12 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.
A song is a wonderful kind of thing,
So lift up your voice and sing!
Just start a glad song, let it float, let it ring,
And lift up your voice and sing!
We shall make music to brighten the day;
Music will help us to lighten the way.
Lift up your voice! Lift up your voice!
Lift up your voice and sing!
1. Now we’ll sing with one accord,
For a prophet of the Lord,
Bringing forth his precious word,
Cheers the Saints as anciently.
When the world in darkness lay,
Lo! he sought the better way,
And he heard the Savior say,
“Go and prune my vineyard, son!”
2. And an angel surely then,
For a blessing unto men,
Brought the priesthood back again
In its ancient purity.
Even Joseph he inspired;
Yea, his heart he truly fired
With the light that he desired
For the work of righteousness.
3. And the Book of Mormon true,
With its cov’nant ever new,
For the Gentile and the Jew,
He translated sacredly.
God’s commandments to mankind,
For believing Saints designed,
And to bless the seeking mind,
Came to him from Jesus Christ.
4. Precious are the years to come,
While the righteous gather home
For the great millennium,
When they’ll rest in blessedness.
Prudent in this world of woes,
They will triumph o’er their foes,
While the realm of Zion grows
Purer for eternity.
This magnificent choir gives inspiring sermons. In fact, “some of the greatest sermons are preached by the singing of hymns.” My testimony and conversion to the restored gospel were strongly influenced by singing the hymns of Zion as a young boy. I grew up in the small town of Mapleton, Utah, and attended meetings in what is known today as the “old white church.” My 95-year-old mother still lives in Mapleton. When I visit her, I drive past the “old white church,” and a flood of sweet memories fills my mind. Among them is the converting power of the hymns we sang in priesthood, Sunday School, and sacrament meetings. My experiences were similar to that of President Hinckley when, as a deacon, he attended a stake priesthood meeting with his father. They sang “Praise to the Man.” Later he would say, “I had an impression that has never left that Joseph Smith was indeed a prophet of God.” 3 I believe that many of our Saints experience this again and again. Hymns play an essential role in spirituality, revelation, and conversion.
Hymns Invite the Spirit
Hymns are “an essential part of our church meetings. [They] invite the Spirit of the Lord.” 4 They often do this quicker than anything else we may do. President J. Reuben Clark Jr. said, “We get nearer to the Lord through music than perhaps through any other thing except prayer.” 5
Two missionaries teaching an older couple in their home in Peru were interrupted by the arrival of the couple’s son, his wife, and three children. The elders explained who they were and what they were doing. The son was suspicious of the missionaries, resulting in an awkward moment. The junior companion prayed silently, “Heavenly Father, what do we do?” The impression came to sing. They sang “I Am a Child of God.”6 The Spirit touched the hearts of this family of five. Instead of two converts, all seven became members, influenced initially by a hymn.
Music in Church meetings and classes should facilitate a spirit of worship, revelation, and testimony. For sacrament meetings, the bishopric or branch presidency is responsible to select or approve music. They ensure that the music, the words, and the musical instruments are sacred, dignified, and will promote worship and revelation. Music becomes a performance when it brings attention to itself. Years ago, I was responsible for the music in a meeting where a special musical number was a performance. It was a disappointment. The spirit of worship was diminished.
Hymns Invite Revelation
Hymns “create a feeling of reverence.” 7 The words reverence andrevelation are like twins who like each other’s company. When the Seventy and Presiding Bishopric are invited to meetings with the First Presidency and the Twelve, we are reminded to arrive early and reverently listen to prelude music. Doing so invites revelation and prepares us for the meeting.
President Packer taught that a member who softly plays “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!” 8
Hymns Invite Conversion
The hymns of the Restoration carry with them the spirit of conversion. They came as a result of sacrifice. Hymns like “Praise to the Man,” 9“Come, Come, Ye Saints,” 10 “Ye Elders of Israel,” 11 “We Thank Thee, O God, for a Prophet,” 12 “Redeemer of Israel,” 13 and many others reinforce the great truths of the Restoration—such as the divinity of the Father and the Son, the plan of redemption, revelation, latter-day scriptures, the gathering of Israel, the holy priesthood, and ordinances and covenants. These nourishing hymns create an atmosphere that invites the Spirit, which leads us to conversion.
How incomplete and empty sacrament meetings would be without hymns of worship. 14 Sacred among all hymns are those that capture the sacrifice and the shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ and His infinite Atonement.
My earliest memories of the healing power of the Savior are associated with sacrament hymns. This sentence is real to me: “I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me, confused at the grace that so fully he proffers me.” 15
My understanding of the doctrines of the Atonement is connected to the hymns. This verse is illustrative:
Teaching Children Hymns Begins at Home
Singing hymns and listening to appropriate music begin at home. The First Presidency has reminded us:
“Latter-day Saints should fill their homes with the sound of worthy music.
“… We hope the hymnbook will take a prominent place among the scriptures and other religious books in our homes. The hymns can bring families a spirit of beauty and peace and can inspire love and unity among family members.
“Teach your children to love the hymns. Sing them on the Sabbath, in [family] home evening, during scripture study, at prayer time. Sing as you work, as you play, and as you travel together. Sing hymns as lullabies to build faith and testimony in your young ones.” 17
Worship More Meaningfully through Hymns
Important lessons I have learned and seek to apply about hymns are:
- 1.Strive to be more punctual to meetings, sit quietly and listen to the prelude music, and experience reverence and revelation.
- 2.Exit meetings more reverently, allowing the postlude music to extend the spirit of the meeting.
- 3.Sing the hymns. I see some who have access to hymnals but do not sing.
- 4.Choose hymns appropriate to the meeting and messages.
- 5.Use hymns to introduce or to emphasize scriptures and gospel truths in lessons and classes.
- 6.Listen to the hymns more frequently in our homes, inviting the Spirit to prevail.
I pray that we may eliminate any inappropriate music from our lives and follow the counsel of the First Presidency: “Brothers and sisters, let us use the hymns to invite the Spirit of the Lord into our congregations, our homes, and our personal lives. Let us memorize and ponder them, recite and sing them, and partake of their spiritual nourishment. Know that the song of the righteous is a prayer unto our Father in Heaven, ‘and it shall be answered with a blessing upon [your] heads.’” 18 Of these truths I testify in the name of Jesus Christ, amen.
Testify of the power Hymns can have in many aspects of our life.
The most important building in our town was our ward meetinghouse. The chapel had an imposing, two-tiered, elevated stand. The stand was quite large, and the first raised portion had a table for the ward clerk at one end and a piano at the other end, and right in the center of this elevated area was the sacrament table.
Sacrament meetings were very special occasions. Everyone was expected to sing the sacrament hymn. Everyone did sing it. Children were trained not only to be reverent but to know some of the words of the most familiar sacrament songs.
I can still see Sister Ella Jack, who led the music, standing in full view between the sacrament table and the piano, as she would pause and look over the congregation to be sure that everyone had a hymnbook and was ready to sing. She gave special attention to see that the Aaronic Priesthood boys had songbooks.
We all sang. We were learning in our youth that to feel of the Spirit, we must experience a change in our hearts, and to be in harmony on the sacred occasion required our singing the sacrament hymns. As we personally sang the words, our souls were better prepared to understand the sacred ordinance.
At the Last Supper, the early Apostles joined the Savior in singing: “And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives” (Matt. 26:30). And as we sang each sacrament hymn, the words would be impressed upon our hearts because we had actually sung them. Heavenly thoughts come to your soul when you sing the heavenly music of the Church.
Testify of the power Hymns can have in many aspects of our life.
Music has always played an important role in my life. I enjoyed music as a child, listening to all sorts of music without even necessarily paying attention to the lyrics. As I have grown in the gospel, I have come to realize the sacred nature of the hymnbook.
The hymns found in the hymnbook have brought me peace many times and have helped me draw closer to my Heavenly Father. Whenever I am faced with a troubling situation, I sing a hymn. If friends lose a loved one, sometimes I sing to them or refer them to a hymn. As I conduct hymns insacrament meeting, I feel reverent, and the Spirit reminds me of my baptismal covenants and my desire to honor them.
I also like to ponder the words of the hymns. My scriptures are filled with marked verses of quotations found in these wonderful hymns. When I give a talk or prepare a lesson, I quote a hymn. When people ask me to refer them to a particular quote from the talk, I often tell them it is from my Church hymnbook. Some of these instances have led to opportunities to share the gospel.
Most important, the hymns have helped me and my family grow stronger in the gospel of Jesus Christ. The lyrics have given me hope, strengthened my faith in the gospel, and helped me “feast upon the words of Christ” (2 Nephi 32:3) for the past 18 years. Our wonderful hymnbook is indeed special to me, and it always will be, because I know that we can sing these hymns as a prayer of the righteous unto our Father in Heaven (see D&C 25:12).
Testify of the importance of gaining & strengthening a testimony.
Mini Key Lime Pies or Falafel Dip
Mini Key Lime Pies
- 1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs, crushed (about 18 graham cracker squares)
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 3/4 stick butter, melted
- 3 egg yolks, beaten
- 2 (14 oz) cans sweetened condensed milk
- 3/4 cup key lime juice
- 1 tablespoon key lime zest
- 1/3 cup nonfat greek yogurt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cupcake tin with cupcake liners.
- In a medium bowl, combine graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter. Press down into the bottom of the cupcake liners (I used the bottom of a measuring cup to tightly pack the crumbs). Bake for 8 minutes, then cool before adding the lime filling.
- In a separate bowl, combine egg yolks, condensed milk, lime juice, lime zest, and greek yogurt. Mix well. Fill cupcake tins about 3/4 of the way full, and bake for about 15 minutes. Cool, and decorate as desired. I added a little whipped cream and lime slices.
(Taken from 3pastriesaday)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup chickpeas (canned is fine)
- 1/3 cup chopped onion, sautéed
- 1 cup fresh cilantro leaves
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh lime juice
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Pita chips, for dipping
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor (if you don’t have one, a blender will do).
- Dip some pita chips in, and enjoy!
(Taken from 3pastriesaday)
1- Have a family singalong, taking turns to sing everybody’s favorite Hymns.
2- Practice directing so everyone knows how to do it
3- Watch your family’s favorite uplifting musical!