Sometimes it’s hard to know what to pray after a song, if, as the worship leader you’re expected to pray in order to conclude a time of singing or transition into a different part of the service.
There are many ways you can handle this. Sometimes you can leave a period of silence, to encourage people to wait on the Lord and cherish his presence. After some time passes you can briefly pray and encourage people to be seated afterwards. Other times you might feel led to thank God for something you’ve been made freshly aware of as you’ve sung. Sometimes I don’t think I need to add anything at all, so I’ll just say “amen” after a few seconds of lingering on the last chord of a song.
But you don’t always have to make something up on the fly. Reading from Scripture is a great way to “pray” after a song, or reading a pre-written prayer.
This past Sunday we finished our opening time of singing with the familiar Tim Hughes song “Here I Am to Worship”. I would typically be the one to pray after the last song, but on this particular Sunday I looked over at John Yates, my pastor, and he signaled that he wanted to pray instead.
He got up and read an ancient prayer, called the Te Deum laudamus, In the Anglican church this is found in our Book of Common Prayer and in many churches it’s read almost every Sunday. As he prayed, I kept playing piano just to help give a bit of support. (I don’t always play background music when I or someone else prays, but sometimes it seems like it would be helpful.)
Here’s a clip of the song ending and then John closing the time of singing with the prayer.
You are God: we praise you; You are the Lord: we acclaim you;
You are the eternal Father: All creation worships you.
To you all angels, all the powers of heaven,
Cherubim and Seraphim, sing in endless praise:
Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
The glorious company of apostles praise you.
The noble fellowship of prophets praise you.
The white-robed army of martyrs praise you.
Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you;
Father, of majesty unbounded,
your true and only Son, worthy of all worship,
and the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.
You, Christ, are the king of glory,
the eternal Son of the Father.
When you became man to set us free
you did not shun the Virgin’s womb.
You overcame the sting of death
and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers.
You are seated at God’s right hand in glory.
We believe that you will come and be our judge.
Come then, Lord, and help your people,
bought with the price of your own blood,
and bring us with your saints to glory everlasting.
Don’t get into a rut of praying the same thing every Sunday after a time of singing. There is a time for silence, for spontaneous prayer, for expressing gratefulness to God, for reading Scripture, and for taking advantage of the amazing prayers that have been passed down from generations of faithful Christians.