The Power of Music and Worship for Children
I believe in the power of music. Practically nothing else is as sticky and powerful as a melody. It enables us to jump back in time to a memory that is tied to a song. We can all think of a song that instantly does that for us. In fact, it’s probably the closest thing to teleporting that exists in real life!
There’s a pop song from the 80’s that instantly takes me back to the Wendy’s “SuperBar.”. There are songs from camp and Vacation Bible School that remind me of key leaders that invested in my life and made me feel seen. Music enables us to learn and memorize things that other study practices won’t accomplish with the same effect. There’s something unique about melody and rhythm that, when mixed together, creates something really special. Real estate in our minds is purchased by those songs, and with one single statement, it all comes flooding back.
I understand this power because I’ve experienced it. My parents were very intentional about what we listened to and what we watched growing up. To this day, I often come across certain scripture passages or hear a message that triggers a memory of a song that contained the word of God. My mom played these songs in her minivan while we drove around town running errands, headed to ballet and church. I haven’t listened to the recording of those songs in decades, but the song was planted in me as a young girl and it plays in my mind on repeat through the years.
Your children are listening
What you listen to matters. I am someone that listens to every lyric of a song while my husband just sings along. We all soak up things differently, but when it comes to our family, we need to be intentional about what we are planting inside of our children’s hearts. Realize that the music you listen to in the car as you’re driving to school, sports, work, birthday parties, church, errands and you name it, is getting inside your kids.
I’ve had parents share about conversations they had with their children at bedtime all because the child asked a question about something in one of the songs they heard earlier that day. I’m a mom of two boys. I can’t tell you how many conversations we have had in the car about the songs I play. My youngest is five and he doesn’t always understand the meaning of certain songs. Every question and discussion is a discipleship moment in his life to help him understand God’s Word in a deeper way. I know the songs seal in his memory those conversations we’ve had.
So the next time you’re driving around, don’t just look at it as another car ride, but as a moment to put into action what Deuteronomy 6:7 says about God’s commandments: “Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up” (NIV). Realize that during those important moments, you can intentionally play songs that have a message that matters and become strategic about what your kids are hearing. “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:17 NKJV).
The power of worship
I love to worship God. It is my passion. And the focus of my ministry is equipping church leaders and parents with resources to help their kids worship God. I want to help kids encounter God’s presence because I believe if they taste and see that he is good, they will hunger and thirst for more of him. I’m not sure if you’ve ever experienced a group of children singing in worship but it is the most pure, sweet sound you’ll ever hear. Power is unleashed when children worship.
My favorite verse in the Bible says, “God, brilliant Lord, yours is a household name. Nursing infants gurgle choruses about you; toddlers shout the songs that drown out enemy talk and silence atheist babble” (Psalm 8:1–2 MSG). There are some very powerful words used in those verses to describe what happens when children sing and testify to the greatness of God. I have been forever changed since the day I came across that passage. It shifted my perspective and enlarged my capacity to understand what was happening, why it matters, and how significant this really is.
Lead by example
Worship is not restricted to Sunday mornings. As a Christian parent, you can lead your kids to worship God seven days a week. Every time you push play on a song and they sing along when they think no one is paying attention, you’re leading them. Every hand clap, arm lift and dance in celebration of the goodness of God unleashes God’s power to be at work in your living room, backyard, car and wherever else you go. His presence shifts atmospheres. Worship on our lips realigns our attitudes and heart posture. If you want to raise Christian kids who are in love with Jesus, teach them how to worship. Show them the pathway to him in everything they face. Life will give them lemons and curve balls. But as they worship, they will draw close to God and sit at His feet. It’s so important that we help our kids know how to find God. Worship is the pathway to His presence.
You don’t have to be musical to be a great worshiper. Show your kids by example how to have a heart after God. You do that by worshiping Him on your best days and your hardest days. You do it by worshiping on the mountaintops and in the valleys. Our God is with us through every season of life and something special happens when we surrender our worship, no matter what. I believe in your ability to lead your children to God’s throne. Be intentional and strategic about your playlist. Remember: Music is sticky! And never forget, God’s power is unleashed when children worship!