Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "My Jesus I Love Thee"1 (Lyrics)
One day, we were watching a religious program on television, and the commentator mentioned that in worship, singing is praying. St. Augustine, who lived from 345 to 430 AD, is credited with saying, "To sing is to pray twice." In a commentary on Psalm 72, he wrote, "Whoever sings a praise, not only praises, but only praises with gladness. He that sings praise, not only sings, but also loves Him of Whom he sings."
For more than 25 years, I led Bible discussions at the local long-term care centre. I often found that it was difficult to have a dialogue with the residents, and there were only a few people who were able and willing to discuss the passages and the stories that we looked at, although they had some great insights, and I learned a lot from them. But when it came to singing hymns at the worship services, I was amazed at the way that they sang. So many of them knew the words from memory, and together, we expressed the love of God for us, our love for Him, and our faith in Jesus as Saviour and Lord through the hymns that we sang. It was something that they had learned decades before, and for them, it was as if the hymns were prayers.
Paul and Silas learned about the power of praying and singing hymns in Philippi, where they were arrested, beaten severely, and thrown into the inner prison, with their feet in stocks. In all their distress, pain, and agony, they were still able to pray and sing hymns.
Acts 16:25-26 – But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone's chains were loosed. (NKJV)
In the ensuing commotion, the jailkeeper and his whole family believed in Jesus and were baptized.
Many of the old hymns contain words of prayer, and many are little sermons, as well as expressions of faith in Jesus as Saviour and Lord.
- My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign;
My gracious Redeemer, my Saviour art Thou;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, 'tis now.
– William R. Featherston (1848-1875)
When we sing in church or wherever we are, may the words of the hymns speak to our hearts. Just remember, to sing is to pray twice!
Prayer: Our Father in heaven, we thank You for the authors of the many hymns which express our faith and give us such enjoyment and peace in our hearts. We offer this prayer in Jesus' name. Amen.