1 Chronicles 16:9-24
From as early as I can remember, music has been a part of me. At about age 5, I would clear the living room coffee table and begin my “practice sessions,” which consisted of my fingers playing imaginary piano keys and the only audible notes, my constant hum. I mean, really, that coffee table sounded Ah-mazing!
By age eight, I was practicing with actual piano keys. The sound from those sessions might have been more of a bang, but I was so excited to begin my musical journey! By age 12, I had been a part of numerous piano recitals. At 16, I was playing our church’s offertory each Sunday, and singing monthly specials at church. By age 30, I had been in several musical groups for school and church, and thus began my worship team experience.
I have dabbled in many musical genres throughout the years, but this worship leader was always drawn back to hymns, Christian contemporary, and worship music.
Here’s my story…
I could not contain my excitement any longer! The anticipation was almost overwhelming! Eeeeek! You see, my favorite artist of all time was putting out new music, a new tape! Ok, wait a minute, I just told you my age. A tape means another soundtrack, a CD! Ahem.
“The long-ago moment danced and breathed and lived inside her.”
(A Distant Shore, Karen Kingsbury)
And my “long-ago moment”…
I was a teenager awaiting the anticipated soundtrack, Lead Me On, from a popular artist, Amy Grant. Whenever a new song was released, I continuously listened to the lyrics and music. I would lay on my bed, pouring over the lyrics, line by line, memorizing each word, verse by verse, chorus to bridge; knowing exactly when to come in. (For us musicians, it’s all about the lyrics, timing, tempo, and beat!)
As years passed, I began viewing lyrics and music a bit differently. I discovered how it shaped my outlook on life, love, and relationships. At the Desiring God 2008 National Conference, John Piper said, “Music can move our emotions, but it can’t speak propositional truth.” Oh my, does it speak! So let’s talk about emotions and music.
Emotions play an important role in music, but emotions are momentary, fading upon each minute in our fleeting lives, a roller coaster of feelings dependent on our circumstances, our expectations, our hopes, our fears—well, you get the picture.
But what if song lyrics became a “prayer” and spoke truth to our souls? Or, better yet, what if the cries of our souls became a lyrical pursuit of praise?
Let me give an example. Look up a song on YouTube. It could be one of your worship favorites, or a song that is speaking to you today. Mine is “Great You Are” by Jordan Smith.
I’ll give you a few minutes . . . ready? Ok, now listen to the video.
Look through the lyrics. If it helps, retrieve a song with a lyric video. Really hear the song. Can you feel what the writer or the artist is trying to convey? What emotions are you feeling as you listen? In the song mentioned above, it is speaking of the greatness of my God. I ponder all He has done for me!
These days, many songs also have a “story behind the song” video. Does yours? If your song doesn’t have one, then listen to it again, paying special attention to words or phrases that contain Scripture reference. (“Great You Are,” see Luke 19:39-40) Do you see how this song could be a prayer of praise to the Holy One?
Here’s another example: “No One Higher” (Psalm 145:3) by Aaron Shust. Go ahead, click the link. Notice the Scripture references at the end of each line? This song speaks of the Truth and gives praise and honor to Whom it is due, God. (Psalm 65:1, Psalm 92:1)
God is Sovereign over all. There is no one higher than our God!
I went a little further and researched a familiar hymn, “How Great Thou Art.” I listened to many versions and then started looking up Scriptures like Psalm 145:3-7. Did you know the book of Psalms is actually a group of songs David wrote? Every Psalm could become a prayer of praise reminding us of Who God is! Isn’t this amazing?
Here is what I found, every lyrical line or stanza in How Great Thou Art speaks a different Psalm. In other words, while singing, we are singing Scripture. When we do this, our praise and worship becomes powerful! When we speak God’s Word back to Him, we are truly worshipping our Heavenly Father. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
Now, how’s that for “lyrical pursuit?”
Oh, about my childhood soundtrack, I still know every lyric of every song on that album. Just listen to Lead Me On. Still speaks to me! I’m going right now to take another listen, too!
Worship IX, Day 14
No matter the storms raging around you today, take refuge in God and rejoice in the shelter He brings.
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