Monday, June 10, 2013

"I've Got The Music In Me"

Lately, I have been struggling with my prayer life. It has become very routinized and somewhat stale. Routines in life often become tiring and at times  boring to some degree. I have been preparing for a talk that I will be giving to a caregiver's group on June 20th. When a friend of mine asked me to speak, the counselor part of me was thinking about speaking on grief and loss issues. However my friend, knowing that I am also a pastor asked if I would speak on a topic from the pastoral perspective. She suggested the topic of prayer. Initially I resisted knowing how I was struggling but decided to honor her request. I had purchased a book awhile back entitled, "Ten Ways to Pray: A Short Guide to A Long History of Talking to God" by Dawn Duncan Harrell. I confess I just read the book through when I first bought it and didn't really apply any of what I had read to my life. Nevertheless, I decided that this book may be helpful to the folks to whom I will be speaking. In the book Ms.Harrell gives the history of ten different ways Christians have been praying through church history from very ancient forms to more contemporary. She suggests that by exploring these different forms a person's prayer life could be transformed. The idea is that we are all unique individuals who talk with God according to our needs and what best fits our personalities. A method of praying that we have been using for years because of what we were taught may not be the most helpful in communing with God. In the course of preparing I was drawn to a particular method called "Music Prayer." I have always loved music and can be moved by it especially in a church setting. I have roots in a more charismatic form of worship which draws me at times to experiencing God in a powerful way. In the appendix of her book, Dawn Duncan Harrell gives a brief step by step process of the methods of prayer that can be easily applied. I decided to try the "Music Prayer" and to my delight, I was drawn into a deeper connection to God. I should not be surprised as music is a very important part of worship in the Scriptures. In fact King David considered music such an important part of the worship experience that he put certain groups of men in charge of the temple music. (1 Chronicles 6:31-46). Many of the Psalms encourage and exhort God's people to extol the Lord with song. (Psalm 27:6; Psalm 95:2) In fact Psalm 150 which concludes the Psalter is a glorious fanfare of praise and music. Even in the New Testament after the disciples shared the final Passover meal with Jesus what we call the Last Supper, Matthew tells us, "When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives." (Matthew 26:30) In Revelation, as John is describing the fall of Babylon there is a lament, "The music of the harpists and musicians, flute players and trumpeters will never be heard in you again." (Revelation 18:22) God appears to enjoy music so much that He did not relegate it solely to humanity but also other created things like birds. Even God Himself sings over us. (Zephaniah 3:17) I encourage you to find what form of prayer draws you closer to God. You may be surprised to discover that you have the music in you too!
Be Blessed!
Pastor Sheree

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