Songs of Grace
“Be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:18-21)
I love the idea of “addressing each other” in music. We do this every Sunday as we sing together the wonderful truths in the songs Steve Aldredge, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit, has chosen for us. We may think that this is a communion simply between ourself and the Lord--we’re just worshiping Him in our hearts--but the corporate action goes deeper than that. As I stand next to you and sing aloud alongside you, I am proclaiming to you—and you to me—a glorious message. All together we strengthen each other’s spirits with the reassurance of mercy, forgiveness and redemption, of the hope of heaven and the ultimate triumph of Christ. It is an experience I anticipate every week.
But how can we address each other this way during the rest of the week? One way is by listening to good Christian music at home and in the car as we go about our day. Truthful, scriptural lyrics are messages of grace to us from the Spirit via the composer.
But I encourage you to go further than listening. Praying psalms and hymns and spiritual songs for my friends and family has become a natural part of my time with the Lord during this past year. And as I sing-pray, I put the lyrics (and often links to online audio versions) into texts or email messages and send them on to the one for whom I pray. These prayers have become so rich to me, not only because of the importance of the message, but because of the deep soul expression that happens with music and poetry.
I sing the hymn, “Abide with Me”, and I pray that my friends will know and feel the presence of the Lord as darkness deepens, that as other helpers fail and comforts flee, they will be especially aware that He will never leave them or forsake them.
I sing for them to be able to rest on His unchanging grace when darkness seems to hide His face and that in every high and stormy gale, their anchor will hold within the veil. I pray for Christ to be the solid rock on which they stand amid the sinking sand. I pray for His oath, His covenant, His blood to support them in the whelming flood.
I could go on and on all the way through the hymnal! Instead I’ll include some links to a few of my favorites down below, but so often I end with this message of hope, and I pray it for you even now as I type it out:
Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus,
Just to take Him at His Word
Just to rest upon His promise,
Just to know, "Thus saith the Lord!"
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I've proved Him o'er and o'er
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!