Learning Songs as a Practice in Prayer

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Age: 47
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Learning Songs as a Practice in Prayer

#1 Postby Phillip » Wed Jun 04, 2014 8:30 am

When I initially started learning to play a musical instrument two years ago, I didn’t know why. I had an inclination to put some energy that was deeply troubling me into expression, and nothing of what I knew could really give the energy that was troubling me voice. It wanted a more purely visceral emotive expression, and I was and am such a verbal person. Something of music gave me that potential, and when I started, I approached learning music and songs as a mystic and as a prayer. I imagine many who come to music are similarly inclined.

I had a particular song that seemed to express the energy that troubled me well, to give it voice, and as I got better at the song, the energy started to feel released and loosened and transformed. Soon, it became a prayer not only seeking to release my own frustrated energy but another, than others became linked in my thoughts to the song, and my practice became a prayer, and eventually, the practice of this song became totally a prayer for others. Even my own feelings simply feel like an extension when practicing in this way. As I practice, I hold the others in my heart, and hold the uplifted intention for these persons. Practicing this way has been very valuable to me, since, even though there are words to the song, it is almost as though the words are secondary, as the intention is allowed to express itself through pure visceral sound and emotion. The meanings of the lyrics change as the play in consciousness changes, and practicing a tune feels like praying from a different center than the verbal mental consciousness.

This practice has extended, so that I like to link learning tunes to some prayer for persons or situations. As I learn the song, the process itself becomes a prayer. Here is a basic outline of the process I use, though it is more creative and less formulaic than this:

1. Find a song that energetically resonates with a situation or person - or- think of a situation or person that energetically links with a song you want to learn in need of prayer.

2. Thank God for the opportunity to pray and to sing to Him.

3. Ask God’s assistance and help in your practice/prayer.

4. Practice the song holding the intention in your heart that the energy of the song send forth blessings for the other.

a. Perhaps the song itself reflects the energy of the persons or situation in need of prayer, in this case, one can practice/play/sing with the intention that the song is an empathetic connection and one is praying for the comforter to go out to these individuals or situations to bless them and uplift them, and one is practicing being in one’s heart, feeling with the other. One might even see angels and holy beings going forth with the sound of the tune to give aid, provided one knows the tune well enough.

b. Perhaps the song conveys a message of hope, or a solution to those in need. In this case, one can hold the intention that this message is conveyed and the persons in need receive it and are uplifted. Visualizations again added as inspired.

5. When encountering a “sticky” part of the tune that needs work, hold in one’s heart the natural challenges a person encounters when seeking to make a shift in life or mentality, and remember the process of working out these “sticky” places that need some focused work as the same metaphorically for those in need. The practice can hold the intention of sending forth aid, and as one works through these “sticky” places and smooth them out, so too are these who are receiving these prayers working through their challenges in making a positive shift. One is holding a vision of hope as one practices these portions. Even in setbacks, one keeps pushing on and eventually gets through it and makes the change, so too, one repeats that section over and over until it gets smoothed out. Send forth that energy of perseverance and success in challenge with the work on such parts of a song.

6. Praise God for the opportunity to pray.

When practicing a song, the words seem to be secondary. Holding a clear intention for those who arise in heart and mind and a song that matches in feeling/tone, the meanings of the words shift, it seems and don't obey the clear rules of mental consciousness, I notice. So, I don’t think it’s necessary to obsess on whether the words perfectly match as much as whether the energy feeling/tone of the song matches the situation or person in need of prayer.

Music appears to be a wonderful opportunity to pray from a less verbal and more feeling/visceral part of ourselves, and so I invite others to try this out and perhaps add their own ideas/experiences to the discussion to help evolve our musical practice of prayer.

May the Lord of Hosts uplift our prayers!

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Re: Learning Songs as a Practice in Prayer

#2 Postby Anna » Thu Jun 05, 2014 7:33 am

Blessings of delightful expression in music!

Dear Brother Phillip, I love this practice you recommend! Having spent much of my life practicing various musical instruments, it never occurred to me to turn practice into a "practice!" What a neat idea!

Yes, music can express so much that cannot be expressed in words. It is really a gift to be able to work with this type of expression. To actually turn our process of learning to play or sing specific songs or pieces, is another way to to "pray without ceasing," as Paul encourages us to do. That these particular tunes might draw out specific prayers for others brings to mind my own work with my Celtic band when performing in pubs. Often I find that whatever song or tune we are playing can be turned to prayer for the people and the energies encountered in the bar at the time. For me, sometimes the prayer becomes more of a general prayer for hearts to be light so that the angels of God may abide in our company. It is amazing how this can help even in challenging situations when folks are getting a bit over-excited and getting, as we say, deeply "in their cups." In this way playing in a bar becomes ministry for me. It actually makes it a lot more fun and fulfilling as well. Bars are not my favorite place to play and we don't play many of them. But it is lovely to turn the work into a play of loving prayer and invitation of awareness of the Shekinah.


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