How Songs Can Be Prayers (reprinted in honor of a dear friend)

By on June 18, 2012

In our world of busyness and myriad responsibilities, sometimes the chatter in our heads (calling a customer, sending out emails, needing to fill the tank, or remembering a grandchild’s concert), is about everything but what it should be. Not that these things aren’t important, but when we consider the limited amount of time we have on the planet, it would be better to calm swirling thoughts and focus on one thing: life. Just plain ordinary life—the breathing in and out, the desire to love and be loved. The basic reason as to why we still get up every day, why we keep on going. Life.

What does life mean to you? How are you living it, cherishing it, expanding it? And are you able to sit with yourself, sit inside your mind and contemplate that gift of life? Call it prayer, call it meditation, call it whatever. It’s an action that needs to happen. The situation reminds me of a bride on the wedding day so consumed with details that she forgets what it happening! Forgets to stop and say, YES, THIS IS THE DAY! THIS IS NOW.  

My daughters give me CDs of songs they want to share. I love this, as I often don’t know the songs and I get to experience their music, to get insight into what is moving them, what they want in their heads. The most recent CD from my one daughter revealed a pattern to me. And this is what I want to share with you: music, songs, can fill your head, block out the to-do list and become—prayers. They can. If one definition of prayer is a request for help or expression of thanks addressed to God, then certainly some of this music fits that definition.

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Three different men are credited with writing these lines from a Louie Armstrong song. But please don’t just say—Yeah, I know that song. READ THE WORDS. Contemplate them.

I see trees of green, red roses too
I see them bloom for me and you
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

I see skies of blue and clouds of white
The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky
Are also on the faces of people going by
I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do
They’re really saying I love you.

I hear babies crying, I watch them grow
They’ll learn much more than I’ll never know
And I think to myself what a wonderful world.

Now if you were driving or sitting at home and you had the music too, what a prayer you could have in your mind.

Here is another, unlikely example:

I may not always love you,
But long as there are stars above you
You never need to doubt it
I’ll make you so sure about it
God only knows what I’d be without you. 

That’s the BEACH BOYS, “God Only Knows.” And the more I listened to it, the more I began to think of my mother—of all the sacrifices she has made for me over the years. How her life was dedicated to raising me and my brothers. God only know what I’d be without her. If prayer moves a person, there were tears on my face when this realization hit me. And my daughter and I talked about it. She thinks of her three children when she hears those words: what would she be without them? We can all think along similar lines.

One more: “If God Made You” by FIVE FOR FIGHTING

Hey Kid…Do wishes count at all
Can you give me a sign…give me anything I won’t tell a soul you told
Hey Kid…Will you hold me when I sleep
Will you find me when the tide decides that I got to leave
Something inside me is breaking
Something inside says there’s somewhere better than this…
Sunset sailing on April skies
Bloodshot fire clouds in her eyes
I can’t say what I might believe
But if God made you he’s in love with me

It’s a prayer about dying, about leaving on the tide to a place better than this, but realizing that God loves this dying person because he made you—the you probably being a child, but it certainly could be a lover.

These are the examples I found on one CD of 17 songs. Symphonic, classical music without lyrics often takes me to God—lifts me beyond the trappings of this world, becomes a virtual meditation.

Did someone once say music is the work of the divine? Stop and consider: songs can be prayers and help you truly look at your life.

Thank you to Cameron Booth’s Photo Stream.

If this article was helpful to you, please share it with someone.


Originally posted on Boomer Highway.

About Beth Havey

Beth Havey is a Boomer, member of the sandwich generation, passionate about health and the snags in the fabric of life that affect our children and grandchildren. Help me slow life down on BOOMER HIGHWAY Be sure to stop and to chat with her.

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How Songs Can Be Prayers (reprinted in honor of a dear friend)