Almost every Thursday night, I gather with a group of musicians to rehearse the music for the weekend worship services. Like many other worship rehearsals at churches across the nation, we are normally focussed on the task of working through the songs to make sure we are all on the same page and ready to go for the weekend. It is not all about the task of preparation, but that is often the main goal. We pray together. We worship. But there is always that goal of being prepared in the back of our minds. It’s actually at the forefront of my mind most weeks if I’m completely honest. But worship rehearsal is more than a task to accomplish.
I often encourage myself and the team to engage in worshiping God during our rehearsals because we cannot lead anyone where we are not already going. We have to be worshippers before we can lead others in worship. After sound check last night, I led us directly into the task of rehearsing. There is nothing inherently wrong with that, but My focus was on the task rather than The One we worship.
After we went through two songs, our bass player this week asked if we could pray. It wasn’t about anything specific. We didn’t need to pray because we were off track and needed to refocus. He was sensitive to the leading of The Holy Spirit, and that brief pause is what I needed to see where The Spirit wanted to lead our team.
A Different Kind of Rehearsal
Rehearsal was different after that. We didn’t actually rehearse anything else. I pulled out stools for us to sit in a circle. Everyone put their instruments down and I grabbed my acoustic guitar. Maybe it’s the events of the past two weeks that set the tone in my heart. Maybe it was the spiritual atmosphere that was still hovering in the room from our worship service on Tuesday. I think it might have just been 7 worship leaders with a longing to seek Jesus that turned rehearsal into a night of worship, prayer, and healing.
As we were beginning to wrap things up, we spent some time in prayer for each other. As we were praying, I had a sensation of sympathetic pain in my right knee. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, it has to do with hearing from God. Some people receive pictures of what to prophesy over people. Sometimes thoughts come to mind regarding the struggles or pain that someone is experiencing. Then there are sympathetic pains that mirror the pain that someone is experiencing. These messages from God are cue points for us to respond with prayer.
I asked if anyone was experiencing pain in their knee, and no one spoke up. I pressed for a response a little longer, but still nothing, so I assumed I was imagining it or misunderstanding what God was saying. We continued in prayer and worship together, and then said our goodnights.
Cling To Jesus
As we wrapped up, I talked about how we often want to cling to the experiences like last night. We have mountaintop experiences in the presence of God and want to take those experiences with us. The problem is that an experience happens for a moment. Whether we try to take the experience with us or try to reproduce it, the memory will eventually fade or dull and the attempts at a sequel never seem to match the original experience.
That’s because we should be pursuing the author of that experience. We should be in pursuit of Jesus above all. Chasing miracles brings disappointment. Running after healing brings exhaustion. Pursuing prophecy brings confusion. But when we seek Jesus, we will see miracles, healing, prophecy, and an increase of spiritual fruit in our lives.
After everyone had gone, I sat in my car and thanked God for the privilege to lead before hitting the road to do some Uber driving. As I started towards the city, my first request was the opposite direction. I turned around and headed south, still singing yet another worship song.
A Word of Knowledge
I mentioned the sympathetic pains that I experienced during our prayer time together. Sometimes that is called a word of knowledge because God is giving knowledge that would not have been known without being told. Even though no one said they were having pain, I knew it wasn’t my own pain. It’s hard to explain how to tell the difference between personal pain and sympathetic pain other than it’s just different.
When I arrived to pick up my first rider of the night, I noticed that the man had a limp as he approached the car. As we proceeded to his destination, I mentioned that I noticed him limping and asked if everything was ok. He told me that he had fractured his knee a while ago and aggravated it while kneeling at work. I’ve not asked many strangers if I can pray for them, and so there is still some apprehension when it comes to that nudge to do so. I asked him which knee was in pain, and he responded that it was his right knee.
You can call it a coincidence, but I refuse to. As soon as I heard “right knee,” I knew it was a less than subtle nudge to respond with prayer. I asked if I could pray for him and he said, “yes.” It was not awkward at all, and opened up our conversation as we continued towards his destination. I didn’t ask if he felt any different, but he began to share about his life. That’s another story for another post. I will note here that he is actually moving back to Houston, Texas, in a couple of weeks. If you’ve been following along, you know that I am headed there for a mission trip in a couple of weeks. Is that another coincidence, or evidence that this was truly a divine appointment?
The Creator Continues to Create
Don’t cling to your experiences. They were good and it’s ok to remember them, but your Creator wants to create new experiences. Cling to Jesus and experience new encounters with Him.
I am the Lord, who opened a way through the waters,
making a dry path through the sea.
I called forth the mighty army of Egypt
with all its chariots and horses.
I drew them beneath the waves, and they drowned,
their lives snuffed out like a smoldering candlewick.
“But forget all that—
it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.
For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.”
Isaiah 43:16-19 (NLT)
If last night is any indication of what God has planned for this weekend, then there is going to be a significant move of God in our church. He is doing something new. He has already begun.