Not long ago, my worship was radically changed, for the better. It was not because I was listening to better music or singing more songs, instead it was because of the way I sang the songs. Rather than singing just words on a JumboTron screen, I began to pray with a singing voice.

This is not a new idea by any means. For the past 2000 years, followers of Christ have sung songs that were rich in theology and they did so with the idea that the songs were psalms that were meant to be prayed. I just feel many of us may have lost this somewhere along the way as music and songs have been reduced to a “set” or a “list”. It’s what we do before the really important stuff like preaching and teaching happens. It has become a warm-up when it was meant to be the fire.

What if the song list became a prayer list? What if worship pastors paid attention and called attention to what God was doing among the people and then responded with selections that guided the congregation into prayer, reflection, and declarations of truth? Suddenly the fellowship is not a crowd waiting to be wowed, but a spiritual force praying in unity for what God is doing on the earth at that moment, at that very time.

I imagine more people would arrive early instead of showing up halfway through the “opening act.” Worship pastors and senior pastors would be required to meet and pray, and then listen. Then maybe, the song list would become prophetic anthems, speaking encouragement, comfort and strength to followers who are desperate for a cup of cold water.

Let’s arrive early for the next gathering intent on singing only words that we really believe. Let’s trust that praying in unity with a singing voice really matters.

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