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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.

The Theology of Jazz Prayer – by Dr. Barbara A. Holmes

The theology of jazz is a blue note unsung

 It is the plea

To let there be

Some light, some dark, some love

It is the synchronicity of movements

Cause the walls do fall

And the poor do rise

And the theology of jazz reminds us

To breathe as we struggle

To remember the fallen

To rise on impossibilities

I wish it was otherwise

But it’s the only way

To break injustice once and for all


The theology of jazz is the theme song of

The big mama’s and other mothers

Who wouldn’t take nuthin for the journey now

And the poppas, and daddys who work

Extra shifts so that we can rise


The theology of jazz is a Story


It’s the remnants of all that is good

And all that is broken

And all that we don’t understand


I hope you know,

It’s all up to us

I know it can be confusing because

The translation is simultaneous

It’s a secret don’t tell anybody

The revolution will not be televised

It will be blown through a saxophone

Hear and be healed.

©Dr. Barbara A. Holmes

 United Theological Seminary of the Twin Cities

“We Have Faith” is now available for sale!

As of May 27, 2012 the PEW Music debut album “We Have Faith” featuring Sarah Keller is available as a digital download from iTunes and Spotify as well as available for streaming service though Facebook using the Spotify app.

We’re happy to say that this is just the beginning of a new era for PEW Music. Stay connected for more updates and releases!


Hello!  This is the first post on the new P.E.W. Music site! Just FYI P.E.W. Music was started in 1995 by Tom Bierer and Sarah Keller primarily for the promotion of Sarah’s first recording project “We Have Faith” in which she performed songs that I have written.  For the past 17 years I (Tom Bierer ) have been maintaining P.E.W. Music in order to give people access to my song writing talents. This new website is here to continue that access.

Since “We Have Faith” was released in 1995 I have continued to write and have additional material I am able to share with those who are seeking new worship music or music bearing some aspect of Christian faith. Please take a look at the Demos page to listen to my tunes some of which are new, some are old, and some are new recordings of old songs. You’ll be able to purchase digital copies of “We Have Faith” on May 27th, 2011 on iTunes and Spotify and physical copies will be pressed as soon as they are demanded!

"We Have Faith"

"We Have Faith" Sarah Keller