Have you ever said something like this to your people?
“Okay, Choir. You guys move out of the loft during the prayer after the song.”
“I’ll just close out with a quick prayer and you can move to the microphone then.”
“Hey band, when the Pastor starts praying, you guys move on out and come back during his closing prayer.”
Ever given instructions like these? I sure have. As worship leaders, we are always thinking about the connective tissue of our services. When is the best time for the choir to exit? How do I get the singers in place to sing during the offertory? What will be the signal to the ushers to come down for the offering?
Often the answer to questions like these is, “During the prayer.”
But, think about that just a little bit. What does that say about what we believe about prayer? And, even further, what does it say to our children? Do we really believe the most important function prayer has in our services is to provide cover for the musicians that need to move?
What if we did this instead –
“Right now, we are going to spend some time in prayer as a church. This is a very important part of our worship, so we will choose not to rush through this. The choir is going to move to their seats and all of you are free to move to this altar or just sit or kneel where you are. Let’s pray silently first and then the Pastor will close out our time in a few minutes.”
Nothing feels rushed, the musicians are included, and the importance of prayer is emphasized.
Think about trying this before the service during the sound check –
“I’m asking all of the band and singers not to move at all during the prayer time, but instead, really pray. As a matter of fact, I’d love it if some of you felt the freedom to move to the altar as the church prays together. When the prayer time is over, feel free to exit the loft and move to your seats.”
Let’s think about the way we treat prayer in our services, worship leaders. And, maybe we could lead the church in more than just the music – maybe we could model for the church how vital prayer is in our worship response.
Mike Harland is the Director of LifeWay Worship. When he’s not directing 30+ employees, you’ll find him leading worship at various churches around the country, writing/arranging worship songs and/or, writing his next book. In his spare time, he loves playing basketball and spending time with his family. Mike can be found on Twitter @MikeHarlandLW and on facebook.com/Mike.Harland.37.