You’ve definitely heard the phrase “singing is praying twice” at one time or another. Recently I’ve considered the possibility that the meaning is more than quaint sentiment.
My perspective on the role of music in worship has always been centered on how much music adds to worship. As my knowledge of music history deepens I realize it was more complex than that historically. In fact, the liturgy as we know it today depends on music, and without it, our services (even the non musical ones) would look very different.
This is because the liturgy was birthed around the singing of psalms, or psalmody. The early Christians borrowed this custom from the Jews, who sang psalms in their worship. From there, of course, the liturgy grew fuller and more elaborate into the beautiful liturgical forms we now know and love. It is worth it to remember that our worship, due to the unique combination of words and song as an offering to God, goes far beyond other forms of public convention, such as speeches, meetings, classes, etc.
For the most serious matters prompt us to express ourselves in a more profound way than speaking. We sing to join our souls together in worship. Perhaps we call it “praying twice” not because song follows the spoken prayer, but instead because the music causes us to utter our prayers with doubled sincerity!
Your music director,