I’ve heard people talk about the Holy Spirit “whispering in their ear.” I’m pretty sure the Spirit sings in mine – to comfort and guide, and to help me express joy or sorrow when no words seem to be enough.
Music is so important to me. I’m a child of the late 1960s and 1970s, and it seems like there is a soundtrack of songs and lyrics running through my head most of the time. I grew up with the radio or the record player providing background for most of my waking hours and the sleeping ones, too. (Anyone else out there remember sleeping with those great big padded headphones on?) I am still happier with music playing. A lot of it is purely secular, but this is probably not the place to discuss my love of James Taylor, Van Morrison, and the Beatles. That would be a whole other blog!
Hymns and praise music are also running through my brain. The first music I can remember is my great-grandmother sitting at the piano, playing songs from the hymnal…How Great Thou Art, O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing, Jesus Loves Me. Most of the scripture in my memory is there because there is a song attached to it.
Sometimes a song just comes to me, and stays with me for the day or even longer. I believe the Holy Spirit uses these songs to speak to my heart about things I need to hear. This morning a very old hymn popped into my head and has continued to rise to the surface all day. According to the United Methodist Hymnal, it was written in 1752:
Be still my soul: the Lord is on your side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;
leave to your God to order and provide;
in every change God faithful will remain.
Be still my soul: your God will undertake
to guide the future, as in ages past.
Your hope, your confidence let nothing shake;
all now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Have you tried using a hymnal or a praise songbook in your prayer time? It doesn’t matter how well you sing. To God, the sound of your praise is always beautiful. If you don’t want to sing at all, you can still read the lyrics – most hymns and praise songs are beautiful poetry. Give the Holy Spirit a chance to sing in your ear!
If the Spirit has been singing in your ear, too, post a comment and let us know what you hear. What songs make you feel the most joyful, prayerful, or comforted?