Saint Augustine once said, “He who sings, prays twice.” This sentiment is true for the lined hymn tradition. When experiencing this tradition—and settling into the atmosphere that often accompanies this tradition—one cannot help but feel as if those who are gathered are in fact praying, the words reaching God as a cry of God’s people. Moaning and humming are significant components of the lined-hymn tradition. When a lined hymn is finished and the congregation has reached the end of the words, the congregation often continues the tune by humming and occasionally crying, “Lord, Lord.” When singing the tunes of lined hymns, we pray with “groans too deep for words.”
—Safiyah Fosua, Robert McMichael III, and Cynthia A. Wilson, Reflect, Reclaim, Rejoice: Preserving the Gift of Black Sacred Music (Discipleship Resources, 2015)
What hymns help you “pray twice”?
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with groanings too deep for words.
—Romans 8:26 (NRSV)
Prayer for the Week
Bread of heaven, feed me until I want no more. Help me to understand that without you, it is impossible to survive in this world and its experiences. Thank you for being present with me in all circumstances. Amen.
Submit your prayer to The Upper Room.
Prayer is one of the best ways to place yourself in God’s presence and deepen your spiritual life, so we offer this free downloadable resource Prayer Practices for Disciples as a gift to you in honor of The Upper Room Chapel’s 70th Anniversary. Download and learn more about the resource here.
(Courtesy of Vanderbilt Divinity Library)
Looking for lectionary-based resources? Learn more about The Upper Room Disciplines.