing. When I’ve been so angsty and emotional I wasn’t sure I could make it through another day, I could scream out the words, “Troubles surround me oh God, but you are good! Don’t hold back your tender mercies from me” (Look for Troubles Surround on the playlist). When I’ve been so joyful I could explode, I could sing out the words “ Praise the Lord O my soul, for you have saved me, and you satisfy my soul with pure delight” – Psalm 103 (also on the playlist).

The language of the psalms continues to connect to deep places within our humanity and also speaks to our divine purpose. My prayer is that God would continue to be our light, our salvation and the stronghold of our lives (Psalm 27), and that our souls would find rest in God alone (Psalm 62).


About the Author: Travis Agnew
Travis is the worship pastor for Blackhawk Downtown and has always enjoyed musical expression. He enjoys diverse cultures and languages and integrating unique instruments into daily life. He also writes and records music and loves playing in diverse music venues. His music can be found online at https://travisagnewandthetinroofsparrow.bandcamp.com/as well as itunes and spotify. He also loves to laugh and explore the outdoors with family which sometimes means watching his kids play sports! Travis and his wife Amy have 3 children, Elias their firstborn biological child and Danite and Amanuel who are adopted twins from Ethiopia.