…to our resource sheet for our Lent Course – Pray Lent.
This week we are thinking about how we pray with music and we talk to Jimi Calhoun, one time bass player for the Dr John Band, who has also played alongside the Beach Boys, the Four Tops and with his own band Creation.
In the early 1980’s Jimi left the rock ‘n’ roll life to become a pastor and is currently pastor of Bridging Austin, an interdenominational church.
Jimi is also an author and you can access his books here:
Music is a language that speaks to us in ways which words may not. When we are sad, music calms our troubled minds; when we are joyful, we want to jump and dance and sing. We have certain pieces of music or songs that tell our story, music we remember at significant moments in our lives.
My colleagues in the Eastern Region of the Methodist Church Learning Network have a blog ‘The Friday Fix’ where people reflect on how secular music has shaped their faith and life. During lent this year the series is listening to music chosen by children and young people.
Whether we listen to the latest praise song from Hillsong or the choral music from our Cathedrals, the calm of Gregorian Chants or Taize - music plays an important part in our life as Christians. The Bible also records the importance of music – let everything that has breath praise the Lord!
1 Praise the Lord.
Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens. 2 Praise him for his acts of power; praise him for his surpassing greatness. 3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, 4 praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, 5 praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals.
6 Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord.
Here's a musical version of the Psalm sung in the original Hebrew
Each week we offer you an opportunity to try out new ways of praying and to see how this deepens your prayer life.
This week you might want to think about:
How do you use music to pray?
What part does silence play in the language of music?
How does silence help you to listen to God?
How easy do you find that?
In the interview, Jimi says: “We need to learn to be still. We need to learn to listen to the overtones of life, the overtones of God and to do this you need to be prepared.“
Jimi invites us to tune into ‘the overtones of God’ and to do that, he suggests that we might want to spend some time first of all listening to the lyrics of a song, the next time to the organ, then to the rhythm – each time picking out one aspect of the music and really concentrating on it.
Or you may want to pray with Psalm 150 or name your own desert island discs – the music you would take away with you on a desert island. Or listen to a genre of music that would not normally be your first choice – and perhaps listen to it the way that Jimi suggests.
Spend some time praying to God through music each day this week...