Gentle Praise exists to produce music that calms your heart so you can hear from God, and rejoices your heart so God can hear from you.
1. To provide recorded music that supports our mission
2. To produce written music that’s in line with our mission
3. To further enable the church musician for effective ministry
By John R. Van Gelderen
In our world “meditation music” has become popular even in the secular realm. However, the New Age version under this label is really not meditation music at all. Meditation involves the mind. Thus the Scripture urges believers to meditate on God’s Word day and night (Josh. 1:8; Ps. 1:2).
For the believer, meditation music is to calm the soul to facilitate hearing the still small voice of God. It quiets the inner being so that there can be Spirit-to-spirit communication that then works out through the mind (Rom. 8:16a; Eph. 4:23). Surely there is a time for celebrative music to excite the soul in exuberant praise to God. This is fitting especially in a public setting. Yet there is also a time for meditative music to calm the soul in quiet listening to God. This is fitting especially in a private setting. In the classical music realm, this style of music is labelled adagio. It is a “quiet the heart” rather than “excite the heart” style of music. It incorporates the softer quieting musical tones as opposed to the louder exciting ones. To use the language of painting, it involves the pastel colors of God’s creation, instead of the bold colors.
When the kings of Israel, Judah and Edom went to Elisha, and the king of Israel appealed for aid, “Elisha said, As the Lord of hosts liveth, before whom I stand, surely, were it not that I regard the presence of Jehoshaphat the king of Judah, I would not look toward thee, nor see thee” (2 Kings 3:14). Clearly Elisha’s ire was up. But for the sake of Jehoshaphat, Elisha said, “But now bring me a minstrel [musician]. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the Lord came upon him” (2 Kings 3:15). Then upon hearing from the Lord, Elisha gave God’s way of deliverance.
The music in this context was instrumental, not vocal, for it says the musician “played,” not sang. The sound could not have been loud since there was only one instrument, likely a string instrument. The musical sound was such that it calmed Elisha’s anger and allowed him to hear from God. F. B. Meyer said of this passage, “The influence of music calms his agitation and predisposes him for the Divine communications.” Keil and Delitzsch observe, “He then sent for a minstrel, to collect his mind from the impressions of the outer world by the soft tones of the instrument, and by subduing the self-life and life in the external world to become absorbed in the intuition of divine things.”
This is similar to the situation when young David, “a cunning player on the harp,” was called upon to help troubled Saul. As “David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed” (1 Sam. 16:16, 23). Again the music was instrumental, not vocal, since the Scripture explicitly says, he took a “harp” and “played with his hand,” not sang with his voice. The musical sound was soft, not loud. Keil and Delitzsch comment regarding this passage, the “powerful influence by music upon the state of mind” to “soothe the passions.”
These scriptural examples provide understanding for the concept of meditation music. Meditation music is a gift from God whereby the soul is calmed to hear the still small voice of God. This aids in allowing the Spirit of God to illumine the Word of God to nurture faith in God. It also aids in the blessed communion with the Holy Spirit—person-to-person communication as one seeks the Lord.
When one’s spirit is calmed so that he hears from the Lord, inevitably his heart will be refreshed through the divine communication and he will rejoice in the Lord. Rejoicing in the Lord includes praise to the Lord. Simply put, when one hears from God, his heart rejoices; when his heart rejoices, God hears from him. Thus “gentle praise” music is music that calms the heart so one can hear from God and rejoices the heart so God can hear from that one. Therefore, meditation music leads to celebration music. This is gentle praise!