Day One: The Unbreakable Link Between Worship & Prayer
“And when He had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them Harps and golden Bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying:‘You are worthy to take the scroll and to open its seals for You were slain And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation, And have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign on the earth.’” Revelation 5:8-10
This scripture has been the operating principle of Harp & Bowl since we founded the ministry in 1990. In it we see that worship and Prayer are inextricably bound together. You can’t have worship without prayer and you can’t have prayer without worship. The greatest example of a worshipper in all the Bible was David. His heart was so filled with love for God that he spent many hours simply lifting up songs of adoration before the Lord. God responded by talking to David and revealing His heart — for David, for the Nation of Israel, and for the people of the earth. As he stood before the Ark of God and worshiped with all his heart David recorded much of what He spoke to God, and what God spoke to Him. It was such a powerful exchange between God and Man that we are still singing and praying David’s words 3000 years later. This same relationship between the New Testament worshipper and God is what the church desperately needs today. And if you are called to lead your congregation in worship, you are called to worship God “as David did.”
If You Don’t Pray, Don’t Play!!!
Worship leaders must seek the Lord early and often if they want to help the congregation find the heart of the Father for themselves. We must come to the Wednesday or Sunday service “front-loaded”, already in a “conversation” with our God. By praying and seeking the Lord for His desire for the next Sunday service on the Monday night a week ahead you have a whole week to practice and listen. You may come up with a list on Monday, that may change as you really seek God during the week. We need to get everything out of the way before the worship service and have bathed ourselves in our own worship before we arrive at the worship service. As you pray“without ceasing”, read the word, and spend time with the Lord He may tell you to throw your list away because He has something else He wants to do. This is always a challenge for our “organized services” but sometimes we need to hand over our agenda because His is greater. Once Judy and I were leading a Sunday morning service and playing “I believe in Jesus”. We had settled into an up-tempo rendition and were happily into the second verse, when I heard the Lord say, “Play it again but slow it way down.” I knew it was the Lord, but I was afraid to mess up the “schedule” so I finished the song and went into the next chorus. Suddenly I felt a hand on my shoulder. It was the Pastor and he was saying, “I think we should play that last song again and slow it down.” He had been hearing from the Lord too, and like me, was not going to obey until the Lord really insisted. I stopped the song we were playing and went back, but now we did it very slowly and worshipfully. The pastor went to the podium and said, “I don’t know why we are going back, but I think the Lord wants to do something.” In the very back of the church a woman cried out, jumped up and ran to the front where she threw herself down and began to sob. Upon investigation, we discovered she had been diagnosed with cancer on Friday and it had spread throughout her body. We called up the elders, anointed her with oil and prayed for her. On Tuesday she called in to report that on her return to the doctor, every trace of cancer had disappeared. Hallelujah! If we had not listened we would have missed a great opportunity to see God’s Glory. We need to prepare ourselves daily by spending time with the Lord, in reading the Word, in prayer and personal worship.