On February 19, Newlife’s fabulous Creative Team will release an album of 12 original songs. They asked me to write some liner notes on the title, Wait…Speak. Here they are. You can pre-order the album (go on, do it!) at http://music.church.nu/
I don’t know how old I was when I got it, but at the time it was the very best present my parents had given me. Ever. It was a small pocket radio, complete with earpiece – one ear. It only picked up AM stations. FM wasn’t yet available in Australia, let alone in my small country town. I loved that little radio. It gave me my first taste of glorious 1970’s rock and enabled me to listen to live broadcasts of games involving my beloved Essendon Bombers. While in bed, with that little radio I would sneakily listen to Ashes cricket broadcasts from England, the measured voice of Alan McGilvray lulling me to sleep.
Where we lived there weren’t many radio stations within range of my little radio. But at night it was different. With the careful moves of a safecracker I would turn the tuning dial, moving through frequencies as far-off stations would break through the static. On clear nights I would find stations hundreds of miles away, only to lose them in a wall of white noise soon after they were discovered.
That little radio opened me up to worlds a long way from my rural home. Prayer does something similar, only infinitely more. Prayer leads us into the very presence of God.
I love how Eugene Peterson so succinctly defines prayer; ‘Prayer is answering speech.’ Prayer begins with a God who speaks. The fact we sometimes find it hard to hear God through the white noise busyness of our lives doesn’t negate this truth. Our Christian conviction is clear; the God who spoke the universe into existence speaks to those who bear his image – most perfectly through the Son, God’s Word become flesh.
Prayer isn’t a monologue, but dialogue. This is astonishing. The same God who created us invites us into close, intimate, personal, life-giving conversation – fed and fuelled by the Spirit of God in us. Prayer requires practiced, intentional, reverent listening long before we need, or indeed should say anything. That’s what this album is all about.
Inspired by the Psalms and arising from the prayerful meditations of our Creative Team, these songs are written to lead us into oases of stillness in the midst of the incessant whirlwind of modern life. Only when our soul is quiet can we hear the God who speaks. Indeed, when we quieten our spirits, wait patiently – then we hear the God who is always speaking. We wait, we listen and then we speak – that is prayer. And so our prayer is that these songs, covering a gamut of human emotions and experiences, will lead you to Living Water.