By Andrew Goldstein, Steward for Music
“[Prayer] is a cry of gratitude and love in the midst of trial as well as joy.” –St. Therese Lisieux
As I write this, the news is still fresh of the archdiocese asking us to pause congregational singing and choral ensembles at Mass. Music is such a mysterious and powerful tool that God gives us to break our own noise and to enter into time with Him. When we can’t sing together, it’s easy to let our hearts feel heavy. Nevertheless, I’m deciding to root this time in joy, and continue to use music to unite our parish in prayer and in relationship with the Lord.
Over the coming weeks and months — especially while we cannot sing — I’ll be exploring new ways for us all to use music to grow deeper into a relationship with God.
Today, I want to focus on a few simple things that you can do to incorporate sung prayer into your daily life. For many, suddenly picking up an instrument and singing hymns together as a family is a tough habit to begin forming, so I want to encourage you with smaller steps.
Take a moment and consider the things that you already do each day. For instance, review your morning routine; perhaps after you wake up, you say a quick prayer, eat together as a family, wash up, and hop into a car to head to work.
In that busy hour that begins the day, there are multitudes of opportunities to incorporate sung prayer. After you wake up, sing or hum the refrain of Matt Maher’s “Lord I Need You”. What a perfect prayer to root yourself in the Lord as you begin your day: (See images at right)
When you sit down at the table to eat breakfast, try singing the prayer of Grace. You can make it as simple as the example below, which is just two notes. Sing the first two words of The Beatles’ “Hey Jude” as a quick trick to find the two musical notes that make up the notes in this prayer. The interval of “Hey Jude” is the same here:
Finally, much like we have anthems that signal and define our nation, I encourage you to find a praise song, chant, or hymn that serves as an anthem for your home. Singing this tune together—especially on important occasions like feasts, birthdays, anniversaries, etc.—can be another simple tool to use sung prayer to deepen your relationship with the Lord.
Let me know how this all goes, and please use me as a resource to help you and your family continue to sing in your Domestic churches. I can be reached at the parish office, or preferably via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.