I’m a songbird.
Well, I’m not a bird. But I do sing. Not professionally. Some days not even very well. But I sing anyway.
I remind myself of David and his dancing before the Lord. From his wife Michal’s comments, David never would have made it past the first week on Dancing with the Stars. But what he lacked in grace or style, he evidently made up for in enthusiasm.
That’s me when it comes to singing. In fact, just try and stop me from singing! I sing all day, every day. Sometimes out loud but always in my head. It can be very annoying, especially when the song that’s stuck in my head is a jingle from a TV ad. Other times it’s a song, I only know the first line to. In fact, I’ll confess right here that I evidently know the first line of every song ever written. But only the first line.
I also sing in my sleep. I know this because when I wake up during the night, that same song I fell asleep to is still running through my head.
Remembering the wisdom that if life hands you a lemon…oh, no! Now I’m singing that 1960’s classic, Lemon Tree.
Like me, you’ve probably had days when you’ve had a song stuck in your head. When I find myself singing an annoying, silly ditty, I stop myself, pick a nice hymn or contemporary Christian song, stick it on the CD player of my brain and suddenly, my annoying habit has become a way to pray and focus on God.
Did you read my post last week about praying the meaning of names of loved ones? Here’s the post.
Just as I discovered the joy of praying names, I have discovered joy in praying songs. Singing a hymn throughout the day is one way I can pray unceasingly, without forcing myself to do anything unusual or unnatural. The trick is to get the right song stuck in your head.
WHAT SONGS TO PRAY?
When I wake in the morning, I often find myself singing Cat Steven’s Morning has Broken. Did you know it’s a song about God’s creation? Listen to the lyrics and chances are it’ll set you off in prayer. You’ll thank God for the new day He has created. Ask Him to use you in whatever way He has planned.
When I sit down to write out a prayer for the Christian Writers forum I’m a member of, I often begin by singing “We gather together (on this site) to ask the Lord’s blessing” (on our writing). Singing that hymn is a reminder that I’m part of a community and that we gather together online to encourage each other and to ask for God not only to bless, but to guide and inspire our writing for His purpose.
When I go for a walk, I begin praying in the Spirit by singing the Doxology. These simple words remind me that all blessings flow from our Triune God.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
Praise Him, all creatures here below.
Praise Him above—ye heavenly hosts.
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.
The Doxology is also a reminder that, I’m joining in a heavenly sing-along.
In fact, any time I find myself singing a song that doesn’t praise God or remind me that He’s in charge, I will not worry about finding the perfect song. I can simply sing the Doxology and it brings me back in line with Him and my place in His creation.
When I pray for a sick friend, I can sing There is a Balm in Gilead throughout the day and be reminded to pray for her continuously.
When I need courage for a struggle, I can sing Onward Christian Soldier.
When I feel myself not as loving toward someone else, I can sing Steven Curtis Chapman’s Fingerprints of God to remind myself that the person is God’s creation, too.
And when I just want to praise God, there’s Amazing Grace, For the Beauty of the Earth, Fairest Lord Jesus, and The Halleluiah Chorus. Be grateful you’re not inside my head when I’m singing that one. It’s quite an energetic—if not entirely harmonic—experience!
WE PRAY IN DIFFERENT WAYS
There are many ways to pray. Jesus gave an example of one form of prayer that we can follow, when He gave us The Lord’s Prayer. Start with praise and recognition of where God resides and that He is in chargeàrequest what we needàrequest forgiveness and protectionàaffirm God’s kingdom, power and eternal character.
We can also jot down people and circumstances that need prayer and pray through them.
We can sit quietly and let the Spirit lead our prayer wherever He sees it should go.
We can pray for others based on the meaning of their names.
And we can pray unceasingly throughout the day by singing songs of joy, petition and praise. Even if you're singing praise songs in your head, God can hear them because the Holy Spirit is right there inside your head, too listening. And probably smiling even if you miss a few of the notes.
We don’t have to be named Celine to sing songs that will be lifted to God in prayer. Just as God loved David despite his lack of a royal choreographer, so will He love our prayer songs to Him.
NOTE: There are some terrific websites that provide the music and lyrics for hymns. Net Hymnal allows you to search for the name of a hymn. The site will not only bring up the lyrics, but will play a digital version of the song and give you historical background of the writer and musician.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for creating prayer so we can communicate with you. Thank you for allowing us many forms of prayer. However we pray, please look to our hearts and understand that when we sing praises to you, they come from the child-like love in our hearts for you. Amen.
WHAT ABOUT YOU? Do you have a favorite hymn or contemporary Christian song? What is it? Can you use that song as a form of prayer that you can sing unceasingly throughout the day?