Reaching Up and Reaching Out With Music
Music is universal. God is the inventor and creator of music, and I know it’s an avenue God uses to gain and maintain people’s attention. Music can dig deep into people’s hearts and minds by speaking a language that words alone often cannot (1 Sam 16:23). Many of us sing worship songs at church, and this is vital to our growth as Christians. But there are more uses for music available. I’d like to point out two ways that music can have an immediate effect in our lives and personal ministries, right now.
- Unceasing Prayer
God certainly calls us to more than singing (Rom 12:1), but music is regularly a medium that enables our hearts to engage God and express our worship. For me, so many songs I have heard over the years have found themselves ingrained within me. Songs by Delirious?, Vineyard Music, and Rita Springer still continue to hold strong ties to my heart and remind me of God’s work during different seasons of my life when I hear or sing them (Deut 31:19).
These authentic times of worship aren’t confined to planned moments when we gather together as the Church. I remember vividly a time when I was washing dishes and wondering where God was in the midst of the seemingly mundane parts of life. As I often do, I had a worship radio station playing in the background, and one of my favorite songs, “More Than a Friend” (by Jeremy Riddle), came on. I remember singing to the Lord as if Jesus just walked into my kitchen with my kids sitting at the table. The song met me where I was and helped my heart find a posture of worship even as I was caring for my family and doing housework. The song in that moment was a gift and was a devotional tool to draw my heart and mind closer to Jesus and things unseen.
Some of us feel like we aren’t good at praying through our days, or inviting God to be present with us during our daily tasks. Music is a way to be prayerful throughout our days. When you sing God-honoring, scriptural lyrics, or just let them wash over you, your heart is often transformed and refreshed.
- Reaching Others
Currently, I am listening to a lot of Bethel Music. I love the whole We Will Not Be Shaken album. Their music has been so good for me and is becoming a soundtrack through this season of life. While these songs certainly have a purpose and place within church gatherings, I know they can breathe life outside the church walls as well. In my years leading worship, I have continued to see God use the “language of music” as a delivery method to share hope when people may not normally listen to our words alone. I have heard countless stories of how songs have met people right where they were at and in just the right time.
I recall hearing a specific story about how God used one of my songs, “Not for a Moment (After All)” to speak to someone even when they weren’t showing interest in knowing God. Those words were penned to remind believers what is true in Christ—that God deeply loves and will never forsake his children. But those truths met this particular person in their wandering and helped them come in contact with the same God that the song is about.
When people are looking for hope, they may not necessarily search (or stumble upon) a sermon. But through music there is often an open door to deliver what people need to hear.
When you are listening to music that honors God, you have the opportunity to take the next step: share it. Just like feeling inadequate in daily prayer, many of us feel unsure when it comes to sharing hope and faith with the people in our lives that desperately need it. It could be as simple as meeting a neighbor on the sidewalk and saying, “I’ve been thinking about your story lately, and this song came to mind. I’d love for you to hear it and see if it means anything to you.” This shows you care, and it is more than blindly passing musical tracts to strangers. It is birthed in relationship, and because music is universal, it can help break barriers that often stand between us and those we are praying for.
God has given us music. It is put to its highest use and purpose when it is used to build his kingdom. That means, yes, sing in church. But we also have the opportunity to take it into our lives, to let music play its most important role in the way we engage God every day and how we share the good news of the Savior to the people in our lives that need his saving grace.
Word Worship recording artist Meredith Andrews is passionate about writing and leading songs that keep people’s hearts and minds set on Jesus. Over the course of her three Word Worship albums, and as she prepares to release her fourth on February 19, 2016, the Dove Award-winning artist has been using her musical gifts, love for God, and her huge heart for His people – to teach and remind us all about the enormity of our awesome and loving Savior. Andrews, who is also on staff at Harvest Bible Chapel in Chicago, focuses on creating music that lifts the body of Christ to a closer relationship with the Lord. Andrews’ upcoming album, Deeper, features the songs “Soar,” “Lamb of God,” “Deeper” and “Spirit of The Living God.”
On a regular basis, Andrews leads worship at major women’s and worship leader conferences across the U.S., and has toured with Matt Maher, Natalie Grant, Big Daddy Weave, Vertical Church, Phil Wickham, and Michael W. Smith, among others. For additional information, please visit www.meredithandrews.com.
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Meredith Frances Sooter, known professionally as Meredith Andrews, is a contemporary Christian music artist, songwriter, and worship leader. She has won two Dove Awards.