Why do Churches Have Mood Music?


It’s the end of the service and the preacher is coming to the punch line. Quietly the keyboardist goes on stage, selects “warm pads” or “strings” and begins to play in the background. As the preacher makes his challenge, the sound of synthesized seraphim singing begins to wash over the audience. Hand start going up. People start responding for prayer.

Someone once asked me, “Why do we have mood music in our church?” The reason for the question was clear. Aren’t we manipulating people’s emotions by playing this touchy-feely music? Isn’t this just another dumb idea the church has pinched from the world? Isn’t this a little New Agey?

While I agree the church has borrowed a lot of dumb ideas from the world, using worshipful music to minister to people is Biblical. There are at least 3 reasons why we do it…

1. Music calms the agitated soul. King Saul was a tormented man who found relief listening to David play his harp (1 Samuel 16:23). When I want to come into the presence of the King of kings I have to battle the agitations of my soul and the distractions of mind. Having worshipful music playing in the background helps me get my thoughts off myself and onto Him.

2. When we worship demons flee. Saul’s black moods were demonic in origin. 1 Samuel 16:23 tells us that the evil spirit would leave Saul when David played. It’s significant that the Bible in this passage emphasizes David’s playing and doesn’t mention his singing. We know David wrote some awesome psalms but even without lyrics an anointed musician is a menace to the enemy. Saul was under the influence of a demonic spirit, but David was under the influence of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the ruling spirit in any place where He is welcomed. Actually He’s the ruling spirit everywhere, but you know what I mean. As David worshipped, the spiritual atmosphere in the room changed. Saul’s demon had to flee. Worshipful music is more than mood music. It’s spiritual warfare. But it’s warfare on God’s terms not the enemy’s.

3. Worshipful music prepares us to hear from the Lord. The prophet Elisha was once summoned by the king and asked to prophesy. But Elisha was in a foul mood. It’s hard to hear from God when you’re steaming with fury. Elisha’s classic response was: “bring me a harpist” (2 Kings 3:15). As the harpist played, the “hand of the Lord came upon Elisha” and he prophesied.

I’m not advocating formulas. But the fact is we live such busy lives that the voice of God is often lost in the hubbub. The reason many Christians don’t hear from God is they are not listening. Worshipful music certainly does not compel God to talk so much as it helps us to listen. Worshipful music doesn’t bring God’s presence into our lives. Rather, it helps us enter into His presence.

Music is just a tool. We need to take responsibility to calm the agitations of our soul and fix our thoughts on Jesus. Think lofty thoughts of Jesus! And don’t hold back on the outer. Don’t settle for being a mere spectator. Remember that He justifies you, qualifies you, heals you, sanctifies you and invites you into the throne room.

5 Comments on Why do Churches Have Mood Music?

  1. I just talked about the Planet Church blog with a friend these days….then here again….yahoo…thanks

  2. I think some people can see it as emotion manipulation but people’s “moods” often need to be changed whether they are physical or spiritual. Its important for leaders then not to take advantage of those mood changes for their own interests but to use the opportunity to bring the Holy Spirit into their lives.

    Keep up the posts Paul!!

  3. Phil Sayyeau // May 5, 2011 at 6:19 am // Reply

    I couldn’t disagree more. Mood music is demonic, and causes a spirit of confusion in the church. When it is time to get right with the Lord or pray or whatever it is; then it is time for that and that alone. You don’t multi-task. Otherwise, why not play Glen Miller’s “In the Mood”? The Bible clearly says to let all things be done decently and in order. Someone who hears mood music gets confused. Should I pray, or seek the Lord, or sing, or try to figure out what song the musician(s) is/are playing, and so on and so on? Even Billy Graham was guilty of this, with his “Just as I am” music playing. Only 4% of people who accepted the Lord at his crusades, stayed with the Lord, by their own ministries figures. Mood music is a wordly thing, and needs to stop immediately. At a job interview you don’t sing “Just as I am , please hire me…..” There is a time and a place for singing, a time and a place for preaching, a time and a place for praying, etc. Not all at the same time.

    • Gerardo Jerry Grado // October 8, 2019 at 7:01 am // Reply

      When you don’t have scripture you give opinions and hyperbole…i doubt anyone was even a little convinced

  4. i just recently heard something interesting… the harps that king David made had 22 strings… each string representing a letter from the Hebrew aleph-bet!
    so when he played his harp, he was actually “speaking” through the notes!
    how beautiful is that?!

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