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Weekly Worship Bulletin Article
November 16, 2014
By Delores Thomas
5 Ways to Pray the Hymnal
Hymns and hymnals are disappearing from many churches nowadays. But hymns will always be an integral, daily part of my life due to my habit of using the hymnal as an aid to prayer.
Praying the hymnal is simple. It takes no practice and little preparation, yet it’s a singularly enriching habit. It will help you pray when you don’t know what to pray. It will help you express the deepest and highest longings of your heart in ways you may never have experienced otherwise.
Just a few simple suggestions will get you started in the practice of praying the hymnal.
· Speak the hymn instead of singing it. This helps it become more of a prayer than a piece of music. Choose hymns that are prayers themselves, hymns that speak directly to God.
· Adapt the hymn’s wording to make it more personal or applicable to you. Change the “thees” & “thines” to “you” & “yours” and “our” & “us” to “my” & “me”.
· Focus your heart and mind on what the hymn is saying.
It does take concentration but forget the line breaks and rhymes and focus on what the words are saying.
· Feel free to amplify or meditate on specific lines or words in the hymn. Praying a hymn can be just the beginning of prayer if you give yourself permission to dig deeper into the sentiment the hymn has helped you express.
· Pay special attention to hymns that rephrase Scripture.
Many hymns are based on Scripture, but some are Scripture in verse. Add your own flourishes to these suggestions and your praying will soon be music to God’s ears.
Adapted from an article by Bob Hostetler in Oct 2014 Guidepost Magazine
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