Releasing the Song of the Lord
by Pastor Richard G. Erickson
My wife, Barb, was immobilized by painful muscular trouble. We had prayed for her healing and consulted the doctor, too. Nothing. Then I began to sense that I should sing over Barb. The idea seemed kind of weird; the thought of just singing a spontaneous prayer over someone was a new idea.
At a worship conference some weeks later, I felt particularly drawn to a workshop entitled, “Releasing the Song of the Lord.” The facilitator taught what he called “prophetic singing” and then gave a demonstration. (Since then, I found Mike Bickle’s book, Growing in the Prophetic, which has a chapter on this practice.). As the pianist played simple chord progressions, the leader released the message that was in his heart as a free-form song. We sensed a special presence of the Holy Spirit. When he called for volunteers to try what he had just modeled, I decided to try it. Soon my wife Barb was by my side. As I joined several others in laying hands on Barb, I released my voice to sing forth the petitions of my heart. A mighty surge of spiritual compassion welled up within me as I gave voice to pleadings in the Spirit for her healing. It was the song of my heart, and it was the song of the Spirit, like the melody line and its accompanying harmony. As the days went by, Barb was soon better, and I had learned something new in the Lord.
This experience set me on a search for Biblical evidence. Exodus 15 details Miriam and Moses’ mighty song in response to God’s great deliverance from Egypt. “Who is like you-majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?” Deborah’s song in Judges 5 is another example, as is David’s song in II Samuel 22. Perhaps each of these originated as just the simple breaking forth of the song of the Lord. Someone, either the author or the hearers, recognized the anointing and knew the song must be captured and preserved. The prophetic singer released the song as a gift to the Lord or as a gift from the Lord, and the hearers knew it was full of God. Isaiah records the angels’ worship in chapter six. We look upon the Psalms as standardized poetry or hymnody, but many may have begun as the inspired song of the heart.
A few weeks ago the Lord dropped another Old Testament scripture into my Spirit: Zephaniah 3:17. “The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save, He will take delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” Notice in this scripture that it is the Lord Himself who is the singer. His song tells us what He knows about us and what He wants us to know about Him and about our life. In releasing the song of the heart, He who indwells us sings His song in us. So when we sing over someone else, graced by and led of the Spirit, it is the Lord singing over him or her. Essentially, we give the Holy Spirit a singing voice, ours, to express God’s happiness with our brother or sister in the Lord. We simply turn a spiritual ear to the voice of the Spirit, and without knowing how it will emerge, we let the Spirit be in charge of shaping the song and of accomplishing God’s purpose.
There is power in releasing this song of the Lord because music is about expressing the holy energy that resides in one’s inner life. Music has the ability to unlock the heart and release what is within. It gives expression to the deepest feelings, cries, and yearnings of our lives. Have you ever been listening to music and been surprised by emotion-a tear that appears in your eye, a surge of feeling? It is because it has touched a deep place within you. These capacities are there within us, but often they lie asleep because we have not nurtured that capacity of our soul. Men, especially, have been consistently conditioned to suppress that aspect of humanness. Some have been shushed and even shamed into inhibition. This may be partly why men are less free to sing and release the song in their hearts.
The Holy Spirit is the essence of God’s passion. Fire, wind, and new wine, prominent Biblical metaphors of the Holy Spirit, each describe the affective intensity alive in the heart of our Omnipotent God. Created in His image, our souls, too, are capable of expressing it. As we experience healing in our hearts, we become more spiritually awake and responsive. Our hearts know that there is a loving God and that there is something within us just waiting to be awakened by His embrace.
The healing of our hearts has much to do with the releasing of the New Song. In Psalm 40 David speaks of being rescued from the pit, having his feet set upon a rock, and receiving a new song in his mouth, a song of praise to God. The new song is present because of a new experience of God’s goodness, a new moving of the Spirit, a new healing of the heart that releases its voice to again sing. Old songs are great, too, but the Lord wants us to receive a new song, a new revelation, a new freedom.
Some weeks ago, in making a hospital call, I felt led to sing Psalm 16 over a patient who commented on how “hot” she felt as I sang and prayed. I have released the song of the Lord over teen-agers preparing for confirmation, over friends in difficult circumstances, and over a brother whose heart is always hungry to hear a word from the Lord. Occasionally at a prayer meeting that we regularly attend, I am led to sing a scripture or just a message that is welling up in my heart. The other day one of the other intercessors confirmed how much she senses God’s presence when that happens.
“O Heavenly Singer, release your Holy passion now. By your mighty yearnings, awaken our sleeping passion. Release the cry of the heart. Stir up the song in the heart. Let your love call us from the long winter of inner paralysis to lift up the voice long stilled. Heavenly Dove, with Your gracious wings fan the embers of holy desire. Heal our song, O Lord. We will sing softly until we can sing loudly; we will sing weakly until we can sing strongly; we will sing with tears until we can sing with shouts; we will sing our mourning as well as our rejoicing; we will listen to your heart and sing your mighty song-a new song.
Dick serves as an associate pastor at North Heights Lutheran Church concentrating on marriage ministry. The Erickson’s served for nine years as missionary educators in Ecuador. Dick has also had assignments with the Lutheran Evangelistic Movement, the Lay Ministry Training Center, and Brooklyn Park Lutheran Church. Dick and Barb have four children and three grandchildren.