Jesus did much more praying while here on earth, than he did, singing. Isaiah prophesied the Messiah would be a “man of sorrows”, Isa. 53:3-4. Therefore it is not surprising that the only direct reference we have to the Son of God singing is when he was facing his greatest sorrow. This is a lesson for us to learn and put into practice. When we face trials, Christians should look for blessings to rejoice in. God’s word is a great place to start! Jesus set an example of singing with his disciples while facing a crisis! The only time it is recorded is on the night he was betrayed. Matthew 26:30, Mark 14:26. We know by Jewish tradition and history during the feast of unleavened bread, what he surely sang, (Psalms 113-118, Psalm 136 & 145:10) but we do not know for sure how he sang it. Most likely it was a solemn chant, rather than a boisterous melody. The reason God is silent on the melody of Jesus singing is that He obviously does not want Christians to feel led or pressured into practicing Jewish praise. The same mindset was in the writers of the New Testament, which were mainly Jewish. The use of praise while under duress is shown by the apostle Paul and Silas in Acts 16:25, while imprisoned. Which is a clear example of Christ within the disciples of Jesus. From the beginning of the Church’s existence we praised God, Acts 2:47, when we were blessed & growing, but also the mature Christians among us praise God when we suffer for Christ. The instruction of James to sing when we are happy is obvious, (James 5:13), but it shows that no matter what our circumstance, in Christ we are able to find a way to rejoice, Philippians 4:4.
The only other time we know Jesus must have sung, was when he was a boy, at the Feasts in Jerusalem, which we know his parents took him to annually, Luke 2:41. Christian parents should teach their children to sing, and take the opportunity to sing seriously. It is not the harmony of voices which God is pleased with and hears, but rather the melody of the heart. (Eph. 5:19)
Jesus loved the Psalms, they were so much a part of his nature, he quoted them as part of his dying words on the cross, Mat. 27:46 (Psa. 22:1) & Luk. 23:46 (Psa. 31:5). Therefore, we need to derive God’s strength from using the words, rather than get confused about how to sing them. It helps to know what they are about and for what purpose they are still with us. The Psalms were not written for just our reading, they were written to help shape our prayers, they are better described as divine praise, instead of poetical lyrics. Yet they are educational too, as Jesus used them, Luk. 24:44. The clearest instruction for praise in the midst of suffering as a Christian comes from Peter, 1st Peter 4:12-16. But if we are not prepared to praise Him, and we are not fully convinced of God’s purpose in praise for us, then we will find it very hard to take full advantage of praise in sufferings, this is even included in the finale of the beatitudes of Jesus during his sermon on the mount, Matthew 5:10-12. Just do it!