Instead of bowing her head to pray, many times a Lindale worship violinist lifts her violin.
“Sometimes I think music itself is a language to God,” Joyce Meade said. “Some people find that spooky, but He created music.”
Ms. Meade, 67, just released a new album, “A New Song: Hope for America,” based on a musical retrospective of a 15,000-mile prayer trip around the perimeter of the U.S.
The songs are meant to inspire Christians to pray for their country, she said.
“If you are going to pray for the United States, it can get really heavy,” she said. “People can use all the encouragement they can get.”
Ms. Meade first used her violin in prayer on a mission trip to Ukraine in 2004, right before the Orange Revolution, she said. Another experience in Beijing further confirmed the practice for her.
“I didn’t know what they were saying,” she said. “I was trying to play music to reflect them, but then God challenged me to reflect what He was saying. … When people’s hearts are tender to God, they experience it.”
Ms. Meade has been member of Youth With A Mission for 13 years and has traveled to more than 25 nations playing musical prayers on her violin.
Ms. Meade and her travel partner, Meliza Berteranta from the Philippines, took 100 days to travel around the US in fall of 2012. Both women are part of local ministry, Youth With A Mission. Meade used her violin to pray as she traveled, connecting with churches and Christian ministries along the way.
“It is especially good to have people from other nations praying with us for our country,” Ms. Meade said. “They bring a different perspective on America and we benefit from their blessing.”
The trip was motivated by concern for the nation and a desire to bring musical prayer to bear on the social problems of our day.
“We saw many problems and knew that God had the answers,” she said. “We just had to unlock those answers. We prayed about social injustice, trafficking, abuse of all forms and the need for a return to Godly values.”
They traveled in Ms. Meade’s compact car through 30 states and were hosted in more than 50 Christian homes along the way.
“There are many dedicated people humbling themselves and praying for America,” she said. “Certainly God is hearing our prayers and will heal our land.”
While music designed to supplement prayer is often what Ms. Meade calls “soaking music” similar to tranquil music that is used for Eastern meditation, Meade said her music is different.
“It’s designed to challenge us to think about where our country is right now, to come face-to-face with our shortcomings,” she said.
All the music is original and improvised either on site as they traveled or re-created in the studio later.
A supplemental page comes with the CD, which includes a musical scavenger hunt and starter questions for discussion in prayer groups focusing on the United States, according to the written release.
Ms. Meade will be performing with her violin in Prayer on the Square at 1 p.m. on Thursday, National Day of Prayer.
For more information, visitwww.symphonyofnations.com where the album is available as a CD or mp3 download.