Month: February 2017

Improvisational Prayer Includes Silence.

Did you ever notice that often when a prayer is being shared, if it is something from deep within and carries an element of vulnerability it is followed naturally by pause and silence. When I have shared my melodies at church I am aware of the power of silence. There should be no rush to move to the next nervous statement if the previous was worth playing at all. The brief moment of reflection is of more significance than the melody itself.  We have all spoken the Our Father at break neck speed without much thought.  The rote prayers we have learned are prone to this level of thoughtlessness.  Often hymns can be lead in the same manner.  Routine pronoucements with little or no meaning.  If prayer is truely conversation with God, then why do we talk to Him as though he is not truely here with us right now.

Our musical prayer improvisations challenge us to play conversationally.  We need to pause and ponder the thoughts and melodies concieved within us.  Allow them to be filtered by the Holy Spirits gift of discernment so to remain honest before God our Heavenly Father.

Jazz Improvisation as Prayer

Sometimes in the course of a practice session I have taken the opportunity to improvise a melody that I like to think is prayerful or somehow expresses my love for God. I tend to imagine that God is a musician as well and can understand my non-verbal language and my need to express myself in this way.  Words are not always easy to find, but I can offer up a melody as an expression of my gratitude for being alive and blessed. If prayer is meant to be satisfying, I’ve found that making the attempt to play my prayer has produced a good deal of satisfaction and a sense of connection and shared blessing.  Who know’s maybe it is more like playing a duet than a solo.