Last Friday night, I attended a Taizé prayer service at a local college chapel. I had never been to one before. It was a wonderfully meditative experience, spending an entire one hour service devoted to simply praying and listening to God.
So you may wonder why I’m writing about a prayer service on what is supposed to be Music Monday. It’s because much of this service was spent in song, but not the kind of songs we usually sing in church or that I listen to on my iPod. Rather, each song consisted of one or two short sentence lyrics repeated over and over, almost like a chant. One of my favorites was sung in between the minister lifting up intercessions for those in need:
O Lord, hear my prayer, O Lord, hear my prayer, When I call answer me
O Lord, hear my prayer, O Lord, hear my prayer, Come and listen to me
There was also an opportunity to come kneel around the cross as we sang “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” This simple act and simple prayer brought such peace and confidence that I will be remembered by Jesus always.
Here is another of the wonderful songs we sang at the Taizé prayer service. This song is extremely calming and beautiful.
In God alone my soul can find rest and peace,
In God my peace and joy.
Only in God my soul can find its rest,
Find its rest and peace.
In the front of the song book, I found a quote that spoke to me. I had to reread it several times trying to grasp fully what God was trying to tell me in this one sentence that I couldn’t let go of. It said, “Singing is one of the most important forms of prayer.”
I had never thought of singing as prayer, but rather as worship and praise. Why these things had always been compartmentalized and separated in my mind, I don’t know. But as I pondered this one sentence, this one idea, the lines between prayer, worship, and praise faded and vanished.
Then I realized they had never truly existed, but that the barriers they had created in my spiritual life, in my walk with God, were an illusion. I had, in fact, been praying in song for a long time. As I listen to Christian music while I am getting ready for work or on my drive to the office, I often feel as though I am speaking the lyrics to God.
To sing to the Lord truly is a wonderful form of prayer, one that He is greatly pleased with.
But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me,
and through each night I sing his songs,
praying to God who gives me life. Psalm 42:8 (NLT).