Music & Prayer

Prayer is something that is sacred, never to be taken for granted. It is the way we communicate with the infinite God and a way we can impact the entire planet from our closet/meeting place. One issue that may negatively impact the direction of a prayer meeting (alone or 2+) is the use of (recorded) music.

I’ve found that music can often be like crutches for a drowning man. 

When we pray, we have the opportunity for GOD to lead us and direct us to affect the supernatural realm in a way that directly affects the world around us. Sometimes He wants us to meditate. Sometimes He wants us to war in the SPIRIT against demonic influence over our communities, or maybe He just wants our adoration and affection. The point is, prayer meetings are a vehicle for God to do what HE wants through HIS people.

Sometimes when we pray, there is an apparent need to have music in the background to accompany us. I hope whoever reads this doesn’t stop here. But using music in this manner, can very easily hinder the effectiveness of your prayer. Some qualifiers that I will elaborate on later:
1. God will surely lead a person to sing or to play, laying a song on their heart in order to direct the focus of a prayer meeting.
2. I believe GOD will honor all ambition to seek His face.
That being said, there’s often a better way. At times, we play music to create an atmosphere of prayer – did you already see the possible issue? “Create an atmosphere of prayer…” is indicative of trying to manufacture something by way of our own ability. Kind of like when the Philistines found a more convenient way to carry the ark of the covenant around (on wheels). Yeah, it’s working. But is it accurate? Is it authentic? The only thing we need to “get” into the presence of the LORD is thanksgiving and praise. From experience, I can say that simply thanking Him for any and all things you can think of, will surely connect your mind and your heart to His mind and heart; but that’s another story altogether.

I love gospel music. I love that someone out there was so focused on the Word of God and in prayer that they were impressed to write a song to commemorate what they were experiencing in that moment. But that’s just the thing. The song is commemorating a very specific experience and is coming from a very specific place of prayer/thought. The musical component of each song is going to accompany that place of prayer/thought in a way that invokes our emotions toward the Lord. It’s something we can’t escape. It’s how music works. Certain modes, tempos, and dialogues affect what kind of emotions will be invoked when we listen. On an objective level, I can’t see anything wrong with that, honestly. I love that my heart can connect with God by the provoking of a tune. However, this becomes an issue when we are ready to go DEEP into the Spirit and God is prepared to do something specific through us. 

These specific avenues of prayer require a certain level of emotion with them. He made us to have emotions and they are a way we can relate with what HE is doing as WE pray. If He is trying to move in a certain direction of prayer but our music is aggressively pulling our emotions in a different direction, we aren’t exactly in sin but we are missing out on effective prayers. I’ll stick to this single example to avoid planting paranoia in your mind:

Let’s say a group has been praying for a while and everyone has repented and are praying in the Spirit and God decides He wants to do some aggressive warfare against the prince of a certain place. That type of prayer is usually exerted through an aggression in our emotions. A certain intensity in our person. If there’s a slow song about the love and grace of God playing even moderately loud in the background, we risk the chance of distracting people and their emotions as they gravitate toward thanking the Lord for His mercy.

Anything wrong with thanking the Lord for His mercy? No way. But they may have missed out on something mighty in the Spirit. Something effective. A man in the Bible prayed a prayer that stopped the sun from moving (Joshua 10). Men and women in the bible have prayed prayers that literally brought walls down to rubble. Did they try to create any kind of atmosphere to do this? Not so. They knew what God wanted to do and acted accordingly. Very simple. These are the experiences we could be missing out on when we rely on music to guide our prayer as opposed to the guidance of the Lord.

Qualifier: Maintaining the visual, crutches are not a bad thing. We don’t scold folks who break their foot and then use crutches. We scold that kid in grade school who broke their foot but uses crutches even after it completely healed, because they got comfortable with the convenience and attention. There was a moment in Scripture where GOD was giving David his huge debut/open door following his anointing. Once Saul was “bothered” by an evil spirit from the Lord, his servants called for David. When he played on his harp (lyre), the evil spirit departed from Saul (1 Samuel 16). I believe there’s a legitimate principle on the use of music here. The playing of the lyre was in response to a spiritual disturbance. There will be bad days. Sometimes those bad days involve wicked influences (anxiety, lust, anger, vengeance just to name a few). This is a great time to bump Jesus music! Those modes, tempos and dialogues will provoke you unto the love of GOD when your heart has been inclined toward your emotions of negativity. For me, that works every time. The Word of GOD tells us to make captive the thoughts to the obedience of Christ just after describing the need to casting down imaginations. So it’s clear that taking captive the thoughts to the obedience of Christ is the weapon in which we cast down imaginations (2 Cor 10). I’ve found that Jesus music will do just that. All you have to do is press play.

I hope this is insightful or helpful and is a blessing!

A Portal Called Prayer

Prayer.

A vast subject that many talk about, but much fewer accurately practice. Did you know that there is an effective and ineffective way to pray? The Bible makes it very clear that we can pray and not receive what we pray for, because we pray “amiss”, that we may spend what we receive from God on our own pleasures (James 4:3). Yes, I am submitting to you that there is an inaccurate way to pray. What is wild to me is that we can pray 100% sincere, yet be inaccurate in our approach; causing us to likely become frustrated. Yes, God knows our heart. But do we know His? If we love God or want to know Him, we ought to want to pray in the manner which is most effective.

As children, and maybe even adults we are encouraged at times to repeat after others in order to pray. While this may serve as a launching pad to understand a proper approach, it can also become a clear example that repetition is not equal to obedience. God is a being. Infinite in His nature, yet accessible in His person. Furthermore, humanity was created in His image (Genesis 1:26). Huge common factor? We have specific forms of communication that get across better than others.

You know what causes God to turn His listening off to our prayers? Selfishness (Psalm 66:18). If we want things our own way, God won’t give us access to His way. They are diametrically opposed to each other. Our humanity is bent on having things done its own way and one of the greatest things God can do for us is not listen to us when we are being selfish. Even looking into the interpretation of “lukewarm” in Revelations 3:16, reveals that selfishness makes God want to vomit (Strong’s G1692, cold water is to refresh others from a long journey, hot water is to provide medicinal provision for others, Laodicea was bent on selfishness). So, as gross as it sounds, God is being emphatic about the fact that if He were to listen to us in moments of selfishness in prayer, He would vomit on us.

Either you find that funny, or tongue-in-cheek, or just plain gross, God is serious about wanting to establish effective communication with us. Why? Simply put, humans are the only other being that have the right to exercise personal will, either for self or for God. No other being in all that exists, has the right to do that. Not animals, not demons, not devils, not any of God’s angels. Only humans.

The value of HUMAN WILL, in the eyes of God is insurmountably precious. Again. Why? It’s majorly because of God’s love that functions through the vehicle of God’s will. God’s love, while offered, must be received to become fulfilled. The Scripture makes it very clear that God does not want anyone to perish, but have eternal life (John 3:16). That is His will, for us to have eternal life. But His love only comes full circle when we receive what His will is.

So if selfishness in prayer causes God to turn away from us – and His love is married to His will, being incomplete without each other – then it must be that praying God’s will and God’s love is what causes God to turn toward us. I’ve often wondered; why do many people only equate an “answered prayer” as a “yes” from God? Resulting in people thinking a prayer that was given a “no” as “not being answered”. A prayer that is truly “unanswered” is one NOT RESPONDED TO (a prayer with selfishness). Moreover, many people say God mainly answers in three manners: “Yes”, “No”, or “Wait”. While as sincere as that may be, I’m not sure of the last meaningful relationship I had in my life where communication was based off of: “Yes”, “No, or “Wait”. God called Israel unto Himself to REASON with them (Isaiah 1:18). If we just looked at prayer through the Old and New Testament, we would see how elaborate God wants to be with us through this portal called prayer. God wants to share His wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and mind with us. How fascinating is that?

So how do we enter this portal, having God’s attention? We’ve got to give HIM our attention. In case you missed that, to get God’s attention, He’s got to have our attention. This is what praying His will is about – fixing our attention on who God is, what He wants, what He is doing, what He wants to do, why He wants to do it, how He wants to do it, and all of those wonderful secrets of His (Psalm 25:14). People that think praying God’s will is grievous, because it’s about Him, don’t understand how involved and focused God is on having our best interest at hand.

This is why when the disciples asked Jesus to teach them how they should pray, He IMMEDIATELY focuses on God’s role, God’s position, God’s holiness, God’s authority, God’s mission, God’s will, God’s desires, and God’s objective before anything about US is mentioned. Don’t believe me? Read Matthew 6:9-13. Because when these things are prioritized, then “all of these things [that we have need of] will be added unto us” (Matthew 6:33).

Prayer must be our priority. And we ought to pray HIS prayer requests over ours. What are His prayer requests? OH, if we just searched the Scriptures for all of things God is and wants to do! We would walk in mighty peace, provision, and spiritual prosperity. You know the Bible says if we ask anything, in His name and according to His will, God will do it (John 14:14, 1 John 5:14)? Why? Because HE WANTS TO DO IT. How simple, yet how powerful! But why would God not do what He WANTS to do, unless we PRAY it?

Boom. Here it is.

He wants us to participate with Him. To grow in Him. Being crafted into becoming like Jesus by praying and desiring what God wants, over what we want. That’s how we can pray and grow effectively.

I believe we should receive the challenge of the Scriptures and pray what God wants us to pray. Here are some references to pray. Enjoy!

  • The Disciple’s Prayer: Matthew 6:9-13
  • A Prayer Request by the Lord: Matthew 9:38, Luke 10:2
  • Paul’s Prayer of Thankfulness for Others: Romans 1:8-10, 1 Corinthians 1:4, Ephesians 1:16, Philippians 1:3-4, 2 Thessalonians 1:3, 2 Timothy 1:3
  • Paul’s Prayer For Wisdom & Revelation: Ephesians 1:17
  • Paul’s Prayer For Joy & Peace: Romans 15:13
  • Paul’s Prayer For Peace & Unity: Romans 15:5-6, 2 Thessalonians 3:16
  • Paul’s Prayer For Abiding in Christ, Spiritual Strength & Power: Ephesians 1:17-19, Colossians 1:11, Ephesians 3:16-19
  • Paul’s Prayer For Growth in Love, Righteousness & Purity: Philippians 1:9-11, 2 Corinthians 13:7, 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24
  • Paul’s Prayer For Opportunities To Bless Others: 1 Thessalonians 3:9-10