A JAZZ MUSICIAN IMPROVISES ON PRAYER

The Lord is nigh to them who are of a broken heart; and saves such as be of a contrite spirit. Psalm 34:18

We can always be sure the Lord is near us as we suffer and go through dark times.  He longs to comfort us, and we can be sure of His salvation when we turn to Him with sorrow and Godly repentance.

By: Terry Shapiro

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I think God invented jazz.  Jazz is spontaneous, creative, soulful, and raw.  I think our prayers should be like that…from the heart, from the core or our being; poured out from our circumstances, and yet deeper, more profound than our spoken language can reveal.  Soul to soul.  Jazz can be abstract yet deeply profound.  Truth and freedom of expression beyond the print.  That’s good Jazz.

Most of the music we hear is written down, composed, conducted, recorded, sampled, looped, produced, rehearsed; but good jazz like good prayer is created on the spot…not rehearsed, not read from a book or repeated each Saturday night or Sunday morning the same old way each time.  You don’t need a conductor to create good jazz.  You don’t need sheet music.  You just lay it all out there with respect and dignity for the art.  There is nothing worse in jazz or worship than relying on comfortable clichés , memorized or stolen licks, or even worse, a flippant disrespect for the audience.

The sophisticated jazz crowd is not interested in hearing how well you can imitate Armstrong, Coltrane, Bird, or Miles; or even how great you can play, how high, how fast, how loud.  No!  We want to hear YOU!  You interpreting your deepest longings, and experiences.  Where your pride and humility, successes and failures, victories and defeats, your very reason for being is visible.

I think that is what prayer should be.  When Jesus prayed in the garden, the Bible says, “And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.” (Luke 22:44)

Deep, profound, excruciatingly personal…raw and honest.  That’s what great jazz is.  Not words, thoughts or feelings of someone else, but YOU.

I pray that we all would commune with God on the deepest of personal levels.  Profound, courageous, open and honest, with respect and dignity to our audience of one…the Creator of the Universe, Our Father, Our Lord, Our Savior, Our Friend.

Take a chorus!

By: Pastor Danny Leavitt

Check out Danny “Cry Me A River” on Post Cards from Tanzania