We did a couple of neat things in the context of our Praise Team ministry this week that I'd like to share.
First, at our Thursday night rehearsal, following a time of worship with some very intimate, confessional songs (My Eyes are Dry, Lord, Take My Life, etc.), I opened the floor for everyone to pray but made one request: That they only pray for themselves this time. We sometimes get so wrapped up in praying for so-and-so's illnesses that we can successfully avoid getting honest or intimate with God regarding our own spiritual issues. The result was an amazing time of getting real with God about our fears, our weaknesses, our struggles.
We need all types of prayers, but what I have noticed is that, when left to our own without specific direction, our public prayers lean heavily toward prayers for the sick with a sprinkling of praise and thanks. As I struggle to correct that balance as a leader, I have found it to be especially helpful to sometimes make those other topics off limits (so-to-speak), so we can cut through the rote and repetitious and get to the heart. We did that at a special Sunday evening time a couple of years ago for thanksgiving, where I asked that all prayers that night be of thanks and that we not ask God for anything in that time. Do you know how hard that was for most? But, we grow in our prayer life when we exercise each of the different types of prayers.
The second was this morning at our 8:30 rehearsal. If your church is anything like ours, most everyone has "their pew". That location within the sanctuary where they sit practically every week. You don't have to be an up-front leader to see this, but it is terribly obvious to those of us that are up front each week. To the point that, when they move, it throws me off and I feel disoriented!
As a Praise Team, we took some time this morning, before anyone else had arrived, to move throughout the auditorium specifically praying for the ones that would sit in those specific seats in a couple of hours.
Not only is the Praise Team our service to God, but it is also our service to our brothers and sisters. We were reminded of that today.
It is my prayer and and goal as I attempt to minister to help our team become deeper worshippers and better servants - more in tune with God and with those we serve.