I thought about fitting this into one of the pet peeve discussions, but I'd like a little more feedback on it. To be frank, I don't like it.
On the one hand, it's personal preference. I'm fairly ADD and when someone is playing, I start thinking about the sound of the instrument, any mistakes made, what chords are being played (especially if it's guitar and it's something I might learn) and maybe even getting into the song. It's nearly hopeless for me to pray while a "performance" is going on.
On the other hand, it seems like an emotional manipulation to me. Yeah, I hear the stuff about setting a mood or creating an atmosphere of worship, but how is that not merely stirring up emotions that can masquerade as a spiritual connection? Can't God speak to us with out a musical conduit?
There have been times when I've been listening to a song and feel like God was saying something to me through it. It was often followed by a rush of emotion at the thought of the Eternal Father, Creator of the Universe addressing me and my current situation. But I think we should not create conditions that encourage purely emotional reactions which distract from interaction with God.
My opinion and I realize that there are many who completely disagree with me. I'll state right now that they're opinion is just as valid as mine. Maybe one of you can shed some light on this that will be beneficial to me. BTW, if this topic has been discussed before, please direct me to that one.
I believe there is a time for both... If you follow the leading of the spirit.. for the most part we play music.. To me is easier to pray and worship... but there are also times that need to be silent and wait upon the Lord... and in those time the spirit just shows up in time.... Sometimes it's hard to feel out what to do... music is a key part to the service forsure.... If the people respond to the praise and worship.. they get their hearts right where they need to be to recieve the word that the pastor has been given of God... but if your praise and worship is not in tune with God... and maybe it's not even that.. alot of times the people in the congegation is not in tune.... then it makes it hard to receive the word of God!! I believe so much in that saying.. Music can make or break a service! it so so so very important to be in tune with God and HIS leading.. not our own!
I can totally agree with what you're saying. Oddly enough the job usually falls to me to play something during prayer. One things I like about playing music during prayer is because we're big alter prayer people it makes it a little less awkward for people to come forward. They don't feel like everyone is watching them but looking at the stage. Though that probably sparks quite a few questions theological and person I think it takes the pressure off people. Usually for those times we have one of the singers and one guitarist on stage, or one guitarist playing fingerstyle quietly.
Wow! So many good comments.
1.) The main thing is that when you look at prayer and music historicly in the church you dont have one without the other.
I personaly love music when I pray. It offers insperation and guidance at times. And when it is really loud you cant hear other people praying. I think that music is not a distraction but a it helps me focus.
2.) To adress the issue of music" merely stirring up emotions" OF Course It Does!!!. To try and deny it is a to be in some sort of denial. The issue is not stirring up emotions, but are you doing it to elicit a responce for any other reason other than bringing glory to God. Music by its supernatural design moves people people on a spirital and emotional level.
3.) The issue is not weather to play or not to play during prayer but WHEN to play. Is it appropriate to play during a prayer.
Sometimes it is, and other times not so much.
However most of the time I belive there should be music during prayer. :-)
"On the other hand, it seems like an emotional manipulation to me."
I dare say that your statement says more about you than it does the intentions of those praying and playing the music... If you make that argument, you must also be open to the argument that silence during prayer, or dimming the lights, or turning the lights all the way up, etc. is also emotional manipulation.
BTW, I've also heard Bishop Garlington live, and although I'm not at all used to his type of worship culture, it was probably one of the coolest things ever.
We used to have a pastor that never got music for prayer. Even a few guitar chords made him go crazy. He'd get real in to it, and by the end of his 15-20 minutes tirade, the congregation had long glazed over and the service/spirit had derailed. We made the decision as a worship team to not play music when he prayed.
Sometimes he'd force it and ask us to play a song again. One service he asked to play I Am Free 3 times in a row. There was nothing we could do, we were all held hostage there on stage. And the third time he made up a dance to go along with it. Oh yes, I said dance.
I understand your concerns though. I did some reading up on the use of music during meditation and hypnosis, and it sure led to a lot of soul searching on my part. Even though I personally feel the power of worship musicians is severely exagerated, it's still a lot of power. And means a corresponding responsibility...