Singing the whole Psalm

Discussion in 'A capella Exclusive Psalmody' started by Five Solas, May 23, 2019.

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  1. Five Solas

    Five Solas Puritan Board Freshman

    Greetings. I'm trying to gauge the thoughts of those wiser than I. My understanding is that the usual practice within EP churches is to sing only portions of a lengthy Psalm within worship - ours usually hovers around the three stanza mark. My presumption is this is purely a mechanism to limit the time taken in singing during worship, and not to eat into too much of the service.

    However, outside of corporate worship, I've come to see the benefit and beauty in singing a Psalm in its entirety, from verse one right through to the very end (with the exception of 119 which has natural breaks). I've implemented this practice into family worship at home, and as a family we will sing the full psalm. Sometimes it takes two minutes, other times fifteen minutes.

    However, when I talk to friends about this, the common reaction is to look at me as if I'm some fascinating new species of creature. Has the practice of singing portions of psalms within worship flowed through to family and private worship as well, and I'm alone in this?

    I'm experientially convinced of the benefit of singing an entire psalm, and don't understand why people see this as odd and unnecessary. Can anyone shed light on this?
  2. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    I don't see anything odd about it and I don't think you are alone in singing through an entire psalm--even 119 is not overlong. It's just a matter of how you want to order your time. I do think it odd if anybody would look askance at how you conduct private worship.
  3. Stephen L Smith

    Stephen L Smith Moderator Staff Member

    Greetings from across the Tasman. The fact that some are less excited about Psalm singing, even singing longer Psalms, speaks to the spiritual poverty of the times. I think there is a place for singing longer Psalms in corporate worship and in family worship.

    For churches that are new to Psalm singing (I am not EP but LOVE singing the Psalms) one can start with something small - Psalm 117 is not too long :)
  4. koenig

    koenig Puritan Board Freshman

    This is one of the unique parts of the Trinity Psalter-Hymnal; some of the psalms are complete, even if it takes four pages to show it.
  5. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Senior

    I have found the same. Psalms have their own themes, or several themes, and by singing the entire psalm you can appreciate the progression of the psalmist's thoughts. Just imagine if you cut off psalm 73 halfway through! You need to see that the psalmist is not left in despair. The same goes for Psalm 42, another favourite of mine. In the midst of great trial, what hope shines forth!
  6. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    My church is not EP, but leans over 50% psalm singing. The psalter we produced has full psalms divided out over however many pages. Except for 119 I think all the psalm is sung and spread throughout the service as needed to get it done.
  7. C. M. Sheffield

    C. M. Sheffield Puritan Board Senior

    We sing all the verses in a psalm or hymn in our church as a rule. Some are quite long. Though I would have no scruple with just singing portions of them either.
  8. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    We often divide a psalm into several portions and sing each portion in the course of a service.
  9. kodos

    kodos Puritan Board Junior

    No one should think you strange for desiring to sing an entire psalm. I am sorry that you get such a reaction. It is a great desire you have. Keep fostering it. As others have said, it might be more of a symptom of where we are as spiritual people right now. Likely for a similar reason that people want short Scripture readings and services that are an hour tops as well!
  10. sc_q_jayce

    sc_q_jayce Puritan Board Freshman

    For our family worship we use the Trinity Psalter and there are natural breaks over certain verses. Sometimes we stop at these breaks. For example, some Psalms in there are splits between a 5 verse group and a 4 verse group. In this case, we'll sing the section. We try to sing the same psalm all week to get the music and words in our heads.
  11. Logan

    Logan Puritan Board Junior

    I agree. I feel that by singing psalm portions, we lose the continuity of the psalm and end up with the potential of picking those portions we like best, rather than being taught how we should think. Even breaking the psalm up and singing it over the entirety of the service tends toward a disruption of the thought---for me at least.

    Our private practice is to sing the entirety of the psalm. And sometimes it takes ten minutes, but that's not terribly long.
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