Solos and Harmonies


My new favorite song these days is Better Than a Halleluja by Amy Grant. Not only is the melody beautiful, the words are just so mournful and true. If you haven’t heard it before, you can check it out by clicking on the song title.

I have followed Amy Grant for years and even saw her in concert with her husband Vince Gill. Her voice is so clear and warm; it draws me into her song every time.

Most of my favorite music is sung by individual singers.

But I do have a soft spot for harmony. Crosby, Stills and Nash sing a song called Teach Your Children. As teenagers, my two sisters and I would sit with our guitars in a circle in the living room. We’d play and sing that song, trying to recreate those heavenly harmonies. We sang it again at my daughter’s wedding.

Just like the songs of the soloist, the words and music are beautiful. But it’s the harmony that makes me soar.

Prayer is a lot like music.

Solo prayer is the communication between God and me alone. I speak with my own voice, telling the Lord what I am doing, how much I love him and tell him about my friends and family who need healing.

The lyrics of my prayer might be mournful, or they might be joyous. They express my faith and need in a way that is unique to me. Our Father loves this intimate song between Father and daughter.

He leans in close to hear my prayer. He looks at me and I recognize the expression on his face. It’s the same way I looked at my own babies. I see love shining in his eyes.

God loves harmonies too. He loves to hear his children singing together. That harmony comes from group prayer and praise.

It might be a small group, or a large congregation. The size doesn’t matter. It matters that God’s children are coming together to have a family reunion. And let me tell you, the Father loves family reunions.

The prayers we pray and the songs we sing together, as a community of faith, do come from individuals. But we are coming together to create a unity of believers.

As our prayers and songs are knitted together, they create a symphony of love. We do not only belong, as individuals, to God; we also belong to each other as parts of the Body of Christ. Family prayer becomes complete in union with our brothers and sisters.

And the Lord leans toward his family with eyes sparkling like jewels. His desire for peace and love between his children is fulfilled in his sight. And all that love just sounds like a song.

Solos and harmonies. Beautiful ways to express our praise. Both of these forms of prayer are loved by the Father. I don’t think God wants me to choose one or the other.

I think he wants me to love both. I know he sure does.


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33 thoughts on “Solos and Harmonies

  1. When I sing in church the people in the pews around me start passing each other headache tablets. They’ve asked me to mime because it sounds better.

    I like the way you draw us in by starting on a general subject and then make a good point at the end. Wonderful writing. Thanx.

    God bless.

  2. A beautiful analogy of prayer and music. I love how you think. Thanks too for introducing me to Amy Grant’s song. I’ll go and listen to it now. Have a wonderful week. xox

  3. Ceil…this post really touched my heart…I can relate so well to it! Like you, music has played a huge part in my life. I grew up the youngest of eight in a musical family. My 3 brothers played guitar, mandolin, etc.and we all sang and had our harmonies down pat. Us three youngest girls sang in 3-part harmony and the Lennon sisters were our inspiration. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young were one of my favorite groups when I was a teen because of their beautifully blended harmonies. To this day, a harmony that isn’t quite right is like finger nails on a chalkboard to me. Like you, a love both solo and those harmonies. It’s amazing to me that you related this to prayer as well. I love my personal, intimate time of prayer when I can just cry out to God… where I can bear my soul however I need to at the moment. A small group of us meet on Sunday nights at church for prayer and there is nothing that blesses my heart as much as hearing everyone pray together…a concert of prayer if you will…it’s almost as if God Himself reaches down and physically touches us. Isn’t it just amazing how He speaks to us in these ways?

    I’m really quite sure you are my sister from a different mother, dear Ceil! 🙂

  4. A symphony of love. What a great description! I too have seen Amy Grant perform and enjoy her music. And Crosby, Stills and Nash; oh my. I’m very familiar with that song.

    Yesterday at church I was so blessed to listen to an amazing soprano sing “Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling”. Sometimes the words and melodies of the old songs just gets to me.

    Happy Monday to you Ceil!

    Blessings and love,

  5. I have never been a person who could stand up and speak in front of others. That goes for praying. Not that I am ashamed of God but I guess that someone might think my prayers immature…? But now that you have changed the way I look at prayer in the corporate body I am going to step out of the boat! God wants to hear our voices lifted up together and I want to be obedient to Him.

    God bless you today!

  6. As ever, you’ve painted another beautiful portrait with your well-chosen words, my friend. So filled with truth. What a lovely opening to a brand new week! I hope it sparkles for you …


  7. Hi Ceil,
    I too believe that God loves communication with His children, and who could resist singing the ‘hallelujahs ‘ after that communication. Lovely song.
    God bless you

  8. Hi Ceil! Your post was such a surprise and delight to read since I posted on prayer yesterday and this was just the icing on the cake 🙂 Although I must tell you something……don’t laugh, okay?…..when I got your email in my inbox at first glance I thought is said…..Solos and Hormones!! Maybe I need glasses??? Okay, you can laugh since I did 🙂

    Have a beautiful day, my friend!

  9. Such beautiful thoughts, Ceil. I often think of our prayers as being a sweet aroma to the Lord, but to picture them as songs and harmony is lovely. Thank you.

  10. Yes, solo or harmonies…love your thoughts on this. We need to speak to God alone sometimes, but we also need that fellowship where we sing praises to God or pray in groups. I enjoy Amy Grant too!

  11. aw you are a sweetie Ceil..thanks for the thoughts and prayers(:)
    Loved the little chickies and the dog too (:)
    oh yes the music of Amy Grant is wonderful..
    love her voice..

  12. I love that song too. I am old enough to have had her music in an 8-track tape! Beautiful thoughts on music and prayer – both draw us in closer to Jesus.

  13. I have just read your last post on “Game Face” and now this one. Your writing is so elegant in such a simplistic way – a plainspoken path strewn with serene images of God’s unending affection for us. Very peaceful;. Very meaningful!

  14. I love the way you said He leans close to hear my prayer. I sing to the Lord each morning…sometimes I sing right from psalms. I do believe as you said…song and prayer are knitted together. The Lord loves praise and I love to give it to him…♥

  15. What a beautiful expression of prayer and music, Ceil. You have a gift for painting word pictures. Your words, “He leans in close to hear my prayer. He looks at me and I recognize the expression on his face. It’s the same way I looked at my own babies. I see love shining in his eyes.” brings tears of joy to my eyes when I recall feeling the same way when I pray. And when we sing and pray as His family, how He “leans toward his family with eyes sparkling like jewels.” You have blessed my soul today, Ceil.

  16. Ceil, thanks for sharing this new song by Amy. It’s beautiful, and the video is so touching. Your post touches on two of my most precious loves: prayer and music. I love how you wove them both together into a fabric that God appreciates and longs to receive as a gift from His children. May we all continue to offer him solos and harmonies, to the glory of His great name!

  17. Beautiful post, Ceil. I was reading over what some others commented. I laughed at Victor’s (he reminded me of my own father 🙂 and was happy for Joyful Reader, the conclusion she came to after reading your post. I have to admit, I wish there was only instrumental music after our reception of the Holy Eucharist, because it is such an important time to reflect on Christ dwelling within us ( body, blood, soul, and divinity) at that very moment. Hard to concentrate at times. And now we enter the lenten season…a different kind of community prayer altogether. Have a great Ceil and thanks again for such a lovely post!

  18. Hi Ceil ~ This is such a beautiful post. I love the analogy of prayer being like music. Every part of this post really spoke to me probably because prayer has always been such a hard thing for me. I can pray when alone but out loud with other people is so hard for me to do. But…this is encouraging to me because of how you describe everything. A melody that God loves to hear. Yes!!
    Have a blessed day.

  19. Love those songs and this post. I cannot begin to imagine the symphony of music we will hear in heaven. I think of this sometimes in church when we sing and the body of Christ sounds especially into the song, or I am moved by the music or words. I agree, I believe it doesn’t matter to God, harmony or solo – as long as we are doing His will and we love, He is happy.

  20. So beautiful and great analogy!
    Songs and prayers… I believe they do make God happy. Whether we sing/pray individually or together, He is happy.

    2 Chron 7:14 came to mind as I read your post. Christians need to come together and seek God through humble prayer and repentance.

  21. “A symphony of love.” You know I never heard it expressed like that, but it sure makes sense to me. And the smile from our Father brings me a satisfied soul.

    Singing and praying for Him… Excellent and warming post, Ceil. Might have to dig out my guitar…

  22. I’ve never heard that song by Amy Grant so I appreciate you sharing it. Music speaks to us in so many ways, doesn’t it? It soothes, uplifts and encourages, and helps us express our hearts and praise too. So thankful for this gift from God.

    Have a great week!

  23. Such a beautiful analogy of music and prayer. I love the mental picture of doing a solo or harmonizing with a group. I’m sure the analogy will be on my mind when I pray from now on. Awesome post! Thanks for sharing!

  24. Hi Ceil! I am reading through the Old Testament right now and it’s amazing how many times music and singing is mentioned. It’s what causes God’s followers to triumph over enemies. And it’s not usually a hodge podge of noise. David’s psalms were often taught to the people and they sang together with one voice in praise to God. Corporate prayer and praise is powerful. Thanks for the wonderful reminder.
    Oh, Amy Grant has been a favorite of mine for years. I purchased her latest album a little while ago, and the song you mentioned (the words are wonderful!) is on there. It’s a great album! I have also been privileged to see Amy Grant and Vince Gill when they came to our little city in the south central interior of BC (about 10 years ago) and I am anticipating a special road trip with a friend to Vancouver in April to see her in concert with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. Can’t wait!

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