The Psalms collectively are called in Hebrew Tehillim or "Praises," but the word mizmor, which denotes a composition set to music, is found in the titles of many of them. (See Bible Dictionary, 1983 LDS edition of King James Bible, page 754.)
The Book of Psalms contains many eloquent, as well as plaintive, examples of prayers to the Most High. Then, as now, a mortal's soul reaches heavenward in times of greatest need.In an address at the October 1977 general conference, Elder Howard W. Hunter, then of the Quorum of the Twelve, said: "Our modern times seem to suggest that prayerful devotion and reverence for holiness is unreasonable or undesirable, or both. And yet, skeptical `modern' men have need for prayer. Perilous moments, great responsibility, deep anxiety, overwhelming grief - these challenges that shake us out of old complacencies and established routines will bring to the surface our native impulses. If we let them, they will humble us, soften us, and turn us to respectful prayer. If prayer is only a spasmodic cry at the time of crisis, then it is utterly selfish, and we come to think of God as a repairman or a service agency to help us only in our emergencies. We should remember the Most High day and night - always - not only at times when all other assistance has failed and we desperately need help. If there is any element in human life on which we have a record of miraculous success and inestimable worth to the human soul, it is prayerful, reverential, devout communication with our Heavenly Father.
" `Give ear to my words, O Lord, consider my meditation,' the Psalmist sang.
" `Hearken unto the voice of my cry, my King, and my God: for unto thee will I pray.
" `My voice shalt thou hear in the morning, O Lord; in the morning will I direct my prayer unto thee, and will look up.' (Psalm 5:1-3.)
"Perhaps what this world needs, as much as anything, is to `look up' as the Psalmist said - to look up in our joys as well as our afflictions, in our abundance as well as in our need. We must continually look up and acknowledge God as the giver of every good thing and the source of our salvation."