I will pray with the spirit, and I will also pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding. (1 Corinthians 14:15)
Prayer And Song
Worship is a time of joy. Whether we are enjoying the fellowship of collective or private worship the communion we share with the Lord fills the heart with a heart of praise. It is especially true when we gather as one people to lift our voices together and to lift our hearts as one. Singing and praying have always been an integral part of man’s worship to God. The mouth was created to give glory to the Father. Talking to the Lord through prayer expresses the deep feelings of the heart. Singing songs of praise honor the love God has for us.
The challenge in the church at Corinth was their worship had become a confusing time. Praying and singing was not in the spirit desired from the Lord. Spiritual gifts were being abused causing the assembly to be in disarray. As a result the prayers were ineffective. Songs of praise were unproductive. Paul addresses the problem exhorting the early Christians to remember the meaning of prayer and hymns. While the spiritual gifts have long ceased there often remains a view of prayer and song today that make them just a part of what is required with little understanding of their value.
Prayer in worship is speaking the promises of God. Jesus warned against vain repetition and rote words of prayer. These words should come from hearts that are pouring out their love to Him who gave so much. There is no single pattern of prayer but the model of the heart thanking the Lord for His grace. In reality prayer is simple: talk to God about what is on your heart. Let Him hear the joy and love in your life. Praying with the understanding is the feeling of gratitude for all the Father has done.
Singing in worship is more than just sounding good. So often the emphasis is more about the parts of singing instead of the part singing plays in my life. God wants us to sing together to please Him. Some do not sing because they do not have a singing voice. God is not interested in whether you can sing with the Metropolitan Opera – He wants the heart to express love for Him. The words of the songs should move our hearts. The message of the hymn should cause our lives to be uplifted with the joy of salvation. Singing with understanding knows the power of song in praising my Lord who saved me. Meditate on the words of the song to help my heart fill the halls of Heaven with my praise.
Prayer and song. Understand their value. Know how they will change my life today. Worship God in prayer and song today.
I wept at the beauty of your hymns and canticles, and was powerfully moved at the sweet sound of your church singing. These sounds flowed into my ears, and the truth streamed into my heart. (Augustine, Confessions, IX, 397)