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Acrostic Psalms

Updated on February 29, 2008
Jesus is Lord
Jesus is Lord
Calvary
Calvary

I started writing Acrostic Psalms over ten years ago for my own pleasure and enjoyment. I find meditating on the Word of God to be exhilarating...and the intense prayer and meditation required to write an Acrostic Psalm is spiritually rewarding.

One of the oldest forms of poetry, there are several instances of acrostics mentioned in the Bible, most notably Psalm 119 and Psalm 145, but I could find little use of this ancient writing technique in modern spiritual poetry.

Acrostics, Acronyms, and Initialism

According to Webster's, an "acrostic" is "a composition, usually in verse, in which the initial, final or other prearranged letters in each line when taken together spell out a word."

While "acronym" is commonly used to describe both acronyms and initialisms, some prefer to differentiate between the two. As such, an acronym would be letters representing words that are pronounced as a word, like FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency); while initialism would be letters representing words that are pronounced as letters, like CEO (Chief Executive Officer).

Acrostics are similar in nature and typically represent an acronym-initialism hybrid. As a fan of both acronyms and initialisms, I was immediately drawn to this unique form of poetry...in part because there is very little use of the technique in modern spiritual poetry; and in part because I found the technique to be spiritually stimulating.

Acrostic Psalms

Acrostic Psalms, as I define them, do not necessarily follow the traditional meaning of "psalm" as "a praise and worship song or hymn." Neither do they follow the rhyme or rhythm standards normally associated with traditional Western poetry.

For my purposes, I define an Acrostic Psalm as a verse in which the first letter of each line when taken together spell a word; and the verse when read describes or defines the spiritual nature or influence of the word.

For example:

     Great is He who sits
     On the throne and
     Delivers us from evil
 
 

There is no standard for writing Acrostic Psalms. Some writers highlight the first letter using capitals, bold type, or florishes to make the acrostic easily discernible, others prefer to conceal the acrostic by keeping the letter in line with generally accepted practices of style.

For example:

     Prayers
     are sometimes answered
     in ways we could
     never understand
 

I have used both forms in my writing. I like the mystery of concealing the acrostic when reading the verse...providing a "surprise" when the acrostic is discovered. Highlighting seems to work better when creating lithographs and video presentations...emphasizing the dramatic impact of the word itself. I would be interested in your comments on the subject.

Acrostic Psalms are not confined to Biblical words. They can be, and usually are, common words defined in a spiritual context through the accompanying verse.

As in these examples:

     Place your
     eternal hopes
     and dreams with God
     cast out fear and
     enter into His presence
 
 
     Count
     on God's
     unswerving commitment
     never doubt His wisdom
     seek His answer first and
     enjoy the peace He
     lavishes on those who trust in Him
 
 

They can be long or short. Some, like "GOD," are just three lines; others, like "JESUS IS LORD," are much longer. Unlike Haiku or other forms of poetry, it is not the length, rhyme, or rhythm of the verse; it is the spiritual connotation.

While I hesitate to say that promoting Acrostic Psalms is my mission in life, I love the art form so much that I just registered www.acrosticpsalms.com as a vehicle to raise the awareness of the writing pleasure and spiritual benefit proffered by Acrostic Psalms. The site will offer writing tips and contests; and serve as a platform for writers to display their work.

If you would like to try your hand at writing an Acrostic Psalm I would love to see your work. You can send them to revans@dspub.com.

God once told me, "An ocean begins with a single drop of rain." Perhaps this Hub is the first drop in the ocean of spiritual revival through an increased awareness of this ancient writing technique. Time will tell.

And speaking of telling, please tell your friends to visit this page and cast their vote...and let's see if this drop can become an ocean.

Ray Evans

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    • Ray Evans profile imageAUTHOR

      Ray Evans 

      6 years ago from Arlington, TX

      I would love to help, Amber; but I'm not sure what you're asking. Do you have to write one or just find information on them? Feel free to contact me at revans@simplegrafx.com and I will try to help you.

    • profile image

      amber brown 

      6 years ago

      i cant think of an acrostic poem for christinaty and other religions and its do in 2 days wat do i looke up some on google and didn't find any

    • profile image

      wblsarah@yahoo.com 

      7 years ago

      do a great job do you know anybody besides ginger meow that does any acrostic name poems for both male and females besides rosario or websites that does it for free please email me happy easter sarah marie

    • Ray Evans profile imageAUTHOR

      Ray Evans 

      7 years ago from Arlington, TX

      I want to add this comment to wblsarah. If you're referring to the acrostic "name" poems I've seen on other Hubs...there is software available (not free) that will write them for you (I have the software, along with several other "name-related" programs at http://www.goodnamegifts.com). It's a nifty little side-business, but they're not the same as Acrostic Psalms.

    • Ray Evans profile imageAUTHOR

      Ray Evans 

      7 years ago from Arlington, TX

      Unfortunately, there’s not much out there. You can find a few places with a Google search, but I’m not sure what you’re looking for.

      You’ve read my Hub which pretty much explains what it is and how to write one. If you’re looking for pre-written Acrostic Psalms…other than the ones I’ve written…I’ve not found any.

      Best bet, write one yourself…pick a word and meditate on it. It can be a very rewarding exercise.

      Good luck and God bless

    • profile image

      wblsarah@yahoo.com 

      7 years ago

      how do you do acrostic psalms like for lutheran, christian, and catholic, and irish psalm. please email me any info or free stuff on acrostics name poems or psalms or websites or books i should get. thanks

    • Ray Evans profile imageAUTHOR

      Ray Evans 

      7 years ago from Arlington, TX

      Thanks sligobay. Unfortunately I haven't done much lately and still don't have the site up...too many projects, too little time. I did manage to post some at http://www.goodnamegifts.com. You'll find them under "Inspirational Gifts/Inspirational Ink" along with some other inspired verses. Thanks again and may God richly bless you on your journey through life.

    • sligobay profile image

      sligobay 

      7 years ago from east of the equator

      This is my first knowledge of acrostic poetry and a lovely way to be exposed to the form - spiritually. Thank you.

    • khawfash profile image

      khawfash 

      8 years ago from U.S.A

      Very interested.

    • Ray Evans profile imageAUTHOR

      Ray Evans 

      8 years ago from Arlington, TX

      Thanks Khawfash, I'd love to see them when you get done. I haven't done much with the website yet, but I'm thinking of making it a showcase for people who want to write Acrostic Psalms and then putting them in an eBook. Interested?

    • khawfash profile image

      khawfash 

      8 years ago from U.S.A

      Thank you for writing this hub. I'm eager to try my hand at this form of writing.

    • Ray Evans profile imageAUTHOR

      Ray Evans 

      10 years ago from Arlington, TX

      Fillip, You've captured the essence of Acrostic Psalms.  Pick a word...any word...and then meditate on the word; and the Word will answer.  You don't have to force it.  It's not you; but the Spirit within you that does the "talking"...

      He knows

      our situation and will

      provide a way out of

      every problem

      Blessings,

      Ray

    • Fillip profile image

      Fillip 

      10 years ago from atop the grateful castle

      Ray, this is awesome. What a great way to pick yourself up when you're feeling down...write an inspiring Acrostic! I can see your spiritual connection and I can appreciate how this could work in many ways..motivation, success, or any of your favorite human-for-the-better qualities. This is so useful and easy to apply. I'm a fan...thanks for giving me a tool to realize the Universe that's within me :)

    • Ray Evans profile imageAUTHOR

      Ray Evans 

      10 years ago from Arlington, TX

      Thanks to all of you for your words of encouragement. I am so far behind...I am sorry I didn't get to thank you individually.

    • gjcody profile image

      gjcody 

      10 years ago

      Thanks for sharing ...I enjoyed the way the last of the poems were written. Good info to think about ...best of luck with your sea of rain drops. I think of us all as connected is a kind of way and what better way to express it. Good searching ..and my best to you :-)

    • Caregiver-007 profile image

      Margaret Hampton 

      10 years ago from Florida

      Thank you for this beautiful explanation and the examples of Acrostic Psalms. I learned a lot and now understand so much more. I, too, want to add another rain drop in this spiritual sea to His greater glory. You are doing an excellent job here, a service to both God and man, and perhaps creating the beginning of a tidal wave!

    • smartecreation profile image

      smartecreation 

      10 years ago

      Yes! My motto in life is "changing the world, one network at a time". Let me be one additional rain drop in the ocean you are creating :) Very interesting reading!

    • Ray Evans profile imageAUTHOR

      Ray Evans 

      10 years ago from Arlington, TX

      Same to you writemyown...it seems we joined at the same time!

    • writemyown profile image

      writemyown 

      10 years ago

      welcome to hubpages

    • Ray Evans profile imageAUTHOR

      Ray Evans 

      10 years ago from Arlington, TX

      Thanks Froggy!

    • Froggy213 profile image

      Greg Boudonck 

      10 years ago from Returned to an Isla Del Sol - Puerto Rico Will Rise Strong

      Great Hub Ray.Welcome to hubpages.

    • Ray Evans profile imageAUTHOR

      Ray Evans 

      10 years ago from Arlington, TX

      Thanks for your kind words.

      As a "newbie" I'm still finding my way around. Trying to figure out what's acceptable and what's not. I was under the impression that Hub Pages was more interested in "How to" material, so I shyed away from poetry. Maybe I was misinformed...but at least I'm not "in the doghouse!" I love your username :-)

    • In The Doghouse profile image

      In The Doghouse 

      10 years ago from California

      Ray

      This is a very cool way to express your testimony of Jesus Christ and his gospel. Thank you for sharing it with us. I will also look for more from you in this area. Again, Thank you.

    • Ray Evans profile imageAUTHOR

      Ray Evans 

      10 years ago from Arlington, TX

      Thanks Peter

      I've been trying to find my "voice" on Hub Pages. Since you are my first "fan", maybe this is it!

    • Peter M. Lopez profile image

      Peter M. Lopez 

      10 years ago from Sweetwater, TX

      That is a great passion to have. I look forward to more of your work

    working

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