Prayerbook

A Catholic Religious Site

"A Collage of Catholic Information"

PSALMS

 

Prayers for all Occasions, Needs, and Intentions


THE PSALMS

God Himself teaches us, How to Pray


The Categories of Psalms

In form and subject matter, however, the Psalms vary greatly. Certain similarities and characteristics suggest some categories:

Royal

2, 18, 20, 21, 45, 72, 89, 101, 110, 132, 144. These are for the enthronement of a king, battle hymns, and thanksgiving for victory. With the fall of the monarchy, many Psalms took on messianic overtones.

Messianic 

2, 22, 45, 69, 72, 89, 110, 132. These are references to David and the future of his line, references which explicitly or implicitly foreshadow Christ, the messianic king in David's family.

Historical

78, 105, 106, 135, 136. The historical Psalms record God's constant involvement with Israel.

Penitential

6, 25, 32, 51, 102, 130, 143. Excluding 25, these are "The Seven Penitential Psalms;" they express sorrow for sin and its results. Traditionally, all were used on Ash Wednesday: the first three (6, 32, 38) are Matins, Psalm 51 at Commination (an Ash Wednesday penitential office in the Anglican tradition in which divine anger and judgment are proclaimed against sinners), and the last three (102, 130, 143) at Evensong.

Imprecatory

35, 52, 58, 59, 69, 109, 137. These are human prayers for vengeance on enemies.

Acrostic

9, 25, 34, 37, 111, 112, 119, 145. These Psalms are called this because of the presence of initial letters of successive verses from the Hebrew alphabet, probably a mnemonic device, a method to help one remember.

Theocratic

95, 96, 97, 98. These Psalms reflect on the sovereignty of God: messianic overtones are present.

Hallel ("Praise")

These are family songs of Passover night: 113, 114 (beginning of meal); 115-118 (end of meal); and 136 ("The Great Hallel").

Songs of ascent

120-134. These Gradual Psalms, or Psalms of the Steps, probably have this name because they formed the "Pilgrim Psalms" (the pilgrimages to Jerusalem for the great annual feasts). The number fifteen signifies ascent and progression, and is found symbolically in the number of steps of the temple, and in the mysteries of the Rosary.

Protection prayers

34, 52, 54, 56, 57, 59, 140, 141, 142, 143. Some are of David fleeing Saul.

Hallelujah (Alleluia, "Praise the Lord")

146-150. Each begins and ends with this word, common as well in other Psalms and a fitting crescendo for the Book of Psalms.

Hymns

8, 19, 29, 33, 46, 47, 48, 65, 67, 76, 84, 87, 92, 93, 95-100, 103-105, 111, 113-115, 117, 145-150. Many of these Psalms, include an introduction or call to worship, a reason to worship, and a conclusion, which may repeat the introduction utter a blessing, vow, or brief petition.

Collective lamentation

44, 60, 74, 79, 80. These are said on penitential days and for public calamities, and include a memorial of God's past mercy and an expression of confidence.

Individual lamentation

3, 5, 6, 7, 13, 22, 26, 31, 35. These Psalms include an invocation of God for help, a description of need, a petition for deliverance, a reason for granting petition, and an expression of confidence.

Gratitude

9, 10, 18, 30, 32, 34, 40, 41, 65, 66, 67, 75, 103, 107, 116, 118, 120, 124, 129, 136, 138.

Praise

7, 8, 19, 29, 47, 93, 96, 97, 98, 99, 104, 146

Meditation

8, 9, 10, 12, 36, 39, 49, 50, 53, 73, 77, 82, 94, 139, 141

Lamentation and intense prayer

25, 32, 33, 44, 74, 79, 80, 86, 88

Wisdom

1, 32, 37, 49, 73, 112, 119, 127, 128, 133, 139

Confidence

11, 16, 23, 27, 62, 63, 91, 108, 121, 125, 131

 

 
 

Prayerbook

A Catholic Religious Site

"A Collage of Catholic Information"

PSALMS