A Melody in My Heart

“. . . speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. (Ephesians 5:19 NKJV)

I have been reading about the suffering and persecution of Christians in the Middle East in a 2016 book titled THEY SAY WE ARE INFIDELS by Mindy Belz.[1]  Despite their persecution and suffering, Belz wrote that the Christians she met in war-torn Iraq still used music in their worship.  She shared one experience.

On a rainy evening I visited one of the Pentecostal charismatic congregations that had sprung up in out-of-the-way residential areas of Baghdad.   With the lights out and rain beating down on streets already covered with standing sewer water, a group of 120 had gathered to worship in a large, rented house, led by a thirty-year-old single pastor from Eritrea named Joseph.  They were singing Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” when I arrived.[2]

While under great pressure and with their lives at risk, Christians in Baghdad could still be found lifting their voices in songs of praise to God.  Elton Roth captured this spirit in a short Gospel hymn titled, “In My Heart There Rings a Melody.” The only explanation for the determination and ability of Christians to sing while suffering is the “song” that Jesus gives.

I have a song that Jesus gave me; it was sent from heaven above.
There never was a sweeter melody; ‘tis a melody of love.
In my heart there rings a melody; there rings a melody with heaven’s harmony.
In my heart there rings a melody; there rings a melody of love.

From Genesis to Revelation, the Bible affirms the use of music in the worship of the True and Living God – the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – the God who became one of us in the person of Jesus Christ.  An entire book of Scripture – the Psalms – is filled with songs written by King David, Asaph, the Sons of Korah, and others to be used in worship and prayer to God.  Psalm 40 is an example, written “to the choirmaster – a psalm of David,” in which he proclaims, “He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God” (Psalm 40:3 ESV).

In the New Testament, as the apostle Paul gives instructions for daily Christian living, he writes that one outworking of the filling of the Holy Spirit is “. . . speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord . . .” (Ephesians 5:19 NKJV).  Paul and Silas were living examples of this as they “. . . were praying and singing hymns to God . . .” (Acts 16:25 NKJV) while in jail in Philippi.

I love the Christ who died on Calvary, for He washed my sins away.
He put within my heart a melody, and I know it’s there to stay.
In my heart there rings a melody; there rings a melody with heaven’s harmony.
In my heart there rings a melody; there rings a melody of love.

And the glimpse into eternity that we get in the book of Revelation (Revelation 5:9-10 as one example) lets us know that singing the praises of God will be our joyous experience forever in the Kingdom of God.

Twill be my endless theme in glory; with the angels I will sing.
Twill be a song with glorious harmony when the courts of heaven ring.
In my heart there rings a melody; there rings a melody with heaven’s harmony.
In my heart there rings a melody; there rings a melody of love.

So why postpone the joy of heaven?  Let the peace and joy and hope you have in Christ fill your mind and heart with songs of praise, and let those songs make their way to your lips and voice.

Sing along with this audio accompaniment of “In My Heart There Rings a Melody.”


[1] Belz, Mindy.  THEY SAY WE ARE INFIDELS: On the Run from ISIS with Persecuted Christians in the Middle East.  Carol Stream, IL:  Tyndale House Publishers, 2016.

[2] Belz, p. 71.

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Filed under Hymn devotional, Music, Praise, Singing

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