Oh, sing to the Lord a new song! – Psalm 96:1
Few believers understand the power of song. Worship is not just a “warm-up” to the sermon. Singing opens the way for an increase of the Holy Spirit’s overflow in us, as well as an unfolding of discernment regarding His will in our lives. It is by the creative capacity of speech and song given to us by God that man has, among other ways, been glorified above other creatures. The mime of birds is not self-initiated speech. We speak of birds singing but what we call singing, as lovely as it may be, is not song.
Song is a powerful instrument because it is so basic to worship. When it is worked out in the experience of our daily life, it becomes a manifestly powerful means of sustenance, triumph, creativity, deliverance and ongoing growth and development in the way of the Lord.
Exercise the gift of song, no matter the quality of your voice
A sense of inadequacy about the quality of one’s voice can cripple a believer into fear of singing or entering boldly into worship. The world causes us to draw comparisons, but to the Lord, there is a distinct beauty to everything He’s created. When it comes to the matter of our singing voice, if we will exercise and be faithful in the few things God has given us, He says He will make us rulers over many. People who sing praise and don’t worry about it sounds see the glory of the Lord begin to break forth in their voice. Don’t allow the spirit of this world to stifle the song God wants to bring from your lips. His Word says there is no sound that is without significance (1 Corinthains 14:10). Ask the Lord to make you an anointed singer of praise and quit laboring with the matter of how you think it sounds.
A personal story about the power of song
We don’t enshrine history or hold sacred a few moments that we hearken back to because it’s a ritual or tradition with us. But if you will allow me to tell you this story about something that happened at the inception of God’s grace at The Church On The Way, it is a reminiscence that helps us be reminded of how I first learned some of the principles of release of Jesus’ life and power among His people.
Two weeks after I first stepped into the building that was then The Church On The Way, in February 1969, I took the pastorate of the church. There were only eighteen members and an average attendance of twenty-five people. The key to understanding where the church was at that time was to understand what I discovered—not about the number of church members, but about a hideously oppressive spirit that existed in that place. I had no formula response to it. The only response I knew was what I felt prompted to do.
I think that to suggest that there are spirits of oppression that have to do with buildings can sound superstitious and bizarre to some people, but I don’t have any question that such things do occur. I didn’t say anything to anybody about it. One of the people in the congregation mentioned it to me. He acknowledged his sense of a terrible presence that was so oppressive to anything it seemed God would like to do. It wasn’t his saying it to me that brought it to my awareness. The first time I came into the room, I felt it.
The way it manifested in services was that it was almost impossible to see the people brought to any kind of expression of joy or praise. Nothing happened. If you can imagine that building as a womb–there was no new life in it. There wasn’t life in the Word. There wasn’t life of people being born again. It wasn’t alive. People will often tell me that when they come for the first time or two to The Church On The Way, they feel something they can’t identify—it’s the presence of the love of God and the life of His Son. It’s what happens in the midst of the glory of the Lord being manifest among people. That’s not the product of human energy. It’s the product of the grace and power of God which responds to people who live according to His Kingdom ways.
What I did might seem a little strange, but I’ve learned that the strength of our church body life is not in trying to seem sophisticated but in simply teaching principles that the Lord invites us, as His children, to respond to.
I used to come in to the building through the side door of the sanctuary, and every time I would enter the church alone, I would begin to clap my hands and sing praises. It wasn’t something I had learned; just what I felt in my spirit to do. I recognized that the oppression needed to be challenged. I would come into the room, close the door, and begin praising Jesus as I walked through the sanctuary and up the aisle to go to my office, which was back next to the foyer at the front of the building. I would be saying, “Praise Your Name, Jesus, Hallelujah, Lord!” and I would clap my hands—“Praise Your Name, oh Jesus, Hallelujah” – I would literally sing the words, clapping my hands.
I was conscious of challenging something in the atmosphere of that place. The singing was an assertive, aggressive opposition to it. I would sing in my spiritual language and I would continue, “Hallelujah Lord, Glory to Your Name, oh Jesus…” I would go into my office, do whatever work I had—might be there for three hours, might be there ten minutes. When I got done, I’d turn around and walk back out, and I’d do the same thing: singing praises and clapping my hands.
I didn’t tell anybody that I did it. Not because I felt foolish about it; I just didn’t feel any need to tell anybody. But I knew it was something I was supposed to do. And I did it.
It was a year and a half later on a Sunday morning that the breakthrough came. It would be years after that that I would understand what I was doing back then. But at that time, I was simply being prompted by the Holy Spirit. What had been going on is described in Isaiah 54:1-5 which begins, “Sing, O barren… Break forth into singing, and cry aloud.” The church had been “barren.” And the experience opened my understanding that song is a Kingdom key to the release of Jesus’ life and power among His people for:
- Fruitfulness, increase and multiplication (Isaiah 54:1-5)
- Victory in battle (2 Chronicles 20)
- Confrontation of bondage (Psalm 42:8; 32:7)
- Spiritual breakthrough (Acts 16:25-26)
- Release of God’s Word in your life (Colossians 3:16)
- Ignition of the creative power of God (Job 38:4-7)
Loved on, song is life-begetting. It is a natural means of uniting together, a beautiful means of praise and worship, and a powerful means of challenging darkness and declaring the truth. This isn’t simply poetry; it’s God’s Word for you.
Copyright © 2014 Jack W. Hayford, Jack Hayford Ministries
Our gift of this article by Pastor Jack Hayford is made possible by your gracious support of the ministry. Partner with us online or call toll-free 1-800-776-8180 to donate.