"I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live: I will sing praise to my God while I have my being." - Psalm 104:33
"I will sing unto the Lord, because he hath dealt bountifully with me." - Psalm 13:6
"O sing unto the Lord a new song: sing unto the Lord, all the earth. For the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised: he is to be feared above all gods." - Psalm 96:1&4
Do you have hymn books in your home? Do you use them? It's amazing to me how many times singing to the Lord is mentioned in the Bible. God obviously loves to hear songs of praise; yet, so many of us think that singing is only to be done in the church house.
Our family has several hymnbooks. Eric and I were not raised singing in the home, so it was a bit awkward beginning this tradition several years ago. But, I'm so glad my husband did as now our children look forward to the hymnbooks coming out. No, we're not exactly ready to buy a bus and go on tour. However, I do believe our songs drifting upwards toward heaven are sweet to the ears of our Lord.
A couple of years ago, I realized that our children didn't seem to know some of the most commonly sung hymns. We'd open to a hymn such as "The Old Rugged Cross" and they would flounder. It's difficult enough to read the words in a hymnal, but when they don't even know the tune...well, just grab your ear-plugs!
The remedy: most Monday mornings, when the children and I sat down to do our morning Bible reading, I would pick out three common hymns. We would then sing those three songs all week long. Monday would be pretty pathetic, but, by Wednesday or Thursday, all the children were singing the songs with confidence. After a couple of years of this, it is rare that they don't know a song when it's sung in church.
Now that they know so many hymns, it is the children who most often pick out the songs on Monday morning. Sometimes, one of the children has learned a new hymn in Bible class or in a piano book and are anxious to share it with everyone else. Our pastor also loves to teach new hymns to the congregation, so we often learn it as a family the following week. Our repertoire is constantly increasing.
What about the little ones who cannot even read? Some times, they have heard the song so often, that they can, at least, sing the chorus with us. Desiring to make sure they are included in the worship, we do sing "Sunday School" songs, also. When our three daily songs are finished, we take requests from the three non-readers in the group. "Only a Boy Named David," "Deep and Wide," and "The B-I-B-L-E" are favorites. Some nights, we skip out on the hymnal and just sing as many of the "children's" songs as we can remember. Little ones who learn to enjoy singing, will become young people and adults who enjoy worshiping the Lord in song.
If you've never sung together as a family, begin this week. As it was for us, it may feel awkward. But, just like it has for our family, it is likely to become a cherished tradition that brings you all closer to the Lord.
(By the way, a note to anyone who stays with us for a couple of days - you rarely hear us do this because, like I said, our singing may be sweet to the Lord, but it may be too much for human ears to take!)