So good to be back with you in our study of "Pure Praise" - I regret I was unable to share in the dialog online last week while I was at the re:create conference; however, I did read last week and found it to be powerful.
This week is on "Five Essentials to Effective Worship Services".
Today's teaching was on the necessity of prayer. Immediately, I could hear all of these voices saying "duh, prayer, prayer, we know that".
OK - so how many of us reading this right now spent 15+ minutes or more in dedicated prayer today before starting on our tasks? (By dedicated, I mean - not talking to God while dressing the kids, etc, but getting away in a room or space, and praying.)
I'm very guilty ... I know how important prayer is, and honestly - I do communicate with God throughout the day in prayer. I often speak out loud to him, just as if he were sitting in my office. People probably think I'm on a "bluetooth" headset when I'm in the car alone - because I frequently talk to God, out loud, as if He were sitting in the passenger's seat. (Isn't he?)
Let's discuss today's teaching. How's your prayer life?
The goals for the past 4 weeks have been that we:
1. get to know and fall more in love with God
2. establish a daily habit of praising and loving on God
3. learn to listen to and better discern when He speaks to us
Now we come to the "good stuff." From here on out we will address topics that are more practical and specific for those of us who help lead others in praise each week. That's not to say that there isn't plenty of personal application for any believer, because there is. However, I believe you will find lots of great insights and helpful teaching from God's Word that can make you a better leader of corporate worship.
So dig in and keep climbing this mountain of discovery! (There's an incredible "view from the top" for those of us who stay on the journey through all 9 weeks!)
And like Fred said, beware of thinking "duh." Remember, this study is much more concerned about our doing than just our knowing...
I have to confess that I am one who has spent little time asking God to lead me in my song selection, or to make me sensitive, or really, to be my guide.
This study IS changing me from the inside, and I truly am becoming who God designed me to be. Praise the Lord!
Today's lesson very powerfully points us to the absolute necessity of a genuine prayer life. God, give me the will to become a real prayer warrier.
The verse about prayer that grabbed my attention was Jamse 5:16.
This a verse that I have struggled with for years; it says the prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. I have always looked at "righteousness" as something that I must work to acheive- if I become good enough, my prayers will be effective. What I have come to understand is that my righteousness is like filthy rags; I can never be righteous enough for my prayers to be effective. It is God's righteousness, in me, that is the key to effective prayer. It's all about Him....
Knowing that truth is wonderfully freeing. All I have to do is be faithful to obey him, and his righteousness will accomplish his work in me.
I hope my rambling makes sense
God, I thank you that I don't have to attain some level of piety before my prayers become effective. Thank you that it is your righteousness, not mine. God, give me the guts and determination to discipline myself to pray more, to create those occasions for genuine, committed prayer. Give me just a glimpse of what you can do when your people pray. And I will be sure to give you all the glory.
I can echo these two comments. I "talk" to God all day long, but don't spend enough time praying. I need to pray more, and "do" less. For me, it all comes back to that same old lesson God keeps trying to teach us: Obediance begets significance.
Love ONE woman...MANY guitars!
" What we desperately need to happen in our worship services is for God to move off the pages of our orders of worship and into the hearts of our congregation". (pg. 74) The only way that this is going to happen is through prayer. Like Fred, I am always talking to God like He were physically next to me, but I rarely take those 15 or so minutes to be quiet and just LISTEN!!!
In the silence He speaks.
A verse that comes to mind is 1 Kings 19:11-12. Elijah is running from Jezebel. He is hiding in a cave of depression and fear. It is only when he leaves the cave and goes to the edge that He begins to hear from God. Sometimes, we need to attempt to get out of our selves to hear God. It is there he waited until God spoke . . .
"And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake:
And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice." I am afraid of quiet. I hate it. As an Italian New Yorker, my family and I are LOUD! But we are in a time and season where we need to quiet ourselves before the Lord and wait on the still small voice - wait and pray.
Yes, I to can hear those voices saying "duh!" (mine being one of them!)... but I am also guilty of going it alone much more often than necessary.
When was the last time I got away and just listened? Honestly, I can't remember. I usually at the very least have music playing in the background, of not more noisy things going on (two of which are precious gifts!)
Today the music is off. The girls are at school. The only noises that I can hear besides my typing right now is whatever is going on outside my house - which I cannot control. This time is for God - to seek Him, to see where He wants to lead me.
I need to take the time to listen, and God has given me the gift of an opportunity to do just that.
My prayer life isn't what it should be. The last 6 months, I've done a good job of making a daily habit of reading the Bible. But spending real time in prayer still isn't a habit.
This Sunday morning, I think the lack of prayer was pretty evident. Sometimes we get in a hurry and forget to pray before soundcheck. Sunday was one of those days. We were late getting started, didn't have time to run through all the songs, and I never got comfortable. I felt uptight all morning. There wasn't much worshipping going on for me...
TWC, I have not been one of these persons that go ahead of the lesson. So until this weekend, I had no clue that the lesson was on prayer. The strange thing about it is - that I know God has a sense of humor. I taught the women in prison this last week on the subject of prayer. And here it is again facing me with the question “How’s your prayer life?”
Well, last week in instructing them, I realized that I had to do some things that I was teaching them. My prayer life is good; but like everything else concerning the Lord, it can stand improvement also. One of the main things, that stand out for me is that our lives change from day-to-day, so therefore our prayer life has to change also.
For example, I believe in not praying a repetition prayer. Although, I realize last week when I was telling the ladies that when praying, use the name of God. That was what I was not doing. For example, when praying for others and self, and maybe you are praying for healing, and then ask Jehovah-Rophe for healing. Praying for provision then ask Jehovah-Jireh, when praying for peace, ask Jehovah-Shalom, God is a God of faith, and I believe that when the model prayer stated “Hallowed Be Thy Name;” then it was giving me the open to ask in His names.
Our lesson states that “prayer puts our focus on God where it belongs.” Just as there are different rules that apply to the various kinds of sports, so there are different rules that apply to the different kinds of prayer. Too many times we think that all prayer is the same and that we should pray the same way about everything in life. But that way of thinking leads to ineffectiveness in prayer! It would be foolish to try to play baseball with basketball rules, or football with soccer rules. However, we often do that with our prayer life and then we wonder why we have limited results.
My prayer life needed improvement. I thank God for the lesson last week and the lesson this week in pure praise. My Heavenly Father, Jehovah-Jireh, I thank you for sending me the provision and fullness of the Holy Spirit to increase and direct my prayer life for your glory and the edification of the body of Christ. Lord, forgive me for falling short and grant me the opportunity to grow successfully within an effective prayer life. Amen.
Worshipers, what do you think would begin to happen if we, as Worship Leaders, or Worship Team members, committed to 10-minutes of prayer every day, that was dedicated to asking God to lead us (and our congregations) in discovering the heart of worship .. in helping us to become worshipers in "spirit and truth"?