Sandra McCracken’s album Psalms has been my companion through many long days since it was released last spring. The Nashville veteran has previously released albums of folk music, hymns, and even children’s music that I have enjoyed but her Psalms album arrived at a time when I personally was looking for language that would free me to pray more faithfully and honestly.
The Psalms were originally written as the prayerbook of the people of Israel and we have inherited a treasury of bold prayers tapping into a wide-range of emotions and vivid responses to the faithfulness of God that many of us are not confident to voice. McCracken returns these ancient words to songs that express delight, anger, grief, joy, loneliness, and desire. For me, her wise arrangements of the Psalms make them more human and accessible.
Who is brave enough to pray these words?
Vindicate me, O God, and defend my cause
Against the deceitful man, O deliver us
For you are the God in whom I take refuge
Why have you rejected me?
I walk around confused.
But McCracken takes this prayer of King David and makes it her own in “Send Out Your Light” based on Psalm 43.
In “Flourishing” she borrows from Psalm 119 and does not waste words as she fearlessly turns to God praying,
Turn my heart away from worthless things
Preserve my life, according to your ways
Take away disgrace
You hold me in my place–flourishing
Psalms is a contemplative, folksy album for a rainy afternoon like today but it also provides a bold pattern for prayer that has power to inspire more faithful and honest responses to God in prayer. For the next few days you can download Psalms with a bonus album from Sandra McCracken and friends that benefits A Rocha, the international Christian conservation organization (because without the beauty of nature the book of Psalms would be cut in half). Get Psalms at Noisetrade for free or make a donation to benefit A Rocha.