He Who Sings Prays Twice

When I need to tap into the power of prayer at hand, when I’m looking for some spiritual transformation, singing seems just right.

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There used to be a sign in the choir room at church that said, “He who sings prays twice.” I’d stare at it and wonder how singing could be praying. Singing didn’t have anything to do with prayer, did it?

I would beg to differ today. When I need to tap into the power of prayer at hand, when I’m looking for some spiritual transformation, singing seems just right. That feeling of abandon when you sing in the shower or sing to the car radio, it can be a spiritual practice even if you’re not necessarily singing about your relationship with God.

Mom got me thinking about this. I’m going out to California on Friday to be with her and to visit Dad at the skilled nursing facility where he’s living. “Why don’t you sing for Dad and the people there?” she said. 

“Great idea, Mom,” I said. Dad was always proud of my singing back to those first solos I ever did in church choir or in the high school musical. Dad, who sang most hymns on three notes, seemed startled that his offspring could carry a tune. “Sounds just like Victory at Sea” was the ultimate compliment, a reference to his favorite soundtrack. Anything good had to be written by Richard Rodgers or sound like “Some Enchanted Evening.”

I’m thinking of the songs I can sing for Dad and his compatriots. He’ll be in a wheelchair and I’m not sure we can even find a pianist at Monte Vista Groves, but does that really matter? The singing I want to do is a prayer for him and for me and for all of us who don’t know quite how to deal with the suffering that can come at the end of life but know that God is always there and never more so than when we pray twice by singing. I hope he thinks, “Just like Victory at Sea.

A BIG THANKS to all the people who have said they’re praying for him.

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