A friend recently gifted me with a guitar. He wasn’t playing it and wanted to get it to someone who would play it. But I’m sure there’s something wrong with it. I took it to Woodsy’s. I bought new strings. I borrowed an amp of a musician in the church. But there’s definitely something wrong with it.
Anytime I go to play a song, it sounds nothing like the song I’m trying to play. It has to be the guitar right? Can’t be the operator error.
I am having a lot of fun making noise with the guitar and it’s making me admire the training and skill Cathy, the Gathering Band, and all our musicians in the church bring us. Music is magic. People figured out how to tune and do note progressions and how to layer sound together. And they do all this and SING at the same time. I mean, how do they do it?!
Rock legend Tom Waites stated, “Music is just counting and changing air pressure, but look what it can do in us.” I am learning the basics and trying to learn and tuning myself to the ways of the guitar. It makes me reflect on my prayer life. I have spent a lot of time tuning myself to God. Trying to act as Jesus did. Trying to find where the Spirit is moving in my life. Prayer is like tuning the strings of a guitar to the key of God. Whatever we play or pray will be acceptable to God. The Psalm says to “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord” it says nothing about being in key or it sounding good. Or refined.
I’ve heard from many folks who don’t know how to pray or are unsure of where to start. Some think that there is a right way to pray and that they’re doing it wrong. I can assure you, that if you’re spending time in prayer, it’s a good thing. Like music, there are many genres of prayer, all of which can be found in the Psalms. Just pray through the Psalms. Pay attention to the emotions and style of the psalm. There are psalms of praise, lament, anger, sadness, uncertainty, and confusion. Some psalms even rage and doubt God’s love for us.
You can also pray very abstractly. The first taste of a good cup of coffee or tea? Offer up that feeling to God with a spirit of gratitude. That feeling of a warm summer day, as you’re wrapped in warmth and a breeze hits you in the back? Offer that feeling in prayer. No words required! That’s another way to pray.
I’m trying to spend 10 minutes a day on the guitar. I’m treating it like an act of prayer as it’s widening my sense of the talent and giftedness of all the musicians I know and admire. It connects me to my neighbor, I’m noticing more in God’s world, and I have more gratitude in my life. If that’s not an act of prayer, I don’t know what is.
Praying is simply noticing and thinking of God and neighbor, but look what it can do in us! Thanks be to God. Amen.