28 Ways to Create Great Segues: Segue #11
By Jon Nicol
OK, time for true confessions: in the not too distant past I told the my team's vocal leader for that week to "throw in a prayer" between two songs. Our sparse band that week didn't allow for another musician to handle the introduction, and I had a capo and a patch change that would've created too much dead space. I try to plan for things like this, but I missed it.
Let me get this out there first: corporate prayer isn't a segue. It's a crucial part of our worship experience. Time should be allotted for it. Planning should be put into both what is prayed and how it's prayed. And we should be open for left-turns that the Holy Spirit prompts for our public prayers. But as we plan the rhythm and flow of our worship gatherings, prayer can effectively bridge two songs.
When it comes using prayer as a bridge--and not abusing it as a space filler--here are a few prayer personalities to avoid:
"The Over-Pray-er" - This can either be in frequency or length. For some it's easy to pray before, after, and during songs. And for some over-prayers, getting them to pray a brief prayer is like getting the aurora borealis to shine in Texas.
"The Intimate Pray-er" - This is the person who closes his eyes and all others disappear, just him and God. Not a bad place to be as a worshiper, but as a leader--and especially leading public prayer--the congregation is going to feel a little left out.
"The Lyric Pray-er" - "Lord, we lift your name on high, Lord, we love to sing your praises, we're so glad your in our lives, we're so glad you came to save us." The words are great. The truth is there. But most of the time, reiterating several lines of song lyrics just sounds contrived.
I think the key to bridging songs with prayer is intentionality. We need to think through what song preceded and what song or songs are coming. We should ask ourselves:
What kind of prayer should be prayed here? Adoration? Supplication? Confession? A brief prayer between songs shouldn't try to cover all the bases, but focus on one aspect of approaching God.
What will draw the congregation in and allow them to participate in this prayer?
Honestly, I think the way pastors and other leaders "lead out in prayer" is one of the most disengaging acts during corporate worship (oh wait, I forgot about the announcements. OK second most disengaging acts...). If our congregations are full of experienced prayer warriors who have learned to engage and agree while someone else is praying, then we're OK. But most people, I would guess, check out sometime between, "O Gracious Heavenly Father..." and "...in Jesus' Name, Amen". Maybe it's spiritual immaturity. Maybe it's cultural ADD. Maybe it's just me.
As much as we try to engage people in singing, what if we tried to engage them in prayer, even for a brief moment between songs. This topic deserves a whole post (and probably a book) to flesh out. But it's something for us to think about as we insert prayer into our services.
Lastly, when it comes to using prayer as a bridge between songs, consider lightly underscoring it with a piano/keyboard or a guitar. Some call it a "musical bed." Others call it noodling. Whatever you call it, it helps carry people from the song through the prayer and into the next song. You may want to revisit some of the earlier posts that discussed musical segues between songs for ideas on how what to play during the underscore.
May 24, 2010Tweet
Blog Archivecomments powered by Disqus « Back to Worship Leading and Planning