Prayer And Music
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Prayer through the power of music

Prayer is a part of everyday life guiding our soul through the epic journey here on earth. It allows us to communicate with God on a level of unimaginable power and reverence. Praying is not simply words spoken to an unseen being, but a relationship with the omnipresent God. We are able to express the deepest desires of our hearts through prayer using music as our outlet.

The Bible calls us to "Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 NIV) To pray without ceasing we must let it pour into every area of our lives. We are also called to praise God through worship and music, letting His power consume our lives with glory.

Music and prayer go hand in hand as we lift ourselves up to his will. Music is a powerful tool all cultures use to celebrate life, love, and happiness. When we combine prayer and music we are given a tremendous gift we can use to give all of ourselves to the almighty God. The depths of our souls can manifest into words through the power of music. Countless praise and worship songs have survived through history passing from one generation to the next. While bloodshed has stained the pages of time, prayer and music have cleansed the stains of our hearts.

Prayer in the form of music is found all throughout the pages of the Bible. The majority of the book of Psalms is filled with songs of prayer from King David. "By day the Lord directs his love, at night his song is with me, a prayer to the God of my life." (Psalm 42:8 NIV) There are countless verses in the Bible such as this one, which praise God through song and prayer.

A relationship with God is built on prayer and worship. The ability to create captivating music is a gift given to us by God in order to praise His name. Singing our prayers to Him through this amazing gift helps us explore who we are in Him and who He wants us to be. Without songs of prayer, our relationship with God would be incomplete.

"Sing joyfully to the Lord you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise Him. Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully and shout for joy." (Psalm 33:1, 3 NIV)

What is the relationship between prayer and music? Both prayer and music hold special meaning for their practitioners, and some would say that music is in itself a form of prayer. The backbone of Western classical music such as that written by Bach and Mozart was attendant to the spectacle of the organized mass. The music accompanied and intensified the services-particularly well known are the Gregorian chants written to contemplate God. A song can be understood to glorify God and His creation or to express joy or thanksgiving. In other traditions, the song does not accompany worship or prayer but is in and of itself a form of worship. One such example is Indian classical music, the basis of which can be found in the Vedas, some of Hinduism's oldest texts.

In the modern context music appears to be worshipped by some as a religion. A devotee of a certain genre of music exhibits behaviors similar to that of a devotee of a religion. Instead of a church or temple, services are held in clubs, all-ages spaces, and stadiums. Non-denominational meetups find their doppelganger in multi-day festivals such as Bonnaroo or the Reading festival. Religions have clergy that interpret the faith. Like early Christian, DIY communities hold meetings in their living rooms and basements. Music fans have figures within their 'scene' of choice, as well as overarching arbiters of musical taste, such as Pitchfork, to whom they can turn for interpretations of what makes a certain type of music good or authentic. To a certain extent these figures mediate a collective figuring of what is good in music or what ought to be found in music.

An argument for music-as-religion may find its clearest expression in a comparison to personality cults. Figures such as David Koresh and Tom Jones find their doubles in The Grateful Dead, The Rolling Stones, and more recently Animal Collective in terms of the fervor fans display in not only following their favorite band but organizing a lifestyle around their dedication to the band-this is to say nothing of Charles Manson, who was literally both a musician and the leader of a religious cult. Religious music can also become popular, as has been the case with Bob Marley.

Whether music is employed as part of worship or sought as a direct connection to the divine, it is clear that there is something about music that pulls the listener towards a state that, while perhaps not best described as 'contemplative', puts the listener in a state outside of the everyday. It is difficult to outline what makes music satisfying in this way, especially when considering how many different types of music can serve a similar purpose as prayer to so many different people-is it the total sound of the song? The words? The harmonic composition and song structure that makes music so compelling? These are questions are impossible to answer with a formula or written argument. They are, however, answered whenever someone connects with a song.

Two of the most timeless things in the history of humanity are prayer and music. They've existed for longer than the written word. Even before prayers were written on parchment or spoken aloud our most prehistoric of ancestors would hope and pray for a good hunt or to survive a fierce attack. Music is much the same, instruments have been found made of bone have been found from the time before man walked fully upright. It's only natural that these two unique pieces of humanity go hand in hand.

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