Drawing Closer to God through Music
“We get nearer to the Lord through music than perhaps through any other thing except prayer.” - President J. Reuben Clark Jr.
Music is a gift from our Heavenly Father and an important part of gospel worship. Scriptures point to the importance of music in a number of passages, including Psalm 100:2, which reads, “Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.” The Book of Mormon prophet Alma spoke to his people in Alma 5:26, asking, “And now behold, I say unto you, my brethren, if ye have experienced a change of heart, and if ye have felt to sing the song of redeeming love, I would ask, can ye feel so now?”
As the world continues to drift further into darkness, we can be a shining light unto the world. Music can be one of the most powerful tools to combat opposition and negativity and prepare our minds to receive the Spirit.
Here are eight benefits we can obtain as we draw closer to God through music:
- Elder Dallin H. Oaks said, “Sacred music has a unique capacity to communicate our feelings of love for the Lord.”
- In a modern-day revelation directed to Emma Smith, regarding the music of the Church, the Lord revealed, “For my soul delighteth in the song of the heart; yea, the song of the righteous is a prayer unto me, and it shall be answered with a blessing upon their heads” (D&C 25:12).
- President James E. Faust said: “Our sacrament meetings should be worshipful and healing, restoring those who attend to spiritual soundness. Part of this healing process occurs as we worship through music and song. Singing our beautiful, worshipful hymns is food for our souls. We become of one heart and one mind when we sing praises to the Lord.”
- “Hymns play an essential role in spirituality, revelation, and conversion. … Nourishing hymns create an atmosphere that invites the Spirit, which leads us to conversion.” —Elder Jay E. Jensen
- President Boyd K. Packer instructed: “If you can control your thoughts, you can overcome habits, even degrading personal habits. If you can learn to master them you will have a happy life.” He suggested memorizing a favorite hymn as an “emergency channel” so that when unworthy thoughts enter our minds, we can remember the music, which will cause the unworthy thoughts to “slip shamefully away.”
- The second verse of “I Need Thee Every Hour” reads: “I need thee ev’ry hour; stay thou nearby. Temptations lose their pow’r when thou art nigh.” When we are close to the Lord, which can occur through uplifting music, we can overcome temptations.
- Prelude music played by an organist prior to a Sunday meeting can also set the tone for gospel instruction. “An organist who has the sensitivity to quietly play prelude music from the hymnbook tempers our feelings and causes us to go over in our minds the lyrics which teach the peaceable things of the kingdom. If we will listen, they are teaching the gospel, for the hymns of the Restoration are, in fact, a course in doctrine!” said President Boyd K. Packer.
- The scriptures tell us what happened after the Savior administered the sacrament to His Apostles: “And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives” (Matthew 26:30). The singing of a hymn prepared the hearts of Jesus and His Apostles for the Atonement that was to come.
- “Some of the greatest sermons that have ever been preached were preached by the singing of a song.” —President Spencer W. Kimball
- President Thomas S. Monson said: “Music can help you draw closer to your Heavenly Father. It can be used to educate, edify, inspire, and unite.”
- “When music is reverently presented, it can be akin to revelation. At times, I think, it cannot be separated from the voice of the Lord, the quiet, still voice of the Spirit.” —President Boyd K. Packer
- W. Herbert Klopfer of the Church’s Music and Cultural Arts Division said: “As we sing, the Spirit testifies of the Savior’s divinity and other eternal principles. And no matter how well they are sung or by whom, the hymns have power to strengthen and inspire us as we use them, lifting us to higher spiritual ground.”
- “Hymns can lift our spirits, give us courage, and move us to righteous action.” —First Presidency Preface to Hymns
- “Music has a profound effect on your mind, spirit, and behavior.” —For the Strength of Youth
Closer Family Relationships
- “Music has boundless powers for moving families toward greater spirituality and devotion to the gospel.” —First Presidency Preface to Hymns
- “We can fill our homes with the sound of worthy music as we sing together from the hymnbook and the Children’s Songbook. ” — Elder Robert D. Hales
More Meaningful Worship
- In a 1994 general conference talk, Elder Dallin H. Oaks said this on worshipping through music: “Through the miracle of sacred music, the Spirit of the Lord descended upon us, and we were made ready for gospel instruction and worship.”
- Eric D. Huntsman, who is a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, wrote about the importance of worshipping through music, saying, “Regardless of musical ability, each of us is encouraged by the First Presidency to worship by singing the hymns, and if we do so by concentrating and setting aside outside influences and concerns, we can encounter the Lord in a powerful way.”
- “How incomplete and empty sacrament meetings would be without hymns of worship. Sacred among all hymns are those that capture the sacrifice and the shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ and His infinite Atonement.” —Elder Jay E. Jensen
Here are some videos that will help draw you closer to God.