Sunday mornings should be musical events. The church has always and should always sing in meditation on God’s character and salvation and in loving response to his grace toward us. We sing to glorify him and we sing to edify one another.
But once this singing has become a pattern in the life of a Christian and a church, we face the danger of singing as routine, as mindless repetition. Our minds, however, are crucial to God’s intended purpose for our singing. Consider Jesus’ words that we are to love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength. Consider Paul’s exhortation that we be transformed by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12) or that we are to let the word of Christ dwell in us richly as we sing (Colossians 3). So–how do we engage our mind when we sing? Here are a few suggestions.
- Remember God is listening. Singing becomes routine when we forget that we are talking about God, to God.
- Use the spaces between the words to reflect on their meaning. Almost all songs have brief musical spaces between the lines of the lyrics. Rather than let our minds drift in these pauses, focus them on considering the truth of the words of the song, applying them to our own situation, and expressing personalized gratefulness to God.
- Pray between songs. These prayers might be further personalized meditation on the truths of the songs in general, or prayers of dependence or confession based on how God is using the lyrics to stir or reveal your heart toward him.
- Think about practical aspects of your life in which the truths of these songs would make a difference. For example, since “God rules over all” I can trust him with my struggling child. Since “You have paid for all my sins,” I don’t have to doubt God’s forgiveness for my anger this last week. Since “your grace will lead me home” I don’t need to focus all of my energies on my financial position, but rather on my future joy in heaven.
These thoughts and a thousand others don’t normally flow through our minds effortlessly. We have to discipline our minds to think about God and to express these thoughts to God in trust and request and praise while we sing. As we make this our practice, we’ll start worshiping the Lord with our minds.