Singing to the Lord
I grew up hearing my mother sing. She sang continuously when she was working around the house and her voice was extremely beautiful. She even had an opportunity to sing professionally, but she turned it down because she had a husband and two little children that she did not want to leave to go on the road with a national band. I, on the other hand, was not born with a beautiful voice. Oh, I can carry a tune, and I love to sing for the Lord, but I am not a good enough singer to even be in a church choir. However, I have used my voice to sing praises to the Lord and to lift up my prayers of thanksgiving to Him. I even sang after my replacement knee surgeries when I walked every day in the underground garage at our condo to strengthen my knees. In fact, singing to the Lord is something that we can all do to gain courage, to praise Him, to celebrate His love, to ask for help, and to recite some of the Scriptures that are used within songs. Some say that our Christian songs are actually our prayers that we sing to the Lord. What kind of songs do you sing to the Lord?
The Apostle Paul and Silas evidently believed in singing their prayers to the Lord too. One example of this is found in the book of Acts. You may remember that while on their second missionary journey Apostle Paul and Silas were unjustly arrested, beaten and thrown into prison to await a trial or something worse. They had been proclaiming Christ to the people in Macedonia, and while there they removed a demon spirit from a girl who was a pestering fortune teller. This demon possessed girl earned money for her masters by telling fortunes to anyone who would pay. But, she kept pestering Paul and Silas’ calling out constantly “These men are servants of the Most High God, and they have come to tell you how to be saved”. Although what the demon was saying was true, Paul could not let the Good News be linked with demon-related activities, because this would change the message of Christ. So, when Paul had finally had enough, he removed the demon that was shouting out and harassing them, which was the same demon that helped the girl her tell fortunes. Her masters were furious when the girl no longer had the ability to tell fortunes, so they grabbed Paul and Silas threatening their lives for ruining their business, and then the other merchants turned against them too. A mob quickly formed and then the city officials ordered Paul and Silas to be stripped, beaten, and thrown into prison. But even though they were thrown into prison and put into stocks, Paul and Silas were not defeated. Instead they prayed and sang songs to the Lord.
“Around midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a great earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! The jailer woke up to see the prison doors wide open. He assumed the prisoners had escaped, so he drew his sword to kill himself. But Paul shouted to him, Don’s do it! We are all here. Trembling with fear, the jailer called for lights and ran to the dungeon and fell down before Paul and Silas. He brought them out and asked. ‘Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” -- (Acts 16: 25-29. NLT).
Despite the terrible situation that Paul and Silas were in, they had prayed and sang to the Lord and to the other prisoners. Their singing was a form of prayerful praise and was also a way to ask for intercession from God. God saw their trust and their love of Him, and He heard their beautiful praise and prayerful worship to the One who could change their situation. Later, in Ephesians 5: 19-20, Paul also encourages the members of the Ephesian church to “to sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, making music to the Lord in your hearts. [Telling them to] … always give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.” How often to do you sing to the Lord when you have a problem or need? Maybe you could make a list of all the godly songs that you know that you could sing asking for help or proclaiming God’s powerful protection, guidance, or His past intercession and provision for the needs of people.
In the Older Testament, David, even before he became king, sang songs to the Lord. He put his requests of God into music and sang them to the Lord. Many of the Psalms were praises, but others were songs sung to God for help and protection. For example: Psalm 4 is about rejoicing in God’s protection and peace, knowing that God will listen when we call; Psalm 6 is about David calling for deliverance from trouble and his knowing full well that God is able to rescue him (us); In Psalm 13 David prays for relief from his despair, trusting that God will answer him (us) even if He doesn’t’ do so immediately; In Psalm 18 David sings about his gratitude for God’s deliverance and victory, as he tells those who hear his song that God’s help is the only way that we can be delivered from evil, therefore, we must call upon God for His glorious help; and David even sings in Psalm 26 of his loyalty to God, as he stands up to those who oppose him and God. Finally, we see songs of praise and worship sung by David and the Jewish people, such as Psalm (song) 136 which tells us that God’s endless love is why He deserves our constant praise. There are 150 psalms recorded in the Bible and all of these are songs of praise, worship, and love, along with other prayerful songs of need, protection, provision, and needed intercession. David knew that God loved music and that God listened to the prayers that were sent up to God. So, David prayerfully sang his heart out to the Lord!
God invites us to praise Him and to call out to Him in our hour of need, despair, and hurt. (See Matthew 7: 7 and Luke 11: 1-4). Unfortunately, we are not always sure how to go about telling the Lord what we want to tell Him. But, David set examples for us. Like David, we can talk to the Lord through singing, dancing, and the playing of musical instruments as we pray to and praise the Lord with all our heart. In fact, singing to the Lord is often easier than trying to think of exact words to say. We just need to choose the psalm or the song that best expresses our need or that expresses the praise that we want to use to honor God.
I will end with Psalm 146 which tells us not only how great God is, but that God’s help is enduring and complete.
“Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord, I tell myself. I will praise the Lord as long as I live. I will sing praises to my God even with my dying breath. Don’t put your confidence in powerful people; there is no help for you there. When their breathing stops, they return to the earth, and in a moment all their plans come to an end. But happy are those who have the God of Israel (i.e., of Jacob) as their helper, whose hope is in the Lord their God. He is the One who made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them. He is the One who keeps every promise forever, who gives justice to the oppressed and food to the hungry. The Lord frees the prisoners. The Lord opens the eyes of the blind. The Lord lifts the burdens of those bent beneath their loads. The Lord loves the righteous. The Lord protects the foreigners among us. He cares for the orphans and the widows, but He frustrates the plans of the wicked. The Lord will reign forever. O Jerusalem (i.e., Zion) your God is King in every generation. Praise the Lord.” -- (Psalm 146. NLT).
Start singing to the Lord. Let Him know how wonderful He is and also tell Him of your needs. God wants to hear your prayerful songs. And, if you haven’t yet turned your life over to Christ, sing out in repentance of your sins and then ask for forgiveness of your sins. He will hear you and give you Salvation. Then you can truly sing songs of praise to the Lord!