It was planned as an evening of prayer
for the 10/40 Window. We had invited worshipers and intercessors
from all over our city to come. But what we experienced went way
beyond dialogue with God. Waves of His presence washed over and
through us as we exalted Him and He invited us. We were overwhelmed
by His desires and compelled to pray for them to be fulfilled—in us
and through us. It was the convergence of His delight and His
direction, His presence and His passion. We were discovering the
secrets of worship and prayer.
Nothing is more important in our relationship with God than
worship and prayer. They are the very lifeblood of communion and
communication with our heavenly Father. But many in the body of
Christ see worship and prayer as separate functions: one for
singing, the other for talking; one with music, the other with
petitions. After all, we can't sing and pray at the same time, can
Of course, we can! We can have a powerful experience of
God when we combine these two essential elements of devotion, for
His pleasure and purposes are brought together. Worship and prayer
certainly give God pleasure, and many times we experience His
pleasure as we engage Him. In the midst of that pleasure, however,
He also is accomplishing His purposes for us by transforming our
minds and by giving us His heart for others in need—because that's
what happens when we are truly in His presence.
Worship and prayer are two sides of the same coin. How can we ask
God for something when we don't fully see Him for all that He is?
And how can we genuinely worship God without hearing His answers to
our most intimate petitions? Worship and prayer are the marriage of
passion and presence—of knowing God intimately and then conversing
with Him about our deepest needs and desires. They are the
convergence of God's heart and God's agenda. Simply, His pleasure
and His purpose.
The Worship and Prayer Movements
The worldwide worship movement that grew out of the 1980s and
through the 1990s has transformed the landscape of church life.
Congregations everywhere are experiencing a deeper understanding and
awareness of God's presence. The worship recording industry is a
phenomenon in and of itself. There is a greater hunger and desire
for a lifestyle of worship within congregations and individuals
alike, and intimacy with God is pursued in churches of all styles
and theologies. Worship will definitely play a part in the great
harvest that is coming.
Likewise, in the past 10 years we have seen an increase in the
focus on and the application of prayer. Intercessory prayer is
widely accepted as a necessary key to church growth, city unity, and
spiritual warfare. The largest prayer meetings in the church's
history have occurred in the last decade as part of the AD2000
United Prayer Track and Praying Through the Window efforts.
Ministries dedicated to training intercessors have launched to help
prepare the church for the harvest. Now we are watching the Lord
raise up 24-hour houses of prayer to facilitate the hunger and
passion for fulfilling God's purposes on the earth.
Worshipers seem to have a grasp on enjoying the presence of God.
They understand the intimacy and love God has for His bride. They
revel in knowing the power and strength of His presence and the
awesome nature of His character. They take time to enjoy the Lord,
and they embrace the romance of knowing Him intimately. They sing
the songs of love and passion that only hearts consumed by Him can
People of prayer, on the other hand, have a revelation of God's
desires and purposes on the earth. They sense God's calling to be
colaborers with Him, pulling with Him in prayer to see His plans
accomplished. They are driven by a passion to rescue lost people
from the clutches of the enemy. They understand that a war is raging
for the hearts of men and women in this world, and they are willing
to sacrifice the time and energy that are required to intercede on
their behalf. They know God's heart beats for the souls of people,
and they want His heart to beat within them, too.
May I suggest that both of these views are correct? The time has
come to bring worshipers and intercessors together to accomplish
God's heart in these last days. These two mighty streams within the
body of Christ will provide the wisdom and the strength necessary to
unleash God's pleasure and His purpose on earth.
The Lord's Prayer
In Matthew 6, the disciples asked Jesus to teach them to pray.
Jesus' response was what we call "The Lord's Prayer." This prayer is
essentially split up into six petitions: three about God and three
about our needs. Jesus begins with "Our Father which art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name" (Mt. 6:9, KJV). Jesus was saying that
we should begin prayer by hallowing the name of the Lord. "To
hallow" is to reverence, sanctify as holy, or show deep respect. It
is a description of worship.
Jesus continues with, "Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done" (v.
10, KJV). This is a continuation of worship that exalts God's
kingly rule. Jesus is instructing us to ask that God's rule and
authority would come here on earth, into our lives and our world.
It's as if we are saying, "God, we want what You want to be the
norm. We desire all that You are to come down and consume us. We
love Your rulership and authority so much that we want it to
dominate our lives."
Then Jesus transitions into our personal needs: "Give us this day
our daily bread" (v. 11, KJV). In other words, "Provide for
us." Then, "Forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors" (v. 12,
KJV), which points us to our need to be cleansed and forgiven
and the conditional statement that we must forgive others. Jesus
ends with, "And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from
evil" (v. 13, KJV). This is a plea to keep us away from the
temptation of the enemy and protect us from his clutches.
Jesus was not teaching us a prayer to recite. He was teaching us
the common themes of our communion with Him. Begin with an attitude
of worship, and let that lead you into lifting up your concerns. It
is a very natural progression, which we often experience in a
worship service or personal quiet time. We begin thanking God and
exalting Him for who He is and for what He's done. Then, almost
seamlessly, we move into wanting to please Him and live a life
worthy of what He's done for us. This is the substance of our
A perfect example of this progression is found in many of the
songs we sing. Consider "I Give You My Heart" by Reuben Morgan:
"This is my desire/ To honor You/ Lord, with all my heart/ I
worship You/ All I have within me/ I give You praise/ All that I
adore is in You./ Lord, I give You my heart/ I give You my soul,/ I
live for You alone./ Every breath that I take/ Every moment I'm
awake/ Lord, have Your way in me."
(c) Integrity Music Inc.
It's so natural that sometimes we don't even recognize it's
happening. When we proclaim the power of God, we naturally want Him
to exert that power in our lives or in the lives of others.
The Heavenly Model
What the Apostle John saw when he was caught up in the Spirit in
Revelation 4 and 5 provides us with a heavenly model of worship and
prayer. Note, in particular, where it says that each of the 24
elders had a harp (worship) and a bowl of incense (prayers), and
then they sang a new song that is a prayer of intercession
for the nations. It's a great illustration of how mixing prayer and
praise and worship and intercession leads to awesome insights into
the heart of God!
"The four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down
before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden
bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they
sang a new song: OYou are worthy to take the scroll and to open its
seals, because you were slain, and with your blood you purchased men
for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. You
have made them to be a kingdom and priests to serve our God, and
they will reign on the earth'" (Rev. 5:8-10).
Now let's consider the practical benefits of connecting worship
and prayer in our churches and in our daily lives:
1. When we worship, we pray God's heart. As we worship God
in His beauty and holiness, we are changed into His likeness. We
begin to sense His desires. In the midst of worship, we start to
hear Him communicating His heart to us, and then we can respond with
the prayer of "Yes, Lord!" We are led in a natural progression of
praise, worship, intercession, and warfare for advancing the kingdom
2. We increase intimacy with God. When we understand God's
heart, we can begin to interact with Him on a more intimate level.
We sense what He loves—and we want to love that, too. We realize
what He wants to do—and we want to do that, too. His love and desire
captivate us through worship, and then we are invited to carry out
His wishes through our prayer and intercession.
3. We listen for His voice. When we see worship as a
dialogue and prayer as the continuation of the conversation about
what God wants, we are more inclined to listen to what He is
saying—and less likely to fill our worship with our words and our
prayers with our needs.
4. We retain an ease and endurance in devotion. Music is
the best tool in worship. Although worship is not just music, when
we use our voices and our instruments to adore God and exalt Him, it
allows us to continue for greater periods of time. Long periods of
prayer alone can become stale conversation; but with music and an
element of genuine worship, we can go back and forth among prayer,
intercession, praise, and worship. We can listen and then reflect
and then sing and then pray, which inspires and empowers us to
continue with the Lord for longer than we would have otherwise. In
essence, engaging in worship and prayer together expands our
vocabulary in conversation with the Lord.
5. We engage in warfare from the place of His presence. As
we worship and then pray, intercession is a natural consequence. We
may then be led into a realm of fighting and confronting schemes of
the enemy in prayer. We do this not from a human standpoint or a
fleshly sphere, but from the context of 2 Cor. 10:3-5: "For though
we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The
weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the
contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We
demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against
the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it
obedient to Christ."
God is moving in exciting ways in these days, and we don't want
to miss what He's saying and doing. So worship Him in intimacy as
you pray with passion. And God will lead you into His pleasure and
purpose for your life!(c)
About the Author
is the worship pastor at New Life Church
in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Ross' favorite book is The
Practice of the Presence of God
by Brother Lawrence.