I work with a ministry in Tucson that serves to transform our community by helping unify and mobilize followers of Christ. We believe prayer is the catalyst for transformation, so our hope is to collaborate with local churches on building a culture of prayer in our city. As we’ve been strategizing together how to make that happen, we’ve decided that one of our greatest tools for shaping and advancing culture is music. This conviction gave birth to City Psalms – a project of 4Tucson that connects songwriters and worship leaders from a variety of congregations across Tucson to write and share songs of prayer for our city. Our hope is to stir hearts toward greater prayer for our community. We’re convinced that if local churches were writing, sharing, and singing together songs a prayer written specifically for Tucson, we would greatly impact our city… and here are five reasons why:
Prayer movements are vital to community transformation
Charles Grandison Finney, a prominent revival preacher during the Second Great Awakening, said, “Prayer is in a chain of causes which lead to revival, and is a cause which is as important as the proclamation of truth.” I challenge you to search through all of the stories of great community transformations in human history and find any that did not involve a major prayer movement. They have consistently been the catalyst for revival. And prayer is a key condition in God’s promise to restore a nation’s land (2 Chron. 7:14).
Genuine prayer leads to action
We’ve found that one of the best ways to engage people in service is to challenge them to commit to praying over a specific area of our community on a consistent basis. People care more about the things they pray for. Their hearts become invested in the success of others and their eyes become more open to the opportunities available to contribute to that success.
Music and songs of prayer influence hearts and minds
A person might choose to listen to a sermon once, maybe twice if the message is really powerful. That same person might listen to a single song a hundred times. And that person might hum that tune while filing papers at work or shooting hoops at the park. Music has the power to sink a melody deep into a person’s heart and play a lyric over and over again in their mind. Listening to, and singing, songs of prayer can stir us to pray more. As the songs reflect on the city, our hearts turn there, also.
Corporate singing is a practical picture of unity. It’s the literal illustration of the “singing off the same sheet of music” metaphor. It’s hard to find a better example of the unified Body of Christ – one song, many instruments joining together. Our weekend worship services offer great opportunities see this unity develop as the music taps into our collective minds, our passions, our attitudes, and our emotions together all at once. And there’s an even greater sense of unity among the broader Body of Christ when congregations are able to join in the same songs of prayer for their city from their various locations.
Music casts vision
Historically, music has been used to stoke courage, promote hope, and unite communities. It’s also served as the fire and fuel for revolutions. Biblically, music has been used to remind people how God moved in their past, to encourage them with the character and nature of God, and to offer intercession on behalf of their future. Music has proven to be a powerful force for casting a vision of where society will be several years from now.