The Bible is full of commands that we should sing. I used to wonder whether this was just for people that could sing but I’m pretty convinced that as Christians, it’s for all of us. It is a spiritual discipline. If God asks us to do something, there are good reasons for it.
We know from non-faith related studies that singing is good for us because of its social and psychological benefits. But what has singing got to do with our faith… why do we do it?
Singing unites us.
If you’ve ever been to a gig or sports event, you’ll know the feeling of singing as a crowd – how there’s a buzz, how it makes you feel part of something bigger and how you feel as though you’re all stronger together. This is why we sing together at church. We’re a family and it is good for us to sing about our God, the truth of the Gospel and our stories of faith together. When we hear the person next to us singing, it encourages and strengthens us. In one of Paul’s letters, he even tells the people in the church to sing to each other! (I’ll be honest, I’m too British to have tried that one out yet #awkward)
Singing reminds us of the truth.
Remember in primary school when you used to learn songs about everything from capital countries to your seven times table? For some reason, songs help things to stick in our heads. When we come together and sing about who God is and about our story as God’s people, it reminds us of the truth and we’re inviting that truth to get stuck in our heads and our hearts all over again! If we are facing a tough situation and begin to sing truth – that God is good and powerful – it lifts our spirits and encourages us.
Singing can bring victory.
It is spiritual warfare – making war on the enemy! Did you know there’s an account in the Bible of a time when God told the leader of Israel’s army to send out the worship team ahead of the soldiers? They won the battle through song! Paul and Silas were locked in prison, and at their darkest hour, when the enemy could easily have got the better of them, they sang – and the doors of the prison flung open! And we all know about how singing and marching brought down the walls of Jericho!
God’s power is released when we sing and I think it’s got to do with how our hearts are positioned when we do sing. It’s an act of obedience, of surrender, of believing that God is sovereign, because honestly, singing in a battle sounds like the worst idea. When we sing, stuff happens in the spiritual realm and we can defeat the enemy!
Singing is a chance to meet with God.
God is everywhere, all the time. But when we come together in worship, there’s a particular and unique encounter that can happen. As we set aside a time to fix our gazes on Him in a way that uses all of our mind and our body, He meets with us and we are made more aware of His presence. Have you ever felt His presence in a special way during a time of worship? He loves to hear us sing, He is ready and waiting for us. One of my favourite scriptures ever is Zephaniah 3:17 – “The Lord your God…will rejoice over you with singing.” God sings! When we sing, it connects us deeply to God, because He sings too! As we sing songs of adoration to Him, he sings them right back over us. How wonderful!
Singing is not only something to be done in a service or church gathering though! Singing in your personal devotion is another way of getting closer to God, a way of expressing your adoration of Him and ministering to Him.
Singing is all about the heart, not your musical ability – God doesn’t care whether you are in tune or not! You might wonder why we can’t just say these things to God in prayer, but there really is something extra special about music. Reading the Bible is enough evidence that singing and music are important to God, and are a mark of worship and devotion to Him. There is something about music that goes beyond the surface, and there is also something of our true nature in music. Babies are soothed by lullabies and you can often find young children singing to themselves – it comes naturally to us as humans and it really does connect us to the heart of God.
– Next time you’re in worship at church, stop singing and look around at others. Acknowledge what you are a part of it and allow yourself to be encouraged by the declarations of others.
– When you sing, really take the time to think about the words that you are singing. Engage with the Truth and be encouraged by it. Connect it with a tough situation that you might be facing.
– Before worship begins at church, try not to think of it as a normal part of the Sunday routine. Prepare your heart to meet with the Maker of Heaven and Earth.
– If you don’t already, find yourself a cool worship playlist on Spotify or YouTube and swap it for what you normally listen to. If you need recommendations, comment below!
– In your personal devotions, try and sing out your own song to God.