Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church

Man to Man -- Praying a hymn


As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.  Proverbs 27:17
Praying a hymn
I love to hear Bishop Hayes pray a hymn! 

Have you ever tried it? 

“Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!  There’s just something about that name.  Master, Savior, Jesus – like the fragrance after the rain.”  So many times, I think we just sing the words to hymns without really contemplating what they’re saying. 

I like to sing.  I joined the school choir in the 8th grade and enjoyed it so much that I continued to sing in a choir through high school.  I sang in the choir in boot camp and later as I attended church off base, while in the military.  For the longest time, I was just concerned about hitting the notes precisely and getting the words right. 

However, I can vividly remember the first time the words of the “song” grabbed my attention.  I was in the A cappella choir in high school and we sang “Let all mortal flesh keep silence.”  It’s in our hymnal – just read the words sometime.  It speaks of the awesomeness and omnipotence of God.  As I sang the words, it seemed that the Spirit pounded the reality of each verse into my spirit.  I don’t think I was even that much of a Christian at the time. 

For me, hymns express different aspects of our faith so eloquently.  For example, what I call Praise songs make up a large part of popular contemporary Christian music.  “Ten thousand Reasons” is currently my favorite, but there are many excellent ones.  Probably my favorite type of hymn is what I call Surrender hymns.  These are about setting our “selves” aside so that God can accomplish through us, and in us, what He desires.  “Have Thine own way, Lord,” is a prime example.  The image of the potter molding and shaping the pliable clay depicts total surrender of the believer to the desires of The Master.  Equipping hymns like, “Open my eyes that I may see…Open my ears that I may hear…Open my mouth so I may speak…”, and “Lord, speak to me so I may speak…”, remind us that as we labor for the Lord, we are just “clanging cymbals and noisy gongs” without God’s power.  Hymns of Assurance of God’s love and care, like “Rock of Ages”, “Your love never fails”, “A mighty fortress” and “Great is Thy faithfulness” give us comfort and strength in times of fear and doubt. 

These categories are my own, but they are examples of how the hymns influence and express my understanding of my relationship to God and His Kingdom.  Often, while praying, the words of some hymn will express exactly what I’m trying to say to God.  I can remember when all hymns used to end with an “Amen”, as if each were a prayer. 

Perhaps you have literally prayed the words of a hymn like Bishop Hayes, or maybe you have a particular hymn or praise song whose words keenly express your relationship to God.  Would you bless us by sharing the words and your thoughts with us, on this page?  To God be the glory!  


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