Worship leader ROLAND WORTON identifies how God is raising up a new kind of powerfully anointed worship musician. Tony Cummings reports.
In the current climate of praise and worship there's a growing need to understand, and even develop vocabulary for, the progressive move toward "prophetic worship" and the equipment that God is releasing in his psalmists and minstrels. The corporate gathering is being redefined - we're finding 24 hour houses of prayer emerging in the nations, an increase in the gathering and mobilisation of the city- wide church, and meetings devoid of an agenda beyond seeking the face of God. In all of this, the role of prophetic worship is increasingly coming to the forefront.
Much of our praise and worship remains in the "priestly" - the offering of earth to Heaven, the "I love you" of people caught in a love affair with the Creator. However, there needs to be a natural progression into prophetic worship, one that most of our gatherings don't currently have. We will find increasingly that those remaining only in the priestly sustain a rich devotional life but often forfeit the momentum to take necessary steps forward. Equally, those that only embrace the prophetic lose sight of the relational aspect of Father, seeking to move with him at the expense of being with him. The Spirit of God is transforming and forming corporate groups of the Spirit-led to see the marrying and function of both -standing in the priestly as children of God who minister to Heaven and dynamic in the prophetic as proclaimers to their cities, nations and governments.
Earlier this year I saw a vision. Young musicians were hidden away in tents set in various locations in a barren wasteland. They worked with materials that were not clearly identifiable to the natural eye - articles that I couldn't describe. They were being pieced together in various combinations with an emphasis upon "forging" a sound. Many had glimpsed what they were looking for. The noise emerging from the dwellings was muffled and stifled as an angel with a trumpet stood and played over the earth. As time passed, I saw that the "sounds of Heaven" came forth and a great shaft of light broke upwards and opened a highway - a clear and open Heaven. It was music that the Father loved, music that the Spirit of God had orchestrated. Angels watched the sons of men to see who could and would carry the sound. They were sent to these places to minister to them in creating a "heart place" for the sound to develop. Those with an apostolic ministry near to these musicians already had a "context" for the sound and would visit higher places in worship with these leaders by simply serving them. The Father set tests before these musicians that they had choices to embrace - assignments and challenges. The bringing of these into their personal lives would be important ingredients that would help shape the sound that came from their spirits - love for the lost, compassion, purity, humility and no desire for reputation, all would speak in the Spirit realm and marry together to form a rich sound coming from their lives. This is the time for the emergence of such sound-forgers.
In our modern church age it's as though we've been standing in the passing of an era - the Kingdom of Saul is being removed and the Kingdom of David established. Those that have a measure of how things are when the glory is there will be released into extravagant worship as the Arc is brought back in. Fixed song lists, and even songs prayerfully selected, don't always lend themselves to the Spirit of God and what he's doing. The prophetic, new song will be given increasing space in the corporate setting in order for the Body to step more adequately into what the Father is initiating.
Prophetic worship is still Father-centred but also assignment focused. It "searches" for the "Word Of The Lord" and catches the assignment regarding a geographic region, a government or an individual - and declares it musically. New sounds and styles of music that have not been familiar in church, or indeed the world, are going to begin to come through God's sound-forgers at this time as they sense God's heart concerning given situations. The diversity of styles that accompanied the Psalms of Israel is significant here. Different messages need different stylistic approaches. The sound behind the Psalm "to gaze upon your beauty" would have differed to "break the teeth of the wicked." "He leads me beside still waters" and "let the high praises of God be in their mouth and a two edged sword in their hands" would have had different intensities of instrumental and vocal expression that transcends our current categories of "praise" or "worship".
Prophetic songs when sung corporately bring the Body together in one mind around what the Holy Spirit is specifically communicating in that setting which serves to shift them into higher realms of the corporate anointing and purpose. This expression of praise and worship allows a continued manoeuvring within the heart of God to a place where a flow of revelation is received and consequent steps are taken -prophesying as a body in song until the assignment is over.
Prophetic worship draws congregations to a place of becoming a worshipping mouthpiece moving in a Jeremiah 1:10 function - "...I appoint you over nations and kingdoms to uproot and tear down, to destroy and overthrow, to build and to plant." Biblically, Moses (Ex 15) and Deborah (Judges 5) sang spontaneous songs that came out of their circumstances and Miriam took a portion of Moses' song and led the corporate with it. New songs are also featured in Heaven (Rev 5:9). Ezekiel prophesied to mountains (Ez 6:2), building blocks (Ez 4:1) and to a vision of dry bones (Ez 37). How much more this side of the new covenant, when we're urged to eagerly desire to prophesy, are we to speak to our cities, communities, governments and the lost in our nation.
The religious spirit will manifest in resistance and even antagonism against the emergence of prophetic worship and God's prophetic psalmists. Its age old purpose has always been to extinguish the passionate pursuit of God and the effectiveness of the Kingdom by emphasising minor issues and tradition at the expense of major issues and God's incredible moving on the earth. As with the Pharisees, this spirit's source - the Father of Lies - is given no place where Jesus speaks, and the truth sets the hearers free.
The Spirit of God is currently forming and transforming our current understanding of praise and worship to see the transition happen for the Body of Christ from standing consistently in the priestly to becoming prophetic proclaimers to their cities, nations and governments. The understanding and positioning of prophetic psalmists is one element that will be needed as the Church moves toward strategic and effective change.
When crossing into the Promised Land, the Levites stepped into the river ahead of the nation with the presence of God on their shoulders. They stood firmly while the whole nation passed by. There is an emerging place for prophetic psalmists to stand carrying the presence of Christ on their life, to release the sounds of Heaven. The new sound and new song-forgers are beginning to step out. How will we receive them?The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.