So I’ve come up with some techniques to help me praise God better when we sing at church. Maybe they can help you too:
1) Picture yourself as an ant in the carpet of God’s house. You become much less self conscious, and you feel small. . . which is good for praising someone big.
2) Observe your heart. I used to try to force myself to think what i should be thinking to praise God better. Didn’t work very well. Then i started just observing how i felt. it worked surprisingly better. I don’t know why but i usually feel the root of my emotion as living in a fist-sized, bean-shaped thing in my chest about where my heart is. By focusing on it I can usually tell if I’m joy-filled, or guilty, or sad, whereas before i couldn’t ‘feel’ anything because I was too cerebral. Then, when I recognize my emotions, i remind myself that God is the answer to them. If i am sad, he is ultimately the one that will take away my sadness. He will forgive my guilt. He is the giver of joy. And then I can praise better. I’ve moved from my sterile thoughts to my engaged heart.
3) I recently started picturing that little bean shaped bag of my emotions emptying as i sang. Like all my gritty dirt was being sucked up by God as my voice rose to him. I tried that for a week or two, (weeks in which I happened to be fairly victorious in my battles with sin) and the next week i noticed something strange. When i tried to observe my heart again, suddenly i got the image that that little bean shaped bag was being splashed clean and filled with clean, fresh water. After the dirt had been sung out, living water was being sung back into it.
4) I’ve found that when i can hear my voice singing, i start to try to make it sound good for others. Add some vibrato. . . impress myself with some harmonizing. I think something that might be better is if i did my best to make my voice blend in to the crowd, and enjoy participating as a family praising God, not a soloist. It’s beautiful when we realize our singing is a team sport.
5) Have you ever been to a concert where you’re dancing and singing at the top of your lungs. It’s funny how some of the songs we belt it out to, we don’t really know what they mean, or for which cause we are lifting our voice. But singing at church, we are singing for our multi-faceted master, the prototype of what we will be, the hero of our story, the captain of our army, our ancient, loving father. Now that’s a cause and a person worth dancing for.