Songs of Travelers to Jerusalem

Reading Time: 5 Minutes

There is a collection of Psalms from 120 to 134 that were sung by pilgrims who were traveling to Jerusalem to celebrate three feasts in the presence of the Lord.

I can imagine bands of travelers singing these songs as they made their way to Jerusalem. It kept their hearts and minds focused on the purpose of their journey – a personal meeting with God.

For today’s article, we will visit some of their songs and join them in praise and prayer.

Prayer for Jerusalem

The Psalms frequently remind us to pray for Jerusalem. When you think of all of the different nationalities in Bible days, we no longer can locate Philistines, Jebusites or Hittites. Yet, the Jews continue to this day.

The Jews exist today, because they have been chosen by God for a purpose. “For you are a people holy to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on earth to be his people, his treasured possession” (Deuteronomy 7.6).

Let’s regularly pray this for Israel and Jewish people.

Pray for the peace of Jerusalem:
“May they prosper who love you.
Peace be within your walls,
and security within your towers.”
(Psalm 122.6-7)

Prayer for Mercy

Frank Laubach sought to obey the command to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5.17). He did so by praying what he called “flash prayers” to God throughout the day.

One way we can involve God in our lives is to pray a short prayer, “Lord, have mercy.”

This is the way the people who traveled to Jerusalem sang about their need for God’s mercy.

To you I lift up my eyes,
O you who are enthroned in the heavens!
As the eyes of servants
look to the hand of their master,
as the eyes of a maid
to the hand of her mistress,
so our eyes look to the Lord our God,
until he has mercy upon us.
(Psalm 123.1-2)

Sorrow Turned to Joy

The people of God experienced more than their share of suffering. Famine, war, and the hardships of living in a primitive society were realities that confronted each generation.

As the crowd traveled to Jerusalem they sang of how God gave them joy in the midst of suffering.

The Lord has done great things for us,
and we rejoiced.
(Psalm 126.3)

May those who sow in tears
reap with shouts of joy.
(Psalm 126.5)

As this will be a difficult Christmas season for so many, we can pray with the faith of Israel. Think about it. God has done great things for us throughout our lives.

We may be tearful over the disruption of life and sorrows of 2020, but soon joy will return.

All of this is because of God’s great grace toward us.

God is Our Security

The Temple complex in Jerusalem was a powerful and beautiful sight for travelers, who lived very simple lives in modest dwellings. The Temple was also a very strong fortress against enemy aggression.

Even though the Temple was awesome, they knew that only God could make the “house of the Lord” what it was intended to be.

They reminded themselves of this fact by singing Psalm 127 on their way to Jerusalem.

Unless the Lord builds the house,
those who build it labor in vain.
Unless the Lord guards the city,
the guard keeps watch in vain.
(Psalm 127.1)

I am thankful for the corona virus vaccine and plan to take it when it becomes available for me. I am thankful for the men and women of our military and law enforcement.

I am grateful to live in a country with the best economy in the world.

However, I know that if God does not build the “house,” America, or guard our cities, it will all be in vain.

I use this Psalm and others to declare my trust in God. Only in a relationship with God do we have purpose and safety.

May We Pray for You?

Thanks for joining in this study of these short, but powerful songs. Tomorrow, we will continue with the remainder of them.

If you have a prayer request, please email me at or private message me on Facebook. I will pray for you and ask the prayer team at Maywood Baptist to pray, too.


  1. I got interested in genealogy after my mom passed away 6 years ago. I wanted to do two things, find mom’s birth family and discover more about the native American who was my Great Great Grandmother. I wish I had done so earlier because it did not take long to find mom’s niece and nephews in California, and to exchange photos with my “new” cousin, Donelle. Mom was the only one of 4 kids placed in foster care, so Donelle has memories and photos of our grandmother and of mom’s siblings. On a side note, finding more information about the native American has been difficult.

    But, I mention my quest this morning because one of the more interesting parts of my research is that I am of Jewish decent. Obviously, the English/Dutch blood are more prevalent in my coloring – however, according to 23&me, my genetic testing reveals that I am likely related to Luke.

    So…not only am I heir by virtue of my faith in Christ Jesus, I am also a tiny bit of God’s chosen people called for a purpose. I don’t believe that this minuscule drop of DNA gives me higher standing, but it does remind me that God has purpose for my life, in my words, in my being. As Jews and Gentiles intermarried and mingled blood, the power of a trace of Jewish line from thousands of years ago remains a permanent part of my history.

    Isn’t that amazing? We simply can’t remove what God has placed in us.

    And to circle back to this blog about the Psalms of the Jewish travelers, it does give a different perspective to praying for Jerusalem – for Jewish people to know and accept Jesus as the ultimate sacrifice for our sin.

    As I pray for mercy, as He gives me joy even in sorrow, as I rely on His security, I am left with a sense of awe in His majesty. I had forgotten about that drop of Jewish blood – but I can be assured God hasn’t.

    Liked by 1 person

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