Prophecy and Potency in the Psalms of King David and in the arts

I’ve been thinking about different types of Prophecy.

I took this photo of a beautiful statue of King David near his tomb in the old city of Jerusalem. Note that before he became king, he was asked to play the harp for King Saul, which healed the King of an “evil spirit”. Presumably, David learnt his music whilst being a shepherd, surrounded by the sounds of nature, but his music has the power to heal from oppression.

Much later, David becomes King, but he is also a prophet. “The spirit of the Lord hath spoken by me and his word by my tongue” (2 Samuel 23:2) is a direct affirmation of the prophetic inspiration in the poem that follows. On the New Advent website I learnt that St. Peter tells us that he was a prophet in Acts 2:30 and that his prophecies are embodied in the Psalms, “many of which refer to the suffering, the persecution, and the triumphant deliverance of Christ, or to the prerogatives conferred on Him by the Father.”

In addition to prophetic utterance through art, his whole life is deemed to be prophetic in the sense that he is a type of the Messias to come

Bethlehem is the birthplace of both; the shepherd life of David points out Christ, the Good Shepherd; the five stones chosen to slay Goliath are typical of the five wounds. The betrayal by his trusted counsellor, Achitophel, and the passage over the Cedron remind us of Christ’s Sacred Passion.”

So, perhaps to be worshipful is the beginning of prophecy because it is truthful, but prophecy itself, is an additional gift of the Holy Spirit – Ruach HaKodesh. I love reading about the worship in the Temple and imagining the incredible sound of the levitical choir. You can read about the amazing details of the worship on Nigun website here.

There must be so much to learn about artistic gifts being anointed with a spiritual gifting, whether of healing, prophecy, worship or even guidance of the nation. If the Lord is present in the praises of His people then surely worship awakens the prophetic?

What do others think? Does anyone have any good books to recommend about the prophetic nature of the psalms and the spiritual nature of artistic gifts? Which colleges of the arts would you recommend, that seek directly to understand, research and apply the spiritual nature of the giftings attached to artistic work? These seem to be expressed frequently in the theosophical sites and courses, but is the Judeao-Christian tradition becoming shy about the practical application of the spiritual potency of the arts? If so, I think it’s time we took our work more seriously and approached the power of beauty not just in an intellectualised sense, but with a sense of awe and capacity.

Megan recently pointed out to me a fascinating course at the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology with a focus on the Arts, in California, it definitely seems to major on the academic, rather than positioning the academic as a truthful foundation for actual artistic professional work. I need to investigate further, and give them a ring. Maybe bards need to offer something here and also learn? Surely we need both the academic foundations and the mentoring in the full potency of the practical application.

If it’s happening elsewhere, let’s hear about it!

One Comment

  1. The Centre for Faith and Culture in Oxford has been working on this for some time. They're of Catholic persuasion.

    Unfortunately their arts page is 'under development', but they have a forum accessible from the Second Spring website ( where there are interesting posts (including one on Mumford and Sons, which I'm raving about these days).

    They also run a 2-week summer school at St Thomas More College. See

    Interestingly, they've resurrected the Guild system as a means of training artists – see the Medieval Guilds link on the page above.

Comments are closed.