Have you ever wondered why there’s music in a church service? Is it just to fill time? Is it out of tradition – it’s what we’ve always done? Have you ever considered your role during the music? Did you even know that you have a role to play?
For some, they might say that music is placed within a service to fill time (because who wants to listen to the pastor for 60 min?), or that it’s just what we’ve always done. Many may think it’s just what they have to sit through in order to get to the message. These are all very sad and incorrect ideas.
Music is a gift from God. Throughout the bible we see song being used to connect people’s hearts to God, to cry out to Him, to honor Him, to celebrate and to mourn. All you have to do is take a quick look at any psalm and you will find command after command to sing to the Lord, make music and shout! God’s Word doesn’t change, He still commands us to do this.
If God tells us to do something it’s for our own good, right? He’s not being mean or unreasonable just to prove a point. His love for us is so deep that everything He tells us to do is for our benefit. Song, music is no different. So, what’s the benefit of singing and making music to God? Here are 3 reasons you should be singing about God, for God and to God.
1. Singing breaks down our walls and prepares us to hear and receive the Word of God.
When we open our mouths and sing, our hearts soften and open. Singing does something within us that lets us set aside all that’s weighing us down and just be in the moment. Have you ever been driving along and your favorite song comes on the radio? It doesn’t matter what you were just thinking about, you dive in and sing along, probably smiling and belting it out with zero regard for who may hear or see. How about when you hear that song that was playing when you were at your high school dance and your biggest crush asked YOU to dance, every time you hear that song you’re transported back in time. Music has power. When we’re in a church service and the worship team is singing, it’s not just to fill time, they are intentionally setting the table for you to remember that you are a child of the King and you are invited and welcome to sit and partake with your Father. Music has the ability to soften our hearts and pull our walls down. It’s then that we are ready to hear what the Spirit wants to say to us through the teaching and preaching of the Word.
2. Singing writes truth on our hearts.
How do you teach a small child something you want them to remember? You put it in a song. This practice works for all of us, you want to remember something, add a melody and you’re set. Case in point, have you heard the title track for The Greatest Showman? If so, you’re probably hearing the song play in your head even now and it’ll likely be stuck with you the rest of the day – you’re welcome. When we sing worship songs that proclaim the truth of God and the truth of who we are in Christ, we are writing these truths on our hearts. When we remember God’s faithfulness and sing out a song proclaiming this truth our hearts are lifted and hope floods our weary souls. When we are lost and afraid, singing about the great love of God reminds us that we are never alone, we are loved, so loved that Jesus died for us. Singing God’s truth has the power to calm our fears, bolster our faith and silence our enemy.
3. Singing connects us to God.
Just like hearing a song can connect you to a moment, singing to, about and for God connects you to Him. Song is a prayer married to a melody. Our prayers are ever before God like incense (Psalm 141:2, Revelation 8:4), they are pleasing to Him. Singing is a way to talk to God, connecting us to Him. There have been more times than I can recount that I have been singing to God and because my heart is open (see point 1) I hear His Spirit respond to me. It’s honestly caught me off guard, I’m just singing along, praising God or pouring out my heart in song and softly and gently I hear His voice speak to my Spirit. God is listening when we sing and He’s not counting down the minutes until the preaching begins, He’s not checking off the box on the order of service and saying, ‘glad they covered that requirement’. No, God is longing to connect to our hearts and singing is a beautiful avenue that allows that.
These are just a few reasons why I believe we should be singing in church (and home, in the car, at the grocery store, on a walk…). Yes, God commands it but it is because of His great longing to speak to us, to connect with us and to encourage us. Singing gets our focus off of us and reminds us that He alone is God (I think we could all use that reminder every now and then).
So next time you’re tempted to not sing along because you don’t like the song, or show up late because the music doesn’t matter I pray that you remember that you need the songs – they are oxygen to your soul.