Things to Pray for Before a Service

If you’re anything like me, and if your worship team is anything like mine, sometimes when you gather to pray (and I hope you do) before a service, you can either blank on what to pray or you can tend to pray the same sort of thing. What kinds of things are we supposed to pray for before a service? Here are some ideas:

That your worship team would be unified in the Spirit
All of us have different gifts, but we all belong to the same body (1 Corinthians 12:12-13). Your worship team needs the Spirit’s help to act as one body, not a bunch of individual members.

That Jesus would be made central
John the Baptist said in John 3:30 that “(Jesus) must increase, but I must decrease”. The Psalmist wrote in Psalm 115:1, “Not to us… but to your name give glory…”. These are our prayers, and we need the Holy Spirit to help us decrease and to help Jesus to increase (John 16:14).

That God’s word would be preached faithfully
The “sword of the Spirit” mentioned in Ephesians 6:17 isn’t a synthesizer pad or a cool transition. The sword of the Spirit is the word of God. We should be praying that God’s word is preached boldly and faithfully, and that what we do supports it.

That people would sing from their hearts
In Matthew 15:8 Jesus lamented the people who honored him with their lips but whose hearts were far from him. One of our jobs is to help prevent lip-service to Jesus. We need the Holy Spirit for this, since he is the only one who can search our hearts (Romans 8:27).

That you would lead with Spirit-inspired excellence
If I wanted to, I could play an excellent guitar solo. But it wouldn’t do any good. Excellence on its own is useless. Excellence for the purpose of God’s glory and the congregation’s edification is commanded (Psalm 33:3). We need God’s help to discern the difference between being impressive for the sake of impressing, or excellent for the sake of serving.

That unbelievers would be convicted by the Holy Spirit
Here’s an understatement: there are certain things God can do that you can’t do. You might be a great worship leader but you can’t convict unbelievers of sin. In 1 Corinthians 14:24-25, Paul says that one advantage of prophecy is that an unbeliever can be “convicted… and declare that God is really among you”. This is why you should pray that God helps you lead prophetically, in the power of the Holy Spirit, so that even unbelievers will see God’s glory.

That you would be led by the Holy Spirit
Don’t just plow through your song list and rush through it without taking time to let God lead you to repeat, underline, emphasize, or even skip certain things. If the Holy Spirit lives in you, then (this is amazing) you can know the very thoughts of God (1 Corinthians 2:11). What you’re thinking is important. But what God is thinking is more important. Pray that the Holy Spirit speaks clearly to you what’s on God’s heart as you lead.

That the time of singing would bear fruit
It’s not enough to give people a pleasant singing experience on Sunday mornings. We should be changed every time we encounter God individually or corporately. One of the main ways our time of singing can bear fruit is for the words we sing to sink deep down in our hearts and stay there during the week, reminding us of the truths we’ve sung (Colossians 3:16).

That your sound engineer will have wisdom and energy
Seriously, pray for your sound engineer(s) anyone else on the AV team at your church. Too often worship teams treat their audiovisual colleagues like second-class citizens. Pray for them, honor them, thank them, and be understanding when something goes wrong. They need God’s help to stay attentive, to be able to engage in worship, and to maintain servants hearts while in the background.

That you would lead, sing, and play beyond your natural abilities
There are many instances in scripture when the Holy Spirit enables someone to operate beyond their normal ability (Moses in Exodus 31:3, David in 2 Samuel 12:32, Ezekiel (all throughout the book), Micah in chapter 3:8, Zechariah in Luke 1:67, Stephen in Acts 6:10, and Peter in Acts 11:12). These are normal people to whom God gives supernatural strength for the demonstration of his power and the proclamation of his good news. Worship leaders would be wise to ask for that same supernatural strength, every single Sunday.

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