When Worship Leaders Pray More On Stage Than Off Stage

by Kristen Gilles

in Worship Leading

Worship Leader Carlos Whitaker recently posted a short but telling list of eight characteristics of a lukewarm worship leader.  Let’s talk about the lukewarm worship leader characteristic “When you pray more on stage than off stage.” Since worship leaders are not on stage as often as they are off the stage (everyday life), this really means a lukewarm worship leader spends very little time in prayer outside of gathered worship services.

My Papaw used to wear a button bearing the phrase “7 days without prayer makes one weak.”  Although corny, there’s some important truth in this saying.  Remember when Jesus encouraged His disciples to be watchful in prayer so that they would not give in to temptation “for the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak” (Mark 14:38)?  Consider also how often Jesus Himself withdrew to solitary places to commune with His Father.  This prayerful rhythm of Christ’s life is our example to follow.  After all, we do call Him “Lord.”

Our Lord Jesus has commissioned us to feed His sheep, to lead His sheep and to love His sheep.  We cannot do this well without spending time with the Great Shepherd of the Sheep, communing in prayer as we give Him our thanks and praise, as we roll our burdens onto Him, as we make our requests known to Him, as we confess our sins and acknowledge our ongoing need for grace upon grace.  We need the help of the Holy Spirit to follow the way of Christ in doing the work our Father has called us to do every time we step on the stage to lead others in worship of His name.

Communing with the Father in prayer can be done anywhere, anytime.  Even when we don’t know how or what to pray, the Holy Spirit helps us to pray:

“And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness.  For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for.  But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.  And the Father who knows all hearts knows what the Spirit is saying because the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.  And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.” (Romans 8:26-28)

This is a huge encouragement for us as we labor to pray and labor through prayer!  Whether you’re praying for yourself, your family, your worship team members, or whoever else God calls you to pray for, you can know that the Holy Spirit within you will pray perfectly according to God’s will, even when words fail you.

As you determine to pursue closer fellowship with our Lord in prayer, consider the helpful list of eight things to pray specifically as you prepare to love, lead and serve the people of your congregation each week, originally posted by Matt Boswell on The Gospel Coalition’s worship blog. Here are the first three:

1.    Lord, please help me to understand the meaning of the lyrics we sing and ensure they point to Christ.

2.    Lord, please increase my love for the people I will lead in worship.

3.    Lord, please give me wisdom to apply what I sing first to my own pursuit of truth, and call people to the same end.


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