Worship Revolution, Part 2 by Carol Kiger-Rice
Part 2: Worship and the Prophetic
In part 1 of the ‘Worship Revolution’, we discussed worship as a priority. This article will focus on worship and the prophetic.
What is Prophetic Worship?
That is the question! King David seemed to know, because the record of his life records that he set apart for service, “..some of the sons of Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun, who were to prophesy with lyres, harps, and cymbals…” (I Chronicles. 25:1). Note that the verse says they PROPHESIED, according to the kings’ commandment. Verses 2, 3 and 5 of the same chapter, also speak of the worship leaders being prophetic, and seem to indicate that instruments were to prophesy, and that worship itself would be prophetic. These worship leaders were assumed to be prophetic in their duties. Webster’s Ninth Collegiate Dictionary defines prophecy as, “the inspired declaration of divine will and purpose”. To prophesy means, “to utter, by divine inspiration” (also Webster’s Ninth). It was supposed, that these worship leaders would be declaring and speaking forth, what the Lord was inspiring them to say.
The tendency in most church worship services, has been to pick a song list, and stick to that list all the way through, with no change, no shift, no lingering. Even if the Holy Spirit comes and we sense that He is really doing something in our midst, we must move on and stay with the program… after all, time is of the essence, isn’t’ it? Well, the truth is, the Lord is not in a hurry. Shouldn’t’t we desire to linger in His presence, especially if He is doing some work during our time of worship? This is what I would consider the prophetic flow. It is allowing the Lord to lead us, as HE sees fit, rather than sticking to our programs come “hell or high water.”
Here is an Example
What if we plan on doing a set list that focuses on warfare. But, after we start, we see that there is a greater need for intimacy in the room. What do we do? Do we stick to our program and muscle through the songs, losing sight of the fact that the Lord is really doing something else that day? Or do we possibly decide, in the moment, to throw out those last 3 songs, and spontaneously put in a song of intimacy that leads to a powerful, and transforming work within peoples’ hearts. THAT’S A PROPHETIC ACT!!!! It’s following the leading of the Lord, for that moment, and acting in to what is on HIS heart right then, for the people!!
Perhaps we’ve decided to focus on the love and personal connection between individuals and Jesus. What if, as we start that day, the Lord wants us to be in intercessory mode, and desires us to pray for a breakthrough in our community (note that worship and intercession are linked in Revelation 5:8, and 8:3,& 4)? Do we stubbornly choose to stick to our agenda’s and miss what the Lord has for the city?
Trusting the Lord
Are you terrified yet? Are you wondering if mass chaos and pandemonium will break out if we relinquish that kind of control? And by the way, how do we even KNOW if that’s what the Lord wants? I think alot of this has to do with trusting the Lord and His guidance. If we ask Him for bread, will He give us a stone? No way–He is good Father!!! The Best!! He will not leave us or forsake us. If we are asking Him to come into our worship services, and our hearts are willing to let that happen, He WILL come, because He desires to be with us.
The other safeguard is that the Lord is in every believer (Eph. 4:4-6). That being the case, we also are reminded of I Cor. 14: 26, Eph. 5:19, and Col. 3:16, which all basically assume that each gathering of believers will include a contribution from each person (by the way, the size of the gathering isn’t mentioned …could be large or small). This includes the area of worship with, “songs, hymns, spiritual songs”. So, everyone contributes. And, if we have one Spirit, He is going to lead each one to contribute what is on His heart for the day. As we worship together, He will lead each one. And, at the end of the day, hopefully, we will have experienced what was on HIS heart for the time allotted. Of course, all of this is risky, and requires leaders who are willing to take those risks. But, if we truly want to see the LORD take back His church, and guide US on the way, we have got to be willing to take some risks as we gather together. Yes, people will make mistakes, because we are human, and fallible. But I would rather be known for trying to hear the voice of the Lord, and missing it sometimes, than simply shutting out His voice altogether.
I think, at the root of most of our programs, is that we simply don’t know how to do it any other way. We think we are serving people by setting such a strict agenda and sticking to it. At some level, maybe we ARE serving the PEOPLE. But are we serving the LORD? It takes a major adjustment to reconsider doing worship in a more free and prophetic style. But the rewards are sooo worthwhile, because we start to experience GOD’s heart and desire, rather than always focusing on our own. And remember, worship is for GOD, not for us.
If, in the Bible, Scripture equates worship and worship leaders with being prophetic, shouldn’t we also? The prophets would speak forth what the Lord was telling them. Remember Isaiah, Ezekiel, Moses, Stephen, Hulda, Deborah, and the daughters of Philip? They spoke what the Lord said. And the worship leaders were known to be prophetic. They would have spoken/sung/played what the Lord was saying. David was known as the ‘sweet psalmist of Israel’ (II Sam. 23:1). He wrote over half of the songs known as the book of Psalms. Many, many of those Psalms are prophetic, and point to the coming of the Messiah. Note Psalm 2, 16, 22, 69, 110, among others.
Less well known are the psalms/songs written by some of the temple worship leaders. Among these, you will find Asaph, Heman, Ethan (Jeduthun), and the sons of Korah, who were an organization of singers and songwriters. Check out Psalms 73 through 89. If you read these works, you might notice the interactive and intercessory nature of these Psalms. There is a prophetic cry for the Lord to have mercy on the nation of Israel. We see the responsive voice of the Lord in Psalms 50, (written by Asaph), 75, 81. These songs have a tone similar to that of the prophetic books of Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel. There is even a cry for revival in Psalm 85! Among the minor prophets, Habakkuk, was possibly a Levite who performed the service of worship in the temple. Chapters 1, verse 1, and 3, verse 19, seem to indicate both a prophetic and a worship role for him. It seems pretty plain that worship was known and expected to be a prophetic act within the nation of Israel.
Even Jesus was a prophet (Prophet, Priest & King). Aren’t we to be like Jesus? Oh, most definitely!!! How did we get so far away from prophetic worship in our Christianity today? That is probably a topic for another conversation. But for the purposes of our discussion here, and with the Bible being our standard, it seems clear and Biblical that we should be prophetic when we gather to worship. This means giving the Holy Spirit access to our hearts, and then to our services, letting Him direct us, even if it means we never do one single song that we picked. Hey, it just means you’ve got to get a bigger repertoire of songs! Or, learn how to interact as a band with prophetic sounds that come in the moment. It also means helping the congregation learn how they can contribute, because our skills in sharing in the church service have become pretty dormant, I’d guess. Imagine the pastor, or other leader, holding a mic in the congregation, and if someone has Scripture the Lord has given them for the moment, he or she comes forward to share it. In response, the worship leader and worship team, might move into a song that perfectly fits that theme! OR, they move into singing a phrase or verse of the Scripture, so that the whole congregation can sing with them!! OR, they model the sound of the Scripture, or prayer. For example: drums symbolize the authority of the Lord, so if the Scripture or prayer speak of GOD’s authority, the drums play more freely & authoritatively. Keyboards/piano often reveal the sense of the grace of GOD flowing upon us. Violins might bring forth the cry of the heart, be it the Lords’ or ours. Flutes might bring a sense of child likeness and light. Now you’ve just moved into GOD’s prophetic call for that moment!! How exciting! In addition, you’ve just allowed your congregation to contribute to the whole flow, and to GOD’s heart for the day also.
Does this mean no one has any direction or plan for the day? No. Hopefully, what we plan is of the Lord. We can plan, praying that the Lord is in it. But we just need to be more open to the move of the Lord in the moment. In other words, give our services back to Him, because they belong to Him anyway, right?!!
Be encouraged. It’s time!!
Our next article will discuss the relationship between prophetic worship, and community, and how the two are mutually dependent upon one another, both within a worship team, and within the gathering of peoples known as the ‘congregation’.