songs like prayer

This morning I woke up with a song in my head. 

That isn't unusual, but lately the songs have been more along the lines of theme-from-backyardigans or jingle-from-daniel-tiger than cool-new-indie tune. 

And actually, since we started attending an Episcopal church which plays mostly hymns we've never heard before, the songs that get stuck in my head have rarely been church songs.

This one was, though.  I found myself putting dishes into the dishwasher this morning, singing, "Hallelujah, death is done," and I was so happy to have old hymn words back in my head.  (These came from a cd recently put out by friends from our old church in Seattle - check it out! You can name your price for the download on bandcamp. My favorite tracks are 3 and 9.)

It got me thinking, though.  As a teenager, I found that music was a primary way I connected with God.  Our youth group used to have "catacombs" nights where we'd sit in the dark and sing for hours, like the early christians did, hiding in burial grounds, and they were my favorite nights of all.

When I tried to think of songs that have been like prayer for me recently, there weren't many.  These are the ones I thought of, from the last two years or so:

Christmas, Don't Be Late - Rosie Thomas.

  Yes, The Chipmunk Song.  Rosie transforms it into a song full of longing for the kingdom and peace.  It's amazing.

I want to be well - Sufjan Stevens

.  I don't know.  For me this song is about the desire for wholeness that is at the root of what it means to be human and that is only fulfilled through sanctification, God making all things new.

God is Love - The Innocence Mission.

  Owen was a few weeks old, and crying all the time.  I was at the gym, on the treadmill, not because I wanted to exercise, but because I wanted to go to a place where I could put on my headphones and not have to take care of anyone.   "God is love, and love will never fail me," were the words that strengthened my weary soul.

Faint were we - Nathan Partain.

  This is another hymn from our church in Seattle.  It randomly came on during ipod shuffle play when I was at a pivotal (faint, I was!) point in labor. It was like a word from God.

We Can't Be Beat - the Walkmen.

This song reminds me that trying to be "perfect" is less important than being whole, fully human.  That nobody loves perfection, but people respond to vulnerability.  And that the best life is one that has room for correction, because it is daring, willing to fail, and willing to change.

What about you?  What songs are like prayer in your heart?  Leave a note in the comments, or go add them to the


I created.