8 Psalms, 7 Ways – Brett McCracken

It shouldn’t be surprising that Christian musicians return, again and again, to the Psalms for inspiration. The Bible’s songbook is an incredibly rich, timeless repository of poetry, prayer, and worship. The Psalms are theologically and emotionally robust, vivid in their imagery and raw in their honest expression.

We don’t know what the Psalms sounded like when they were sung by Jesus, or by the early Christians whose worship we know consisted of “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” (Col. 3:16). But there’s a beauty in not knowing, because it means generations of musically talented believers have had creative freedom to set the Psalms to music in diverse and wonderful ways. On this point, there’s something of a renaissance happening in the music being made around the Psalms. Recent examples include Poor Bishop Hooper’s EveryPsalm project, Cardiphonia’s Psalm-inspired collections (their latest release is Psalm 119), and The Verses Project’s Psalm 139.

It’s good to sing the Psalms, for so many reasons, and to listen to others sing them. Music is a beautiful gift that—in a mysterious way—can communicate and add textures to truth, binding it to our hearts as well as ingraining it in our heads. As a celebration of the diverse ways artists can sing the Psalms, I created a new playlist (available on Spotify and Apple Music) featuring eight different Psalms, seven versions of each. There are many versions of almost all 150 of Scripture’s Psalms, so this is just a sampling and by no means exhaustive.

As you immerse yourself in these 56 tracks, I pray their timeless truths will nourish your soul and, if you’re musically inclined, inspire you to pen your own musical settings of these sacred texts.

Psalm 19

  • “Psalm 19,” Jess Ray
  • “Psalm 19,” Poor Bishop Hooper
  • “The Heavens Are Telling (Psalm 19),” Rain for Roots
  • “Psalm 19,” The Choir of Westminster Abbey
  • “Psalm 19,” The Corner Room
  • “Psalm 19:14,” Matt Papa
  • “Let the Words of My Mouth (Psalm 19:14; Philippians 4:8),” Fernando Ortega

Psalm 23

  • “Psalm 23,” Melanie Penn
  • “Psalm 23,” Poor Bishop Hooper
  • “Psalm 23 (live),” Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir feat. Shane and Shane
  • “Psalm 23 (My Shepherd Will Supply),” Stephen Gordon
  • “Good Shepherd,” Brother Isaiah
  • “Part VI (23rd Psalm),” Mahalia Jackson and Duke Ellington
  • “The House of God, Forever,” Jon Foreman

Psalm 46

  • “Psalm 46,” Bifrost Arts feat. Chelsey Scott
  • “Psalm 46,” Jenny and Tyler
  • “Fortress (Psalm 46),” Matt Searles
  • “Psalm 46,” The Choir of Westminster Abbey
  • “Psalm 46,” Streetlights
  • “Psalm 46 (Be Still),” Greg LaFollette
  • “Be Still,” Loud Harp

Psalm 73

  • “Psalm 73: O God, How Good Thou Art,” Nathan Clark George
  • “Psalm 73,” Indelible Grace Music
  • “Psalm 73,” Sons of Korah
  • “Psalm 73—Want,” Geoff and Chelsea Grant
  • “(73) The Nearness of You,” Loud Harp
  • “Psalm 73,” The Choir of Westminster Abbey
  • “Hold Me Near (Psalm 73),” Enter the Worship Circle and Karla Adolphe

Psalm 90

  • “Wisdom and Grace (Psalm 90),” Rain for Roots feat. Sandra McCracken
  • “Psalm 90,” Bifrost Arts feat. Sarah Gregory
  • “Psalm 90,” Pillar Music
  • “Psalm 90,” St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Church of Washington D.C. Choir
  • “Psalm 90,” The Crossing Music
  • “Lord, Thou Hast Been Our Refuge (Psalm 90),” Ralph Vaughn Williams, Choir of King’s College, Cambridge
  • “God Is Everlasting (Psalm 90:1–2),” Seeds Family Worship

Psalm 119

  • “Flourishing (Psalm 119),” Sandra McCracken
  • “Blessed Are All Only in Jesus (Psalm 119:1–8),” Cardiphonia Music, Advent Birmingham
  • “We Need to Hear Your Word (Psalm 119:33–40),” Cardiphonia Music, Nathan Partain
  • “Psalm 119:33–40,” The Corner Room
  • “How I Love to Hear You Speak (Psalm 119:97–104),” Cardiphonia Music, Wendell Kimbrough
  • “My Eyes Long for Your Salvation (Psalm 119:121–28),” Cardiphonia Music, Paul Zach
  • “I Love Your Law (Psalm 119:161–68),” Cardiphonia Music, Sister Sinjin

Psalm 121

  • “Psalm 121,” All Sons and Daughters
  • “My Help (Psalm 121),” Michael Card
  • “I Lift My Eyes Up (Psalm 121),” Cardiphonia Music, Caroline Cobb
  • “Psalm 121,” The Corner Room
  • “Psalm 121,” Jonathan Salas
  • “I Lift My Eyes (Psalm 121),” Keith and Kristyn Getty
  • “(121) I Lift My Eyes,” Loud Harp

Psalm 131

  • “Psalm 131,” Waterdeep
  • “Be Still My Soul (Psalm 131),” Sandra McCracken
  • “Psalm 131,” Sarah Sparks
  • “Psalm 131,” The Orchardist
  • “Psalm 131 (Come to the Quiet),” John Michael Talbot
  • “Angle of Repose,” The Pharaoh Sisters
  • “Humble, Lord, My Haughty Spirit (Psalm 131),” Cardiphonia Music, Wes Crawford

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