I came across this very interesting post on the value of singing hymns.
"If I Were the Devil" by Klemet Preus
I thought the post itself was interesting, but I was particularly interested in his quotes by Christopher Boyd Brown. He made a presentation at Worship Conference this summer, which I attended and found very interesting. I was glad to see that the findings of his study are available in a book.
Basically, Professor Brown studied the place of hymns in the lives of early Lutherans, and the impact that those hymns had on their lives when the Counter-Reformation took their pastors away. He found that the hymns that they learned helped them to hold on to their faith—even though they didn't have pastors to teach the faith. Or in other words, it was the hymnody of the early Lutherans that allowed the teaching of the Reformation to take root in the hearts of the people and continue despite persecution.
I'm looking forward to picking up this book and reading about these things in more detail. It'll have to go to the end of the queue, though, because I have a stack of books that I've been intending to read. I'll let you know what I think when I finally get to it, but if you can't wait, maybe you'd like to read it for yourself.