I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding. I will sing with the
spirit, and I will sing with the understanding (1 Corinthians 14:15 NKJV).
Sing in the Holy Spirit Serve in the Spirit 301-3
The Holy Spirit intervenes your spiritual worship to give you lyrics and melodies. What is the conclusion then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding. I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding (1 Corinthians 14:15 NKJV).
By yielding to the Holy Spirit in your spiritual worship, you can cross the realm of praising God in the understanding to the realm of singing to Him in the spirit. ‘Singing with the spirit’ and ‘singing with the understanding’ are as important in spiritual worship.
1. Psalms, hymns, spiritual songs Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs are the highest expressions in spiritual worship. ‘Singing with the spirit’ is singing with the lyrics and melodies given by the Holy Spirit. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord (Ephesians 5:18-19 NKJV).
Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs are the lyrics and melodies given by the Holy Spirit. How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification (1 Corinthians 14:26 NKJV).
Christians at Corinth received psalms, hymns and spiritual songs in worship just like they received other spiritual gifts spontaneously.
a. Psalms Psalm comes from the Greek word psalmos meaning ‘a sacred song, sung to musical accompaniment’. While ‘hymns’ are songs of worship to God, ‘psalms’ are spontaneous singing about God. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms (James 5:13b NKJV).
Psalms are songs of praise, joyful expression flowing out from a cheerful heart. They are songs about God’s attributes, good deeds, and purpose. Examples: ‘God is good all the time’, ‘Great is the Lord’, and ‘Majesty’.
b. Hymns Hymn (Gk. humnos) is literally ‘a song of praise addressed to God’. Hymns are songs of worship given by the Holy Spirit as we worship together. Examples: ‘Jesus, we enthrone You’, ‘Glorify Thy Name’, and ‘You’re my God’. Around midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening. Suddenly, there was a great earthquake, and the prison was shaken to its foundations. All the doors flew open, and the chains of every prisoner fell off! (Acts 16:25-26 NLT).
Paul and Silas were tortured before they were imprisoned but they rose above the crisis to sing in the spirit. They were ‘singing hymns’ given by the Holy Spirit rather than reciting old songs. As they sang in the spirit, the Holy Spirit manifested His presence in the prison to draw the hearts of the criminals, transformed their lives and released them back to freedom (see also Acts 9:1-20; 2 Corinthians 3:18). After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives (Matthew 26:30 NCV).
The Lord Jesus sang a hymn with His disciples before the series of difficult events that led to the crucifixion. Hymns given by the Holy Spirit can sustain you in difficulties.
c. Spiritual songs Spiritual songs are singing with the tunes given by the Holy Spirit. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance (Acts 2:4 NKJV).
Just like speaking in ‘tongues’ is speaking with the utterance given by the Holy Spirit, singing spiritual songs is singing with the tunes of the Holy Spirit. It is simply singing in tongues. For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries (1 Corinthians 14:2 NKJV).
Similar to speaking in tongues which is speaking deep mysteries from your heart to God, ‘magnifying Him’ (see also Acts 10:46), you can sing spiritual songs or sing in tongues to express your deep adoration or high praises to God.
2. Condition your spirit and mind To receive psalms, hymns and spiritual songs effectively, you need to train your spirit and your mind to flow along with the leading of the Holy Spirit. You worship God in spirit and in truth (see John 4:24). Spiritual worship involves your spirit and soul, heart and mind, intuition and emotion, devotion and will. a. Condition your spirit for worship How well you can operate psalms, hymns and spiritual songs depends on how much your heart is yielded to the Holy Spirit. And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord (Ephesians 5:18-19 NKJV).
Yield to the Holy Spirit like a drunkard given to liquor. ‘Be filled with the Spirit’ in Greek is continuously yielding to the Holy Spirit. Be open to the Holy Spirit fully until your consciousness of self disappears. When you have crossed the barrier of self-consciousness, you have exalted the Holy Spirit to the highest place of your heart. You have entered the dimension or realm of the Holy Spirit. Now, you can catch the rhythm, melody, or music He gives and sing it to Him. You are ‘singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord’, not composing or producing a song in human strength (see Colossians 3:16). At this stage, you also experience spiritual liberty (see 2 Corinthians 3:17), new strength (see Isaiah 40:31), peace of God (see Philippians 4:7), and assurance (see 1 Thessalonians 1:5) from the Holy Spirit. ‘Be filled with the Spirit’ also means living a life yielded to the Holy Spirit. You ‘walk in the Spirit’ and are ‘led by the Spirit’ in all things that you do (see Galatians 5:16, 18). You will flow well with the lyrics and melody that He gives.
b. Fill your mind with the Word How well you can operate psalms, hymns and spiritual songs also depends on how much your mind is renewed by the Word. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord (Colossians 3:16 NKJV).
‘Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly’ means surrender all your thoughts, values, concepts, knowledge and imaginations to the Word of God. A mind well renewed by the Word of God has put on ‘the mind of the LORD’ (see Romans 11:34-35) or ‘the mind of Christ’ (see 1 Corinthians 2:16). Then, you are able to understand the ‘good and acceptable and perfect will of God’ (see Romans 12:2). You are also able to release the words or lyrics together with the melody.
3. Melody and instruments You can express the melody or tune of the Holy Spirit with instruments. David would take a harp and play it with his hand. Then Saul would become refreshed and well, and the distressing spirit would depart from him (1 Samuel 16:23b NKJV).
When David played the melody from God with the harp, the presence of God came and the demon fled. Now bring me someone who can play the harp. While the harp was being played, the power of the LORD came upon Elisha (2 Kings 3:15 NLT).
That godly musician played the melody of God with the harp. God manifested His power and gave Elisha a prophecy. Moreover David and the captains of the army separated for the service some of the sons of Asaph, of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who should prophesy with harps, stringed instruments, and cymbals (1 Chronicles 25:1a NKJV).
Those godly musicians ministered prophecy with various musical instruments. ‘Spiritual songs’ also mean prophetic songs given by the Holy Spirit. According to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words ‘spiritual songs’ are ‘songs of which the burden is the things revealed by the Spirit’ (page 594). Prophetic songs are different from psalms and hymns because its content is meant for the people, not for the Lord. But he who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men (1 Corinthians 14:3 NKJV).
Spiritual songs are prophetic words given in songs. They should also bear the characteristics of edification, exhortation and comfort.