I love singing hymns – hymns of many types and styles. Singing is such a beautiful way of expressing the Word that Christ has planted in us. As we sing, we share that Word with each other. We affirm it together. And we lift it in praise to our God and Savior.
Augustine (and later, Martin Luther) said, “He who sings prays twice.” I never understood that statement until I began singing as part of my prayer life. Singing involves the entire being. It starts from the heart and catches up the mind and body as well. When we sing, we embrace God’s Word physically, mentally, and emotionally. Prayer rises from our whole selves.
As we trust the Word that God speaks to us, joy overflows, and singing is one spillway for that joy. Singing is the music of faith. I’ve long felt that if we have the truth, saying it is not enough. The truth longs to come to life. It cries out for full expression. It yearns to sing and dance, to celebrate with life and feeling and physical joy.
Singing does that. Singing sets the truth free.
Singing unites us. Think of what’s happening when we sing together in worship. The Word of God is in our hearts and minds and on our lips. We lift it to God together. We unite with each other and with Him.
Hymns express our beliefs about God–our theology–but they do so in terms that are heartfelt and life-centered. Yes, abstract, factual hymns have been written, but they generally don’t last. The hymns that God’s children love to sing are those that speak their faith with warmth and vitality, in a way that resonates with personal experience.
Hymns are a feast for the body, mind, and spirit. Enjoy them completely! Don’t just listen to hymns. Sing them! The most life-changing songs are not the ones we hear but the ones we sing. As Paul urged the young church in Colosse, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God” (Colossians 3:16, NIV).
Sing! Sing to God! Sing from your heart!