Worship Directions - Singing Inward!

Friday, 22 February 2013 16:29

“Praise the LORD, O my soul." Psalm 104:1

“All my inmost being – praise his holy name!” Psalm 103:2

"March on, my soul; be strong!" Judges 5:21

 

 

Did you ever hear a song leader encourage the church before a specific song “The lyrics of this song are a prayer – It’s a great song for us to speak directly to God!”? O Lord prepare me, to be a sanctuary..”

 

Or maybe – “Look someone in the eye as we sing with this song! Let’s encourage one another”? Rise up O Men of God!”

 

These are examples of worship lyrics that are primarily “Vertical” or “Horizontal” in nature. With one the communication is directed to God. In the latter, it is directed towards one another.

 

Some lyrics are intended to be both – and one could reason that all singing worship is directed to God - which is true. And yet pointing our hearts and minds in the direction lyrics lead us, will enrich our worship experience! And since most of our lyrics are based on scripture, few students of Christ would have a problem with letting the lyrics guide our communication in the right direction.

Some lyrics are actually more than just horizontal or vertical in nature. They are “Inward” in nature. They are directed towards the worshippers themselves. If we can talk to ourselves, we can certainly sing to ourselves as well! And one could reason, that all of our singing should be internalized and processed inside to the outside first - from the heart – which is true too! And yet some lyrics do lead us to focus communication to ourselves to get our “selves” where we should be! This is true “soul talk”!

Paul told the disciples in Corinth this personal approach to singing -

"So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind."

 

I Corinthians 14:15

Scripture is teeming with examples of this type of internally directed worship lyrics. Here are a few examples: Ask yourself when you study these, where is scripture leading the reader to focus?

 

If we want to improve our singing worship, we can start with addressing our selves - as many in Scripture did ...

Psalm 57:8 "Awake, my soul! Awake, harp and lyre! I will awaken the dawn."

Psalm 103:2 “All my inmost being – praise his holy name!”

Jeremiah 4:19 "My soul, my soul! I am in anguish! Oh, my heart! My heart is pounding in me; I cannot be silent, Because you have heard, O my soul, The sound of the trumpet, The alarm of war."

Judges 5:21 "March on, my soul; be strong!"

 

The Vertical and Horizontal direction of worship can be empty if our soul is not prepped with the Inward direction seen in these verses...

Psalm 57:8

Judges 5:21

Psalm 43:5

Psalm 103:1

Psalm 62:5

Psalm 131:2

Psalm 116:7

Psalm 146:1


Upward and Outward Worship Synergize with Inward

 

Heart, Mind, Soul and Strength

“I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my Mind"

 

Think of the elements of the greatest commandment: Heart, Mind, Soul and Strength.

As we express love to God during worship we need to engage Heart Mind Soul and Strength. That is “Heart Power,” “Brain Power”, “Soul Power” and our strength is “Will Power”!

 

Meaningful worship takes effort, love and thought and internal intent welling up from our inmost being.

 

Sometimes, to do that on a more regular basis , we need to "talk to ourselves" as the ageless truths of scripture show us.

 

Certainly this is a big part of worshiping God in Spirit and truth.

And without God's grace helping us by the Holy Spirit within us, we could not do this on our own. And yet we need to "keep in step with the Spirit." See Galatians 5:25 and I Corinthians 12:3

 

Let me close out with one global hymn “It is well with my Soul.” As you refelect on the lyrics, ask yourself and note, as we sing, whether our audience should be God (Vertical), Others (Horizontal) or Ourselves (Inward)

It is Well With My Soul

When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

 

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

 

My sin, O, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

 

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

 

And Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound,and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

Jerry Maday

Worcester County Church of Christ

To see scripture on Worship and the Arts click here >>>

 

 
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