Where and when do you hear God’s voice? When I was thinking about prayer time I thought, why not look at one of the many daily devotionals we have around the house. Going to Guideposts Daily Devotional for 1998, I checked out the entry for March 5 and this is what I found:
“There are days when I open my Bible to read and fall into the middle of a desert. This morning I was standing outside the walls of Jerusalem with the fiery prophet Jeremiah, lambasting the callous high priest. The biblical scene, set in an ancient world six hundred years before the birth of Christ, seemed foreign and irrelevant to my life and needs. I nearly stopped reading. I did not want to stroll through the arid dust of history.
“When I finished my Bible reading and began to write in my journal, I found these words flowing across the page: “Sometimes I read the Bible and there is nothing there. Only silence. Yet, even in that still silence I am strengthened; I am drawn to a holy presence. It’s like two good friends who sit quietly alone, content in each other’s company.”
“God is such a friend. He is often silent. He does not speak at my demand. But as I grow older, I find I need less of His voice and more of His presence. Just to know that he is with me is enough. Perhaps that’s why the ancient Psalmist wrote in his journal, “Be still and know that I am God” (Psalm 46:10).” – Scott Walker
I thought about the many times that I relish the silence and I listen for God in it. But then I began thinking about the contrarian point of view, about the times when I most often hear God’s voice through the noise, through the cacophony of voices and static and busyness of life. And I realized that it’s through the music.
David Mayer, a former director of ours, once wrote a poem about how he views music as being magnified prayer – the one over on the wall that is often forgotten in the rush to get ready to sing and to move on when we’re done. Maybe music is not only magnified prayer but it is also God’s voice, answering prayer. And I thought that the time and place that I often hear God’s voice is here, through all of you, my friends and choir family; through the music we make together.
The music we make stirs powerful emotions in me. It stirs the joy I feel when we sing Fill-a-me-up and see Lynette dancing and laughing in the aisle, and the tears of gratefulness that rise when we sing Benedictus. It stirs deep seated memories of long departed friends when we sing It Is Well with My Soul. And it strengthens me when we sing old favorites like Rock of Ages, and new ones like a recent Sunday’s hymn: Behold the Lamb.
For me music is prayer, and God’s answer, all rolled into one. It’s God’s voice, speaking to me through all of the noise of life. And I am eternally grateful that the music we make together is a central part of my life and my faith. Right here and right now, through the music, is when I most often hear God’s voice.
Will you pray with me?
Dear heavenly Father, we stand in awe of your power and your grace, of your ability to communicate with us in so many unique and wonderful ways. We are blessed that you speak to us through the music and that you let us share your gift of music and your message with others every time we sing. And we are thankful for the ways in which music lifts our spirits and calms our troubled souls. We pray that your power to inspire and to heal reaches those we’ve lifted up to you tonight. And we ask your continued blessing on us, those you’ve called to sing your message, your undeserving children, through your precious son Jesus Christ, Amen.