A small thing that makes a big difference is…to sing. Edmund Clarence Stedman, a late nineteenth century poet, said, “Faith and joy are the ascensive forces of song.” It doesn’t matter what kind of voice you have as long as you can make a noise. Heartfelt singing lifts depression, reduces stress and anger, instills gratefulness and joy, unscrambles jumbled thoughts and and desires into prayers, exercises your lungs, improves circulation, decreases muscle tension, tones your facial muscles, releases pain relieving endorphins, improves your immune system and, best of all, when worshipful, invites God into your circumstances.
Singing with a group adds even more benefits. It is a powerful experience to abandon “self” for the immersion into a corporate body of believers for unifying worship in which God’s very presence is felt.
Ps. 147:1 says, “Praise the Lord! For it is good to sing praises to our God; for it is pleasant and a song of praise is fitting.” Ps. 104:12 says, “Beside them the birds of the heavens dwell; they sing among the branches.” Prisoners in deplorable conditions have found joy from hearing a bird sing outside their cell each morning. Others have gained peace from the recollection of a song. As Paul and Silas prayed and sang while in prison, God sent an earthquake to break the bonds of all the prisoners and then used Paul and Silas to bring them and the jailer to heart freedom. When you choose joy in your trials and sing praises, you might just witness the unexpected and miraculous.
As Jesus was making His triumphal entry into Jerusalem, his disciples broke out in joyful praises of God. When the Pharisees told Jesus to rebuke them, He replied, “I tell you, if they were to keep quiet, the stones would cry out!” Like some today, the Pharisees were impervious both to the contagiousness of joy, and, of far worse consequence, to the humble insight that would recognize Jesus as Savior and Lord.
During many of the early years of raising our family, we attended a home church which employed an hour of A Capella worship each Sunday before communion. The men and boys called out the songs of choice for their families, and my kids nearly always chose “The Trees of the Field Will Clap Their Hands”. Breathtaking imagery is harnessed in the visualization of merging with nature in majestic praises.
For me, singing propels faith, joy, thankfulness, love, hope, and peace into prominence as I go about my daily chores, and it articulates heart prayers. What small thing makes a big difference in your life?