One of the most significant activities in gathered worship is corporate communication with God on the part of His children. Our heavenly Father desires and requires such communication. Prayer and praise are the two most obvious examples of this, and our singing is often one or both of these. One expedient way to note that a hymn is a prayer hymn is to discover direct address of the Father, Son or Holy Spirit in its text.
The Whole Person Is Needed
To sing a hymn well, the whole person—mind, body, and spirit—should be engaged. One can easily miss the message of a hymn or psalm when singing. We tend to be distracted by external things and gloss over or miss textual meaning. Music, rote memory, aural or visual distractions, concern for something outside of worship, or even poor preparation on either our part or the part of a song/worship leader can contribute to the message being missed. We must be willing to focus and work at musical worship—it takes some effort.
Over the next few days, I’ll be posting practical suggestions as well as instructions from the great hymn poet John Wesley on this very important aspect of our worship.