I sing. I sing during the long rides from my place to the office and back. I’m usually on autopilot, but singing keeps me sane on those long, boring, monotonous daily journeys. I sing many things and among the songs I sing are the latest songs from Hillsongs, Wow Worship and Sonicflood (there’s only so much Te Deum you can sing). And several praise and worship ‘golden oldies’ from Delirious, Matt Redman et al. Yeah, yeah, anathema to me. Whatever. Anyway. Some people often question me about prayers. About set, formal, repetitive, structured prayers versus the extemporaneous prayers often found among those from the Charismatic Renewal.
So, I was singing ‘Thank You Lord’ and ‘Amazing Love’ just now, in the rain, on my way back to the office, and this occurred to me. Many people all over the world sing these songs as their devotion. They make the songs their prayers and the words and lyrics their very own. I know I sure did as I sang ‘Thank You Lord’. Why do they do it? Why do I do it? Because the song gives words to my thoughts, structures them, expresses the words of my heart. Is it repetitive? Sure. No less repetitive than when I pray the Our Father, the Hail Mary or when I sing O Sacred Head. But are they less heartfelt? Most definitely not.
People sing these songs and pray the lyrics because it systematises their thoughts, so they don’t have to think about what to say but to concentrate to mean what they are saying. So too the prayers of the Church which express all we want to say to God in such a beautiful, concise way. It frees us from fumbling about with words to express ourselves. When we pray these prayers, we pray with the words and the voice of the many Christians who have gone before us and are now repeating these words before the Throne of Grace. We join with the angels and saints in their very words as we cry Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty.
Prayers, be they structured or extemporaneous, need to come from the heart. We need to make their words our own and so make a fitting offering to the Lord our God who always hears the cries and sighs of His children. So, Thank You Lord! I Can Sing of Your Love Forever!
Yeah, Thank You Lord is no O Sacred Head. But it does not have to be. And sometimes the simple words, from the heart, are the ones that bring us closest to God.
2 hours ago