“So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind.” (1 Corinthians 14:15)
In 1 Corinthians 14:11 - 15 Paul addresses a topic that is rarely discussed. In these verses Paul describes the ability of a human being of becoming a vessel of the Holy Spirit without the interference of the secular mind. In other words, Paul states that one may speak a language from heaven that may be know to the person and God.
Of course this kind of language is correlated to a word from the Lord which may be helpful in some situations. There is no denying that a human being because they were created by God and given the Holy Spirit can a state of mind that allows the Spirit to speak. In fact, there several examples in the Old Testament of prophets chanting, singing, dancing, and playing instrumental music before revealing a prophecy.
Since it's well documented that music and singing is a method of reducing the worldly mind chatter so the heavenly word may proceed through us, we are simply going to analyze one word so we can more appropriately reach that state of mind with God as described in the Bible.
The Worshipful Chanting
In 1 Corinthians 14:15 word pray is closely associated with the word "sing". But what about the word sing. It seems simple enough. But there's more than what is insinuated. The word sing in the original Greek means, to strike a cord, or to make vibrate. There are several other Greek words Paul could have used to describe singing, but he chose a particular word that describes a vibration of the throat, and not singing.
What's interesting is that the word pray and the word sing also appear in Genesis 4:26 which you might recall from our study in The Story of Christian Meditation. In our study we discovered that people began to sing, or chant, the name of God at that time, a powerful custom that was later adopted in Temple rituals.
So was Paul referring to Genesis 4:26 when he describes praying and singing during what appears to be an altered state of mind. I believe that Paul, a Jewish scholar understanding some of the mystical traditions, encouraged a broader audience to go ahead with a practice of song, or chant, as long as it is and act of internal worship toward the Lord in prayer.
This by the way, is similar to what Jesus stated in the Gospel of John when He stated that God is pleased when people worship Him in Spirit and in truth. The truth is of course the cultivated word within ourselves, through which we can intensely pray.
So what are we to take away from Paul's insight. First, despite what anyone says, it's okay to chant or sing and enter into a state of worshipful meditation, the Bible is full of examples. Second, the instruction appears several times in the Bible as a way of reducing the worldly chatter of the mind so the presence of God may speak freely to us. And third, anyone can do this, and it is still in practice today.
Have you ever been to an Orthodox Christian prayer service known as a Vesper? They spend nearly an hour singing and chanting the Word of God.
Try it today! Get your Bible and select a verse or two, or start with one holy name. Sing it, chant it, worship God with it. Try it for 10 to 20 minutes. Then sit quietly for another 10 minutes or so. During this time love God with all your heart, soul, and mind. By the why, this is another form of Christian meditation. We'd love to hear from you. Post your comments below. We love you and we are praying for you.