I will sing with the spirit, and I will also sing with the understanding.
1 Corinthians 14:15, NKJV
Throughout history, one of the characteristics of New Testament revival is songs of the spirit. These are songs that are spontaneous and unrehearsed. Songs that erupt from a place of intimacy and worship. We have become a generation that is so programmed and performance driven, we often lack opportunity for spontaneous Spirit inspired songs. These are even more than semi-spontaneous phrases that are orchestrated ahead of time by the worship leader into a worship set list. It is actually quite silly how we attempt to even orchestrate how the Holy Spirit will move spontaneously.
The Azusa Street Revival was characterized by this spontaneous song of the Spirit. Here is how Frank Bartleman attempts to describe this song:
No one could understand this “gift of song” but those who had it. It was indeed a “new song” in the Spirit. When I first heard it in the meeting a great hunger entered my soul to receive it. I felt it would exactly express my pent up feelings. I had not yet spoken in tongues. But the “new song” captured me. It was a gift from God of high order and appeared among us soon after the Azusa work began. No one had preached it. The Lord had sovereignly bestowed it, with the outpouring of the residue of oil, the latter rain baptism of the Spirit. It was exercised, as the Spirit moved the possessors, either in solo fashion, or by the company. It was sometimes without words, other times in tongues. The effect was wonderful on the people. It brought a heavenly atmosphere, as though the angels themselves were present and joining with us. And possible they were. It seemed to still criticism and opposition, and was hard for even wicked men to gainsay or ridicule.
Recently in a service during this outpouring of God’s Spirit upon our church, there has been incredible songs of the Spirit. It is tongues, English, and sounds of worship blended together in harmony. No person is leading this choir, but certainly the Holy Spirit is inspiring the song. No person can take credit for leading it or causing its inception in the service. God seems to still us under His wings, and the gentle breeze of the Spirit brings forth this heavenly song of worship.
Paul encourages us to sing out this “new song” to the Lord. Allow the same vocal chords that sing a written song to sing out a spontaneous song of worship. Soon you will find yourself lost in the glory of the one to whom you sing.