Sing your Prayers

September 23, 2009 | 21 comments

I embrace words. I love the way words dance down a page, spill from a mouth in conversation with Him (who is The Word). But sometimes, I have no words. I’m rendered dumb — mouth numb — and speechless over who He is.

When I don’t know what to say in my prayers,
I sing them instead.

I pull back the black bench, sit before 88 keys, and plunk my prayers in black and white, an offering for this colorful, unfathomable God of Life.

Explosive, Technicolor Life.

No words, for you, Christ Jesus.
So I will serenade You, my Savior,
who brings color to my song:

“Thou, my everlasting portion
More than friend or life to me
All along my pilgrim journey,
let me walk with Thee.”
(Fanny Crosby)

Between wrong notes and bungled timing, I find prayer in the song.

Jesus is the soundtrack of our life and home, so we pray-sing to him throughout the hours. We pray-sing to Him in the kitchen, and in the van, and in the playroom, as Polly Pockets lift plastic arms in praise.

We pray with spoken and written words, too — in our journals, and through our Bibles, and down lists of requests that pile up in the inbox, on the answering machine, or in the community prayer bulletin.

But sometime when I talk to Him, I’m …

(the silence comes….)

I’m …. rendered speechless. I have no words of my own.

So I pray-sing to Him instead:

“I’m finding myself at a loss for words
And the funny thing is, it’s okay
The last thing I need is to be heard
But to hear what You would say
Word of God Speak….”

(by MercyMe)

Off-key, I am
Yet I’ve sung myself
into His presence again.
And behold: The Crimson Curtain rises.
He stops, center stage
Crowd hushes
And the prayer-song becomes a colorful chorus:
He is singing with us!

The prayer-song resolves, and in the final notes, we sing Amen. Then we rise to applaud the Star of the Show.

He leaves me speechless.

“On your feet now — applaud God!
Bring a gift of laughter,
sing yourselves into his presence.”
— Psalm 100:1 (The Message)


We’ve been prayer-singing Explosive, Technicolor life into our home with these artists this month.

Third Day (Revelation)

Aaron Shust (Take Over)

Remedy Drive (Daylight is Coming)

Chris Tomlin (Hello Love)

Photo: Ushered into Technicolor, through these black and white keys. …

Photo: “Into My Heart,” from my grandmother’s old hymnal. Can you read what it says under the title? “My Prayer.” And there just above the first notes, we are urged, “Sing prayerfully…”

Friends — What melodies do you pray? Would you share your thoughts here in the comment box?

holy experience

Every Wednesday, I join Ann Voskamp as we explore spiritual practices that draw us nearer to His heart. This week, we continue to explore How to Prayer: For Beginners….
I, too, am a beginner.

by | September 23, 2009 | 21 comments


  1. Lisa notes...

    Oh, I love this! I often sing prayers as well – it engages my head and my heart to spill over in music to the One I love the most. May you continue to have joy in your song-prayers!


    This past weekend I did this. I was moved beyond words! My soul was lifted to the Heavens and peace wrapped itself around me.

    I truly enjoyed reading this today!

  3. Deborah Ann

    I had my own prayer song last night. Not a Christian song, but I worshiped God with it nonetheless. We were on a bus from Chicago to Milwaukee after dark. I had my cast resting on the seat next to me, and my ipod started playing:

    "You remind me, I live in a shell.
    Safe from the past, and doing okay, but not very well. No jolts, no surprises, no crisis arises, my life goes along as it should, it's all very nice, but not very good. And I'm ready to take a chance again, ready to put my love on the line with You. Been living with nothing to show for it, you get what you get when you go for it, and I'm ready to take a chance again with YOU."

    Yup. Barry Manilow. It was my love song to God, and my heart felt so ready to take a chance on Him…again. My broken ankle was just one more wound added to the one in my heart that was waiting to be healed, and I'm finally ready to move on with the Lord. I'm ready to take a chance again….

    • roldan

      hi, can i ask you?… whatt do you think of the song ” A Note to God ” – can this be use as a doxology ?

  4. Bina

    Oh Miss Jennifer…you pull at my heartstrings with this post.

    So often I sit down in the quiet of the mid-day or late night, journal open and heart ready to meet with Him…but my mind twirls and flips as it wrestles with the words to put out. In the moments when nothing comes…in the times when I can find nothing more than "……….", I click onto iTunes, click my personal playlist and press play. I find myself with my head on the wood, my hands raised and my heart flooding until my mind can grasp the concept of rational thought again.

    Music is the life-blood to my soul…and I praise Him for His continued use of it in my life!

    Thanks for this, my friend. Bless you in all you do…

  5. Anne L.B.

    Jennifer, as you might have guessed, worship music and praise music fill my soul. The verse I find myself singing repeatedly as a prayer is this:

    Oh to grace how great a debtor
    Daily I'm constrained to be.
    Let Thy goodness like a fetter
    Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
    Prone to wander! Lord, I feel it,
    Prone to leave the God I love.
    Here's my heart, Lord, take and seal it,
    Seal it for Thy courts above.

  6. Sarah Dawn

    I must sing for His joy has come! Oh sweet one, I sing constantly, and my little ones have begun as well. A song of praise continually flows from our lips and fills our home, ushering us into HIs presence.

    May the song of my life, be the tune of your heart my Lord.

    Sarah Dawn

    PS OUr faves right now Kim Walker and Misty Edwards

  7. Monica Sharman

    Oh, AWESOME.
    Pray-singing here,

  8. LynnRush

    This is great! Love the pray-sing idea. I'm not musical by any means, but I sure love music. I feel it brings me closer to God.

  9. RCUBEs

    I sing the songs He gave me, with my guitar. And you're right, sometimes, I can't speak…He's awesome. May my heart always sing a new song for Him. Blessings. Keep singing and praising Him 🙂

  10. Deidra

    Joyful noises. That what He asks of us, right? And then He says He inhabits the praises of His people.

    This is beautiful. Just beautiful.

    Funny how so often I find myself reaching back for the oldies but goodies:

    Amazing grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me.
    I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see.

    Thanks for stirring my heart, dear friend. Blessings to you. Amen.

  11. Lyla Lindquist

    I know the stones will cry out…but Polly Pockets too?

    This I never knew.

    I love that even the dolls know worship. A sure sign of its ever-presence in your home.

  12. Maria

    "I'm …. rendered speechless. I have no words of my own."
    Reminding me of Steven Curtis Chapman's SPEECHLESS
    And I am speechless I'm astonished and amazed
    I am silenced by your wondrous grace
    You have saved me
    You have raised me from the grave
    And I am speechless in your presence now
    I'm astounded as I consider how
    You have shown us
    A love that leaves us speechless

    Lately, I'm finding it best to remain mostly speechless …
    Enjoyed your post today very much ~ Maria

  13. Rick and Monique Elgersma

    I will most certainly sing.

  14. Girl in a Glass House

    He leaves me speechless.


    One of the benefits of playing the piano by ear is that the melody writes itself…I sit with God many mornings and just worship, eyes close, the notes making their own sense at the moment…sometimes I manage words, often I wrap scripture around the chords. What I treasure most are those times when Jesus comes and scrunches up next to me ,just the two of us on the bench.

  15. Doug Spurling


    I pray sing while driving. Me and Jesus. He likes my singing. Others, not so much. It's awesome, intimate, fun, liberating and powerful.

  16. Beth.. One Blessed Nana

    Jennifer – blown away by this post, but most of all the song "word of God speak". Have you seen my post from today – from earlier this morning….

    It's just God and I too, am rendered speechless.

  17. mom2six

    Wow! We have a twirling, singing girl here. Thanks for opening my eyes to what is happening – her praying-singing. Music how it moves the soul, lifts my gaze to the One Enthroned in heaven.

  18. Runner Mom

    I love that Hymn! I also loved how you showed us what the small print said underneath. Sometimes in our business, we rush by the small print.

    I sing-pray as well and am at a loss of words(even though I talk a lot!)when it comes to Him! There are so many songs that I pray back to Him. The one on my heart lately has been "God of the City."


  19. Get Real Girl

    It is always refreshing for me to come over to your blog and read your words inspired by His Word. Chris Tomlin is played over and over again as I sing my prayers.

  20. cindy


    I've gotta tell you that I have been to a place where groans and moans were all I was able to utter. No words were able to be formed.

    Now, almost any contemporary christian music just punches me in the heart. Tears flow….there are real, genuine tears. God catches them in his hand.

    I've posted a picture of Joshua on my blog. Come see what a handsome young man he is.



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