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Songs of Praise

“Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!” Psalm 95: 2.

By Kirk Niles

Of all the ways we could come into His presence, God chose praise. He chose music. He prefers singing and thanksgiving. Why? Well, why not!


May I offer some small insight as I see it, into why perhaps music. I have worn the hats of music therapist, worship leader, music director, music educator, bandleader, guitarist (minstrel) and singer/song writer (psalmist). I see the power of music to heal people in their emotions, their intellect, their physical body, and in their spiritual being. I see the power of music bring perfect strangers, family members, enemies and unlikely social groups together.

Musicologists believe that music is a universal phenomenon. All cultures - whether existent or not - have music within their cultural practices. If musical content were totally removed from our daily lives, we'd be miserable, empty, bored, angry, unproductive - to say the least. I was taught that music within the church was/is essentially for worship of God. Well, I think its much more than that.

Music cues us to the start of services. Music cues us to conform to societal rules; for example, the national anthem prompts us to stand giving allegiance to our flag and all it represents. Music inspires us to patriotism. Music appeals to our inner creativity. Music helps us bond with others - for example, at a basketball or baseball game. Music distracts us from pain, from fears, from focusing the mundane (like driving/traveling for miles & miles across country). Music can help us relax from our stresses. Music can help us work more efficiently. Music paired with visuals conveys blatant as well as subtle messages in ads and film. These are certainly not exhaustive examples but I hope I give you a sufficient picture. If a picture paints a thousand words, then music probably portrays ten thousand portraits.

So, given the role music plays in our lives, isn’t it natural of our heavenly Father to want us to come through this medium into His presence? Through songs of praise we can re-focus our gaze on the problem-solver not the problems. We can make our hearts glad not continue being sad.