A few years back, I was serving with a worship team at a retreat weekend that we put together every year for the youth in our church. One of our team members suggested that we pray through each of the songs that we were planning to lead with that weekend during one of our practices together. We gladly hopped on board with their suggestion and simply took turns pleading the lyrics of the songs to God. We prayed through each one and asked that He might work freely and powerfully through them, and through us as a team that weekend. That youth retreat ended up being one of the most powerful weekends of praise and worship that I have ever been a part of. At the time, praying through the lyrics of the songs we were planning to sing seemed like such an unorthodox thing to do. But, even now, it is something that I try to do each week, and has greatly impacted my attitude and focus when leading worship. Why does this work? Is it in God’s will? These were questions I found myself considering initially. After some meditation on what prayer truly should be for us as worship leaders, I was able to see the power in praying the songs we sing.
As believers, we know that God’s Word is sovereign. Praying scripture is one of the best ways to ensure that we are praying what is within God’s will, that our hearts are focused upon Him alone, and that our flesh is not getting in the way of that. This is because, when we do so, we are literally praying the perfect Word of God that has been given to instruct and lead us closer to Him in the first place. The idea of praying songs of praise and worship comes from this same train of thought. As worship leaders, shouldn’t we desire that our hearts and minds are focused completely upon the songs that we plan to minister with? Shouldn’t we desire to be led by The Spirit alone when we lead and not by our own thoughts, attitudes, and desires?
So many of the worship songs we are so familiar with, and even biblical psalms for that matter, are either desperate pleas to God, proclamations of his glory, or reiterations of His perfect Word. If you begin to desperately pray these pleas, proclamations, and reiterations of scripture with your team each week, I pray you will find yourself more in tune to with The Spirit’s leading and more aware of how important what we’ve been called to do truly is. This reminds me of something a great man of God once told me, and I will leave you with this; “As worship leaders, we should never view ourselves as such. There is too much room for pridefulness in that. Instead, always know that you are first, and most importantly, a lead worshipper.”