What functions do humming and singing worship serve in our mission work? The Jewish author and Rabbi Emeritus of the Holy Blossom Temple in Toronto Rabbi Dow Marmur (1935-present) writes of a congregation heartily singing and humming. Apparently the "niggun" the wordless prayer has become universal and seems to dominate Jewish worship. He writes, "You don't need to know how to pray as long as you can hum!" This form of worship eases the pain for those who do not know Judaism's language of prayer. This reminds me of one of the pillars of the Reformation that worship should always be in the language of the people.
Rabbi Marmur goes on to refer to Heinrich Heine, (1797-1856) the German Jewish poet who was uncomfortable with the "wordless prayer." Heine wrote, "Deprived of language, prayer can mean anything." A driving instructor in France noticed one day how tense his pupils were immediately before taking a driving lesson. As an experiment, he suggested they try singing quietly to themselves or humming while they were behind the wheel. The results were surprising! There were fewer accidents and an overall improvement in the standard of driving. The instructor concluded, "Humming takes the tension out of traveling." Similarly, humming or singing helps people relax and enables them to be much more open to God. Whether music and singing are led by an organ and choir or a guitar or even unaccompanied it gets people into the right frame of mind for fellowship.✞