Music prayer employs lyrics and notes in a unified expression of both the principles and the playfulness of our relationships with God.
1. Why do you suppose Mozart thought Protestant prayer was “all in the head”? What differences in the prayer emphases of Protestant, Roman Catholic, and Orthodox traditions have you noticed?
2. Have you ever suffered life-altering disappointment? For Barth, the two world wars changed not only the way he thought about God, but the way he interacted with him. What impact did your experience have on your ability, desire, or understanding of prayer? If music played a role, how did it influence your conversations with God?
3. How does the nature of your prayer change as you become more and more familiar with the music and the lyrics? What are the advantages of familiarity in this kind of prayer? How do new pieces of music benefit your communion with God?
4. What is the impact of singing along with recorded or live music? Do you find it more or less difficult to pray with music if you hear it performed live? Why do you think this is? Have you ever performed music either as part of a worship service or in a concert? How does this influence the intimacy of the music as your prayer?
5. How does listening with another person or as a group modify the dynamic of prayer in music? How do watching and listening to other people’s “interpretations” of the piece help or hinder you in offering the music to God? Hearing from him?