Musical Prayers in India

Funny where musical prayer can take you. I went to India last fall to staff and teach in a seminar on cross cultural worship – presenting the gospel and worship in cultural ways that are familiar and appealing to each culture. It’s important to not make Christianity the ‘white man’s religion’. My soap box is that we missionaries too often package our own culture with the good news and end up promoting that as much as we promote Jesus’ great gift. When I hear Hillsong or Jesus Culture songs being sung in Indian and Africa I know people are enjoying the ‘modern Western’ ways, but is the message really getting down into their hearts? Don’t get me started.

Young Indian men with testimonies of how God changed their hearts toward their indigenous sounds. Now they incorporate them into their worship bands.

Young Indian men with testimonies of how God changed their hearts toward their indigenous sounds. Now they incorporate them into their worship bands.

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Swiss guy on keys with worship jazz and Navajo American with native flute and prayer violin added in. What a mix.

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What a joy to see old friends. I taught this gal violin in 2003 on the first Symphony of Nations training in Pune.

 

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Seminar was mostly men, but here is one brave graduate from England. Congratulations to all for stepping into the new and unknown.

Getting off my soapbox and back to musical prayer purposes – I always like to make the most of an opportunity, so while in India I scheduled a couple weeks in Bangalor thinking to join my musical prayers with those of India’s Christians – especially since Nov 30 was their National Day of Prayer. Surprised? I was also. Follow the link to see the Facebook posting.

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Photo by a new friend at Bangalores’ tea house, Chai 3:16. Its a warm friendly tea house where college students come to receive a generous cup of friendship served up with great tea.

I traveled to Bangalore with Karen Lafferty and we hooked up with an old friend of hers who runs a music school – they invited us to be guest artists along with our Indian friend Sujith Babu, for their end of the year student recital. I expected maybe 30 students at the most and a small audience of parents. OH NO – not in India! There were 130 students and their friends and families filled a 1200 seat auditorium two nights in a row. Wow.

 

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Singing and movement – wholesome entertainment

The violin class performing. I got to learn the theme from Slumdog Millionaire.

The violin class performing. I got to learn the theme from Slumdog Millionaire.

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This music school does things up in a big way – check out the 24 minion costume created by dedicated Moms. So cute.

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Karen and I with after the curtain call with leaders of India’ tomorrow.

These pictures of the ‘recital’ – more like a major production show the dedication and professionalism of the Harmony Music School.. The theme was movie music and the songs were carefully chosen to emphasize how God wants us to love and care for each other. Kudos to Sandi and Dan Oberoi for their excellent mentoring of so many young Indian children.

Dance, singing, instrumentals - this show had it all with excellence.

Dance, singing, instrumentals – this show had it all with excellence.

My musical prayer turned out to be for the lives of these young Indian children and for the future hope they hold for their nation.   I did get some more ‘traditional’ prayer in at Chai3:16 where many young people come to be trained and mentored in the love of God.  The staff are all volunteers and a small donation gets you a cup of tea.   This is a place I want to return.  It is right down the road from a great western style House of Prayer with 24/7 worship and prayer.

 

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Staff of Chai3:16, a tea house founded by Benny Presad.

Sujith was a great collaborator on this trip - he played in the concert and for worship at the prayer house. Thanks for your sensitive musical spirit, Sujith (pictured here with his harmonium of many colors)

Sujith was a great collaborator on this trip – he played in the concert and for worship at the prayer house. Thanks for your sensitive musical spirit, Sujith (pictured here with his harmonium of many colors)

 

Lastly – I’d say take whatever opportunities you have to bring your musical self and your prayer self together.   Here is a view off the top floor of my hotel where Sujith and I prayed and played frequently in the early mornings.   God bless India !!

View into the streets and everyday lives of the people of India.

View into the streets and everyday lives of the people of India.


 

 

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