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36 hours had passed after our second time lifting up the name of Jesus as part of over 10,000 people at Bridgestone Arena, downtown Nashville, Tennessee. In what has become a ritual and a most cherished time for staffers we met to pray for Angus and his team before they left for their return to South Africa. At each of these send-off’s Angus was given an opportunity to speak to and thank our staff for our investment in he and his team while in America. You see, by this point, he was spent. Not only had he just overcome jet lag (only to reencounter it hours later) but Angus had poured his life into hundreds of people individually on top of speaking to crowds of thousands. So, here we were, getting to hear his encouraging final remarks. He had always spoke from the heart, seemingly lead by the Holy Spirit and, in times before, had spoken something that would engage my mind to ponder for days/weeks later. This was one of those times. Angus stood and said something like this:

When He’s asked to speak at an event, even one as large as that of 50,000+ people in an arena, he always begins by asking the referrer: “How’s the prayer?”. What type of preparatory and systematic prayer time has been put in place before the event’s conception and then what prayer effort will be set in place leading to the event itself. If their response is insufficient Angus would be hard pressed to participate.

[Angus Buchan is a world traveling Christian evangelist from South Africa. Similar in scope and style to Billy Graham, Angus has hosted events for hundreds of thousands of people. He participates occasionally in helping political resolution among union groups in S.A. Recently he has been helping with revival meetings in the United States.]

His response “How’s the prayer?” still touches my heart to this day. It relates very easily when we think about the heart of our worship teams. For as much time spent rehearsing and then performing our worship songs are we at least spending time in prayer waiting on the Holy Spirit? Are we concerned with the correctness of our notes and the positivity of our attitudes, but less so about inviting the Lord to do the part that we can’t: change the human heart?

When God released the Israelites from Egyptian slavery he set up systems. He gave them order. One of the ways he did so was by giving each tribe a job title. The Levites (all thousand upon thousand of them) were given the responsibility to care for every other Israelite by way of priestly duty. Some were called to move the tabernacle when the Israelites set out. Others were charged to bring sacrifices from God’s people to the Lord to atone for their sin. They had to wave some offerings, burn others. In essence they were physically praying on behalf of their fellow man. This work is still being done today, but it’s not the familial line of demarkation that matters, rather it’s our involvement in our local church that lends us our responsibility.

Before any action taken on stage we ought to be spending some time together in prayer. As my pastor says: “On my best day I can’t heal a gnats wing”. Only God can do the supernatural. In all cases, God only moves on the hearts of people when they are willing. He doesn’t impose his will. If he did I imagine we’d all have quit sinning a long time ago. That is why is so important that we acknowledge his presence in the room and then equally acknowledge our willingness to see his handiwork. This can only come through prayer.

I’m certain that many of you reading this spend a moment or more praying for the people joining you for worship. You pray for your teams. You also pray that the Spirit of God would move. My desire is to remind you to keep this as a main thing. Don’t give your leftover time to it. Pray multiple times in multiple ways. Make sure that everyone on your team is participating often. Encourage them all to come “prayed up” (whatever that might mean, even though I use that term, ha!). A musically mediocre team performing simple worship songs, but totally anointed through prayer will be highly more effective than a polished team with no anointing. Our end goal is to see lives transformed more and more into the likeness of Jesus. He can do that and we can be involved, we just have to ask.

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 (NKJV)

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

So, “How’s the prayer” with your teams? Do you pray before you head into a worship service, regardless if you are performing or not? I’ve learned to pray this prayer at each planned encounter with God: “Lord, please let your Spirit rest on me”. Whether that is when I’m reading my Bible at home or headed into Sunday worship, that prayer comes along. Do you have a prayer you often bring to the Lord that allows for his leading? Please comment or private email. I’d love to know!

-Micah Brooks