Revival---The Importance of Singing and the Burden on My Heart
By Angela Posey-Arnold
As a Resident Pianist at a local Baptist Church I rejoice in the fact that I am being used by God because I am a willing vessel. It is difficult for me to sing and play at the same time. In trying to keep up with the words of the song I would loose my place in the reading the music. To me, it is like patting my head and rubbing my tummy. It is just not something that I can easily do.
It is my job to play the piano and provide the background music for singing. I do not play to entertain. I play so that others will be blessed. I feel uncomfortable when people clap for me, I would rather they be blessed by the music and not give me the Praise but give God the Praise. It is because of Him that I play. He gave me the gift and I use it for Him.
I play so that others can sing. God has laid a burden on my heart. This burden is in the fact that I cannot hear the congregation singing. I hear the choir, but I cannot hear the congregation. I thought it was because I was playing too loud, so I softened my tone and I still couldn’t hear the congregation singing. So now, I play louder hoping and praying that they will sing louder and stronger, happier and more joyful.
If I can’t hear it then I wonder if anyone is actually singing or not. I do not think we can discount the importance of singing. I believe that John Wesley had the correct attitude about singing. I believe this should be shared with the congregation. I realize that not everyone will appreciate the message, but possibly they need to examine their hearts—as I examine mine. We have the wonderful privilege to ask Jesus to examine our hearts, when we ask Him, He will.
From John Wesley’s Select Hymns, 1761
DIRECTIONS FOR SINGING
I. Learn these tunes before you learn any others; afterwards learn as many as you please.
II. Sing them exactly as they are printed here, without altering or mending them at all; and if you have learned to sing them otherwise, unlearn it as soon as you can.
III. Sing all. See that you join with the congregation as frequently as you can. Let not a slight degree of weakness or weariness hinder you. If it is a cross to you, take it up, and you will find it a blessing.
IV. Sing lustily and with good courage. Beware of singing as if you were half dead, or half asleep; but life up your voice with strength. Be no more afraid of your voice now, now more ashamed of its being heard, than when you sung the songs of Satan.
V. Sing modestly. Do not bawl, so as to be heard about or distinct from the rest of the congregation, that you may not destroy the harmony; but strive to unite your voices together, so as to make one clear melodious sound.
VI. Sing in time. Whatever time is sung be sure to keep with it. Do not run before nor stay behind it; but attend close to the leading voices, and move therewith as exactly as you can; and take care not to sing too slow. This drawling way naturally steals on all who are lazy; and it is high time to drive it out from us, and sing all our tunes just as quick as we did at first.
VII. Above all sing spiritually. Have an eye to God in every word you sing. Aim at pleasing Him more than yourself, or any other creature. In order to do this attend strictly to the sense of what you sing, and see that your heart is not carried away with the sound, but offered to God continually; so shall your singing be such as the Lord will approve here, and reward you when he cometh in the clouds of heaven.
I don’t look up and look at the congregation while I am playing. I am concentrating on being a part of the singing, to lay out the music for the congregation to sing. I am disappointed most Sundays—because I have to wonder if anyone was actually singing. There are a few voices I hear, the same few every Sunday.
As part of my prayer for our upcoming revival I pray that there will be a change in the hearts of the people to the point that it shows in the singing. Singing cannot be discounted as just a process of worship. It is part of worship and should come from the hearts of the children of God. Joy should be heard. Thankfulness—should be heard and the light of Jesus in the people should be brighter during singing. We should sing to please God.
I long to hear singing that will make the rafters ring. We should be singing loud enough and bold enough that it could be heard outside the building.
What if one person, just one person, was outside the building needing and seeking God. Would they hear joyful noises that would bring them in, draw them in, and draw them to Jesus?
Why do we close two sets of doors? It seems to me that the doors should be open. Maybe someone outside will hear and be drawn in by the Holy Spirit. They should not have to go through two sets of doors to get there. I realize there are security issues this day and time, but God will take care of us.
I don’t even know if our church has a working bell. But if there is one—it should be ringing on Sunday. Every Sunday. It should ring the call to Sunday school. It should ring the call to Worship.
In Haleyville, my hometown, it is a blessing to hear the Bells coming from the First Baptist Church. They play hymns with the bells on the hour, every hour, every day. I am sure there are a few people who complain about it, but they are the few. Our nation is in trouble because we have catered to the “few”. We can’t do that in our towns. We need Jesus. And one song, one bell, might bring someone to Him.
If we really want revival—we have got to sing like it.
Because we need Jesus, every hour, every day. And Christians should sing and praise the Lord out of an incredible thankfulness for all He has done for us. We should sing because we are happy, peaceful and saved from hell. If that doesn’t make people want to sing I don’t know what will.
If we truly have a heart for the lost and unchurched, then we need to try and reach them. One way to reach them is thru music and singing. God gave us music for a reason.
I have written a Bible Study on “What The Bible Says About Music”. I would share it with any one who is interested. I know the study and the writing of it has blessed me, maybe it would help those that sing like they are half dead.
I don’t mean to be so blunt, but this is what the Lord has given to me in my heart.
There must be a reason for it. I love playing for Him and I appreciate the opportunity to do so.
By being obedient to Him, I write this from a heart of love. I pray that it is taken in the same Spirit.
I would love to hear singing to make the rafters ring, too. It's funny that I always hear stomping and praising in the kids' ministry wing. :) Maybe our kids know a thing or two about it. Thank you for challenging us and reminding us of this important element of worship.