"When you sing, you pray twice.” Saint Augustine
Many of you who read my article "The Story Of Christian Meditation" learned that the verse in Genesis 4:26 "At that time people began to call on the name of the LORD" was generally misunderstood due to translation barriers.
We conclusively determined that the original Hebrew word for "call" was better translated to "singing" or "chanting". This is the first mention of a chanting practice that frequently appears in the Bible. It is later revealed that the Temple priests also sing, or chant, the name of God.
Suffice to say that descriptions of chanting and singing fill the pages of the Bible. Unfortunately, the new age movement once again has hijacked a biblical tradition and branded with their own strange psychology.
In our study of chanting in the book of Genesis we concluded that chanting the name of God became a way for human being to remain worthy of God. Chanting and calling on God's name was a way of keeping the mind from dipping to deep into the secular world.
The sense of a disciplined mind and control leads to purity, an area many Christian struggle with today. Nearly 75% of adult Christian admit to the use of pornography, drugs, alcohol, theft, and adultery. This is a clear indication of how an undisciplined mind leads to impurity. As Christians we are called to be holy as God is holy. (1 Peter 1:16)
Genesis described the same problem, although the people of God were close to God, the first murder occurred, a shocking event indeed. It is from that moment that people began to call on the Name.
Can Chanting Help You Become A Better Person?
Unfortunately, there hasn't been a scientific study conducted on the subject, but it has been proven that chanting changes brain function in very positive ways. In another study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information showed that the central glands of the brain enter into a state of "tranquility" creating a very pleasant feeling for subjects.
Additionally, Dr Alan Watkins, a leading lecturer in neuroscience at the Imperial College London, conclusively proved that people who control their breathing by applying musical tones can help our emotional state.
He recently carried out research on five Gregorian monks. Heart rates and blood pressure measured throughout the 24-hour experiment. The results surprised everyone. Both heart rate and blood pressure dipped to its lowest point when they were engaged in meditative Christian chanting. The practice also shows that it increases performance hormone levels as well as reduce depression and anxiety. Classic hidden forerunners of sinful behavior.5 Positive Effects Of Chanting
1. According to the Cleveland University, chanting rhythmic tones creates a melodious effect in the body called the Neurolinguistic (NLE). The effect is especially powerful when faith enters the equation. The meaning of the chant creates what scientist call a Psycholinguistic effect (PLE) on the body. Both NLE and the PLE are effects produced as by the natural production brain chemistry.
2. Dr Alan Watkins has conclusively proven that chanting, reduces heart rate and blood pressure. And the effect doesn't stop there. Doctors are discovering that even listening to chants normalizes adrenal levels, smooths brain wave patterns, and even lowers cholesterol levels.
3. Studies have shown that adopting chants as part of a daily exercise regimen can help achieve greater weight loss in a shorter period of time.
4. Neuroscientist Marian Diamond at the University of California discovered that developing a chanting practice reduces the release of stress hormones while improving immune function. Muscle and joint flexibility also improved for extended periods of time.
5. Dr. Watkins demonstrated that since the practice of chanting also increases and stabilizes hormone levels it can reduce depression and anxiety.
The Power Of Voice In The Bible
The Bible is replete with examples chanting and singing, but none are as powerful as the story of Joshua chapter six. The historical account states that God instructs Joshua to command his army to march around the fortress city of Jericho with trumpets for seven days. Then on the seventh day they are instructed to "shout" so the walls of the fortress city can come tumbling down.
Joshua faithfully obeyed God's instruction and saw success. The walls of Jericho crumbled and His army was victorious over the enemy. Although it seems obvious that the vibration of a marching feet and the sound of trumpets was enough to weaken walls, it's important to point out that it was the sound of the human voice that completely collapsed the walls of Jericho. marching feet and trumpets were not enough.
What Will You Chant?
Proverbs 18:21 states, "Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof." It appears that yet again the scientific community is playing catch up to the Bible.
Science has proven without a doubt that humans have been gifted with a real power - voice (sound). And the discipline of controlling one's voice produces health, or life, in the body.
Fortunately, Genesis 4:26 is the first recorded chanting meditation in human history (first generation from Adam, Seth) and it worships God according to biblical tradition. The scientific results should elate all Christians. It proves God word while emphasizing God's wisdom over us, His creation.
The power of musical tones in reverence to God is the reason why God created sound to begin with, and He embedded that power within us. If we practice it we receive life and God gets the glory.
Start Your Own Christian Chanting Meditation Practice
Christians have been chanting for millennia. The most common form of a Christian chanting disciple is musical, or melodic, verbal repetitions of scripture. This can be performed by anyone. One the favorites of course is the book of Psalms.
Chanting a holy name like: Jesus, or YHVH, is also very predominant with Christian who revere the Lord early in the morning.
For the following example we will follow the example given to us in Genesis 4:26.
1. Find a place where people can't hear you. It should a place where you feel comfortable and will be undisturbed.
2. Pray. before you begin humble yourself before God and ask God to bless you time of meditation.
3. Take a long deep breath, and release.
4. Take another breath, this time inhale for about 4 to 6 seconds. As you exhale verbally say, YA..... WEH ( ya... way) The exhale as you pronounce God's name should last approximately 7 seconds, but can vary.
5. Repeat for 5 minutes.
6. Praise God by and glorify Him with prayer.
Practice this process for a week or two before extending your time. After you practice for 5 minutes daily, try 10 minutes. Within a month, or so, you be able to go 20 to 30 minutes.
After each chanting session, and after praising God. Sit still with eyes closed and be still. (Psalm 46:10) Meditate like this for 10 to 15 minutes. Slowly come out of your meditation.
This is the perfect way to start your day. I hope you enjoyed the article as much as I enjoyed writing it for you. Would love to read your comments, ideas, and suggestions about chanting. Post them below. We love you and we're praying for you. God bless.