Sometimes, the task of keeping a nice, even pace is easier than at others. Some days, my rhythmic sense doesn't seem to jive with the rest of the musicians. Even though I'm doing my best to faithfully lay down the beat the way we've rehearsed it, I'm off.
This is one of the reasons our worship teams pray before we lead worship. Our MAIN prayer is to ask that God use us to glorify himself, and to get our musical egos out of the way. Our worship is an offering to God, not a celebration of the gifts he has bestowed upon us. We firmly believe that God is happy with our praise, regardless of our levels of proficiency on our instruments. On the other hand, none of us want to botch the music to the point that our imperfections are so glaring, it distracts the congregation from smooth, spontaneous worship.
Just before we open our first song of the day, I silently hold out my drumsticks, hands-up, praying that the Holy Spirit guide my hands, feet and soul through the songs. My basis for this is Romans 8:26:
"The Spirit also helps our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words."
Once I've prayed like this, my mind can get out of the way. I've practiced, we've rehearsed as a team, and now it's all up to the Holy Spirit himself to help us worship the way it should be done. Only God knows what tempo best glorifies him. Only God knows what musical 'feel' is going to touch the congregation's collective heart, and in turn, bring Him glory. Only God knows how best He should be glorified and praised.
This prayer never seems to go unanswered. As a matter of fact, the worship team leaders taught me to EXPECT supernatural assistance. Sure enough, on the Sundays when our sound check reveals that our sound is "off the mark," those are the days when the congregation later comments that "you guys were really FEELING IT up there!" Guess who guided the musical arrow to the bull's eye that day? Hint - it rhymes with "Hear it."
I've got much more to share regarding the relationship between musical worship and matters of the Spirit, but those insights will have to wait for further posts. In the meantime, this post is my own reminder to take this lesson, and apply it to ALL areas of my life. If the Holy Spirit can help me and my fellow worshippers play music, surely, he can assist us with other areas of life.
Wow, even as I write this piece, God is confirming for me the truth of this issue. I wanted to close this entry with a line of scripture, so I googled the phrase "You can do nothing without God's help." What results did Google bring?
John 15:5 - "I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing."
At this point, it shouldn't surprise me that the Spirit would lead me to a passage that I've already encountered this week. John, chapter 15 is the EXACT chapter that we examined this past Tuesday at a weekly men's Bible study. I'm laughing as I type this. God's timing, indeed! Praise God!