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!