Going through the motions doesn’t please you,
a flawless performance is nothing to you.
I learned God-worship when my pride was shattered.
Heart-shattered lives ready for love
don’t for a moment escape God’s notice. Psalm 51:16-17 MSG
Recently, a young family man suddenly died. He was a friend of our family since childhood. We are heartbroken. As I hugged his stepfather after the funeral, to express my sympathy, he said “We have hope, because he’s with Jesus now, and we’ll see him again.” On a very dark day, I could hear God speaking through him and giving both of us comfort. The young man and his family are Catholic, many people in my home church know the family and share in their grief.
For a worship leader, there’s challenge in times like these. Hard times for ourselves and people we love are kairos moments, revealing our depth of character and strength of heart. If we’re going through the motions in regular days, we’re going to come up very short in extraordinary ones. The moment will swallow us up, and we won’t be the leaders were called to be. How do we prepare our hearts?
Well, in the section of Psalm 51 above, it looks as though we need shattered pride and hearts. From experience, I can tell you it’s true. But the shattering isn’t as bad as it sounds; because we don’t for a moment escape God’s notice. When people say bad things about us, our family members are sick, or we’re out of money, God loves us. When we pour out our hearts to Him and come to Him every day, He loves us. He does answer prayers. As worship leaders (or for any believer), it’s imperative we develop our relationship with Him through His Word and through prayer.
Here’s a good way to start a rhythm. Read the Moravian texts each morning (). It has a weird name, but trust me, it’s just a daily journey through scripture. You can have it emailed to your inbox every morning. Spend a few minutes reflecting on something in those verses that strikes you. At first it may seem rote and boring, but if you stick with it, you’ll be amazed at what comes to you.
Next, when you pray, start out with being thankful. Here’s something cool Linda and I started doing. Get some small river rocks. As you pray for something, get out your Sharpie and write it on the rock. Put the rock in a jar. Keep praying the prayers and adding rocks. When the prayer is answered, move the rock to another jar containing rocks with answered prayers. Go through the rocks often, giving thanks for the answered prayers and continuing with the ones still on your heart.
Your heart will grow three sizes. It will show in your worship leading.