Our Prayer Problem – Singing Will Help Us to Pray

January 28th, 2013

Thinking back over this past week, I don’t remember spending any sort of intentional time in prayer for any significant period of time. Thirty seconds here and there for meals, bedtimes, praying over the concerns of others when they ask for it, and maybe a few other times that I’m forgetting about. Then I justify my pathetic prayer life by saying, “At least I’ve been reading my Bible.” If I took my Bible reading seriously I would come to that place where it says “Never stop praying” and start praying. The fact is that my cumulative time spent in prayer each week is less than an hour. If you’re honest, I’m guessing you’ll admit your prayer life is much the same as mine. Even the people who can honestly say they pray for more than a few minutes here and there will still say they don’t pray enough. An all-out prayer warrior will tell you that it’s not possible to pray enough.

Prayer

This morning was different for me, however. I spent about ten minutes learning the tenor part to “Holy, Holy, Holy” (click here to learn your part too). Interestingly enough, I was praying the entire time. When we sing to God, we are praying. When we sing to God in a group, we are praying in a group. When we sing our different parts in a group, we are all contributing unique content to our prayer. When we take the time to learn our part of a song that was designed to be sung in four part harmony, we can meditate on the words and let them penetrate our hearts. We pray on our own as we learn our part, then again in a group as we sing it with other believers who have also let the words of the prayer penetrate their hearts.

Song is not just an extra help to our prayer life, it is a necessary element. In fact, most of the prayers in the Bible are songs. Mary’s prayer in Luke 1 seems to have been some sort of song. Exodus 15 explicitly states that Miriam’s prayer was a song. Although the Bible doesn’t say that Moses actually sang his lengthy prayer in Deuteronomy 32, it does indicate that he was at least reciting a song. Oh, and let’s not forget the Psalms: the longest book of the Bible, which is completely dedicated to prayer through music.

All of the spiritual giants in the New Testament are seen praying through music in scripture. Matthew 26:30 very clearly states that Jesus sang with his disciples, and the phrase “they had sung” presupposes that they sang something they knew; in other words, they sang it more than once before. Acts 16:25 states that Paul and Silas were singing hymns and praying in prison. Ephesians 5:19 (NIV) says, “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord…” Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.” James 5:13 “Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.” As I hope you can see, prayer and song seem to go together more often than not. Our prayer deficiency is partly caused by a singing deficiency. Prayer and song are the same spiritual discipline.

If you don’t sing, it’s time to learn. If you do sing, are you singing?

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