I am currently at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. If you are unfamiliar with IHOP-KC, it is a ministry in south Kansas City that has engaged in night and day worship and prayer for over 11 years. It is an amazing place and I highly recommend checking out their website that is full of great resources and teaching in the area of prayer and worship.
I’ve come many times to IHOP-KC for over ten years and what strikes me every time I come is the significance and impact of singing on the prayer life. I mean specifically singing our prayers. I am not a good singer. I am not a musician. I like to joke that my instrument is the stereo! However I am still a musical person. We are all musical people, no matter who we are, because we are made in the image of God and God is a musical God! He created music and created us to respond to it is a particular way.
It is common knowledge that the book of Psalms is a collection of Hebrew poetry that were originally sung. They were songs. They are also prayers and so one of the largest books of the Bible is filled with prayers that were sung.
I want to challenge you with the idea that singing is intended to be a significant part of our prayer life. I’m not saying that all our prayers need to be sung in order to be effective. Not at all! However, when we pray we are speaking to a person: God. It is relational and while we know that is true, it sometimes gets lost in the shuffle of our day to day lives and the stress of life.
Singing our own spontaneous expressions of prayer and worship has a powerful impact to our spirit, helping to connect our spirit to God’s Spirit in a way that we can discern and feel.
Sometimes we don’t know how to sing without the lyrics of a song in front of us. Practically speaking that is one of the biggest reasons why we don’t sing more in our prayer life.
Here is a practical tip on how to start: Go to the privacy of your room, or somewhere where you can be alone. Next, choose one of the Psalms (Psalm 25 would be a good suggestion). Read through it a couple of times and begin to pray about what you are reading. Do that for a while and then try to sing some of what you are praying. You can start by singing the literal verses of the Psalm word for word. Soon you will be singing slightly different words, and adding some of your own and away you go!
I really encourage trying this in a private context, so that you can have confidence to start singing out loud without worrying if people can hear you.
If you try it and begin to stick with it for a while I believe that you will very quickly discover the benefits and spiritual vitality in your prayer life!
For friends who are wanting to follow along some of the specific details of my current trip to IHOP-KC, please visit my ministry blog on Fragrant Incense for posts on the details.