Worship Leaders, Take This Challenge From Isaiah

by Kristen Gilles

in Worship Leading

photo of an ear, with a hand cupping it, as if listening intentlyFive years ago I was helping my mom clean out my grandparents’ house after my papaw passed away. I discovered a trove of treasures in my mamaw’s nightstand: a box full of scripture cards handwritten or typewritten by my mamaw and organized by theme.  This was part of my inheritance and I was delighted to lay hold of it. My mamaw was a woman of great grace and faith, overflowing with love for the Lord and His Word.  She was full of God’s Word too. It flowed out of her in songs and poems she wrote to the Lord, and it filled her conversations with family and friends as she spoke encouraging, timely words to heart after weary heart.

When I found her handwritten card for Isaiah 50:4, it occurred to me that my mamaw likely prayed this Scripture throughout her life as a believer.

“The Lord God has given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary. He wakens me morning by morning. He opens my ear to hear as the learned.” – Isaiah 50:4 (NKJV)

Anyone who knew her could testify that God surely answered her prayer for a learned tongue and the ability to speak a word in season to him who is weary.  Most everyone who knew her, including me, received such a word in their own seasons of weariness.

Five years ago I began to pray and ask God to waken me morning by morning and open my ear to hear as the learned so I might also have a learned tongue, and know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary.  In the past, I’d eagerly, zealously spoken many words, some in season, some untimely, some encouraging, some damaging. But as I continued to grow up in Christ, my heart desired more and more to speak truth in love, to encourage the downcast with God’s life-giving Word and unfailing promises.  I was eager to do this in conversations, emails, handwritten notes, blogs, text messages, prayers and songs. But to do that, I realized I must have an open ear and be willing to listen to the Holy Spirit and submit to the study and instruction of God’s Word.

As I’ve revisited this scripture card, which now sits on my desk at work, my heart has been stirred to pray this again, specifically regarding my service as a worship leader.  One of my primary functions is to make much of Christ, the Living Word, as I serve my church each week. Another function is to know the people that I’ve been charged to serve. And to know them is to know how weary they are most of the time.

To know them is to appreciate how heavy-hearted many of them are every time we gather.  And to be able to serve them well is to have an open ear and a learned tongue that knows, by the Spirit of God, how to speak a word in season to him who is weary.  To serve them well is to make much of Christ, the Living Word, who is not silent but always speaking life into every season we journey through.

Worship leaders, would you join me in praying Isaiah 50:4? Invite the Lord to waken you morning by morning, to open your ear to listen like one being instructed, to open your understanding to His will, to give you a well-instructed tongue and fill your mouth with His words of wisdom so that you know how to comfort the weary in your congregations.

As you read all of Isaiah 50, you’ll see that Jesus is speaking in this passage as our example in His own perfect submission to the instruction of the Lord.  He, too, was wakened morning by morning, with an open ear and a learned tongue that He might be able to speak a word to our weary hearts in all our seasons of suffering and hardship.  He continues to do this as our faithful and perfect Worship Leader, and He calls us to follow Him in service and for the glory of His name.

“The Lord God gave me the ability to teach so that I know what to say to make the weak strong. Every morning He wakes me. He teaches me to listen like a student.” (Isaiah 50:4, NCV)


L. Willis August 19, 2014 at 1:53 pm

Appreciate this great reminder especially as the Lord leads me in a new devotional blog, my 4th and that I can share God’s promises to those who have placed or are the verge of placing their trust in God. I wait to hear from my Lord before sharing and pray that He is honored most of all. Thank you for sharing. Loretta, http://www.hisperfumingprocess.com

Kristen Gilles August 19, 2014 at 3:59 pm

You’re welcome, Loretta! And THANK YOU! 🙂 May the Lord be highly honored through His Words spoken through you for the encouragement of others!

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