Is Singing a Form of Praying?

For our staff chapel yesterday we had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Fred Coleman from Bob Jones University. Not only did he lead us in worship through singing, but he also talked about the songs we sang and the history behind them. I always find it fascinating to uncover the reasons people write worship music. Some people write out of their life experiences, others write based on something they heard or saw, but most seek to convey biblical truths.

I grew up on hymns, and to this day I can sing many hymns from memory. In dark times I find myself singing, “It Is Well with My Soul” and “Till the Storm Passes By.” In the joyful times I sing, “In My Heart There Rings a Melody” and “Such Love.” I love the old hymns because they are so theologically rich. They bring me such comfort because they are essentially sound doctrine and theology set to music that is easy to remember and repeat.

Dr. Coleman shared with us that many of the reformers believed worship was a form of prayer in song. That means my daughter and I pray a lot! We love to sing hymns and choruses. The other night as I was braiding my daughter’s hair (which took 30 minutes), she sang almost the whole time. I said to her, “You just can’t stop singing, can you?” She said, “No,” and I said, “Good, then keep on singing.” It’s amazing to think we can glorify God even when doing the mundane things of life.

One of the songs we sang in staff chapel was, “Nothing but the Blood of Jesus” by Robert Lowry. The basis for the song comes from Hebrews 9:22, which says, “And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission.” Lowry was a Baptist pastor and well known for his preaching of the gospel. This hymn is a great telling of the gospel in song.

Verse 1:

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Refrain:

Oh! Precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Verses 2–6:

For my pardon, this I see,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
For my cleansing this my plea,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Nothing can for sin atone,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Naught of good that I have done,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

This is all my hope and peace,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
This is all my righteousness,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Now by this I’ll overcome,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
Now by this I’ll reach my home,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Glory! Glory! This I sing,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
All my praise for this I bring,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

May we do as Paul says in Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

Keep fighting the good fight of the faith!