The Power of Music

Written by Devon Bowman

When you think about music what comes to mind? Do you feel a particular feeling or do you hear your favorite song? Does it take you back to a moment in time that made a lasting imprint? All of these reactions point to just how powerful music can be. 

We see the power of music all throughout our culture. We see music artists that are some of the biggest celebrities of the age. There are people who are willing to pay thousands of dollars just to simply experience their favorite songs. We even see this in nights of worship with popular worship leaders and bands. Thousands will come to hear Elevation, Bethel, or Kari Jobe. 

I believe the power of music does not just cover these large venues but is included in the smallest and most intimate moments of our lives. We see all throughout the Bible that music was and is an essential part of the Christian faith. The entire book of Psalms is songs that would be sung in worship to God. They recount the faithfulness of God to the people of Israel, the need of salvation from enemies, and so many more heartfelt declarations of our need for God. 

To me, one of the clearest representations of the power of music in the Bible is found in 1 Samuel when David played the harp for Saul. Saul was being tormented by an evil spirit that was causing him to struggle to sleep. This was a consequence of his disobedience to God. In the moment Saul in his desperation tried anything he could to find rest, rest was found in the skillful playing of David on the harp. The music was used to calm his torment. 

The skill that David had was not something that magically appeared or was only done in front of the King, but it was due to years of faithfulness on the part of David. He played in worship to the Lord as he was out in the fields tending his father’s sheep. It was out of the private devotion to God that his skill grew. It was the heart of worship that he had in the lowest that allowed him to praise in the greatest places. 

I have seen this over and over in the songwriting process. As we began to create and dream for the All My Days album I experienced this firsthand. Songwriting is an overflow from the heart. There is something about declaring the goodness and faithfulness of God in our lives. It is through music that we are free to express to God what he deserves. Music serves its greatest purpose when it is used to glorify God. 

Another story that displays just how powerful praise to God can be is found in the book The Insanity of God by Nik Ripken. The story of Dmitri, an imprisoned Russian pastor, and his faithfulness to praise God in prison is one of the most powerful I have heard. 
“For seventeen years in prison, every morning at daybreak, Dmitri would stand at attention by his bed. As was his custom, he would face the east, raise his arms in praise to God, and then he would sing a HeartSong to Jesus.” 

The other prisoners would laugh, curse, and jeer. “They’d bang metal cups against the iron bars in angry protest. They threw food and sometimes human waste to try to shut him up and extinguish the only true light shining in that dark place every morning at dawn” . 

One day, Dmitri found a full sheet of paper and a pencil in the prison yard. In his words, “I rushed back to my jail cell, and I wrote every Scripture reference, every Bible verse, every story, and every song I could recall.” He posted it on a damp pipe in his cell as an offering to the Lord. His jailer saw it, beat and punished him, and threatened him with execution. 

As jailors dragged him from his cell and down the corridor, “The strangest thing happened. Before they reached the door leading to the courtyard—before stepping out into the place of execution—fifteen hundred hardened criminals stood at attention by their beds. They faced the east and they began to sing . . . the HeartSong that they had heard Dmitri sing to Jesus every morning for all those years.” 

Shocked, his jailors released their hold and backed away from him. 

“Who are you?” one demanded. Dimitri straightened his back and stood as tall and as proud as he could. 

“I am a son of the Living God, and Jesus is His name!” The guards returned him to his cell and shortly afterward, he was released and returned to his family.

The story of Dimitri displays just how powerful music can be, especially when it is in the service and praise of the God of the universe.
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1 Comment

Kristy - October 16th, 2023 at 3:36pm

Thank you. Thank you for sharing about the power of Dimitri's heartsong. Praise the Lord