(A VISION FOR CHRISTIAN SONG, by Ken Bible; p.74)
Unchain Our Hymns!
If hymns are important, they are too important to limit to an hour a week on Sunday. If hymns
can nurture our personal relationship with God—and they can!—then why not take them beyond
our worship services?
Hymns need to spill out of the sanctuary into our daily lives. Hymns can enrich our devotional
practice and nourish prayer. Hymns need to go wherever prayer goes.
Paul and Silas had had a difficult day. A good deed got them attacked by an angry crowd,
dragged before a magistrate, stripped and beaten and then thrown into prison with their feet in
the stocks. So what were they doing at midnight? Moaning in pain? Complaining about
injustice? Feeling sorry for themselves? They were praying aloud and singing hymns! No piano
or organ. No band. No recordings. Just two believers, sitting in the midst of suffering, darkness,
and injustice and singing hymns. Read the whole story in Acts 16:16-40 and find how it all
A similar story comes to us from the 18th century. Crossing the Atlantic, the ship in which John
Wesley was sailing was caught in a storm. Though an Anglican priest, he was terrified, afraid for
his life. While having his crisis of faith, he heard a group of German Moravian believers calmly
singing their hymns. The experience had such a profound effect on him that it would change his
In both cases, hymns were a natural, deeply personal expression of the believers’ faith. They
bubbled to the surface in life’s most difficult hour. The hymns gave them a way to mentally and