I thoroughly enjoy listening/watching to streaming video from the International House of Prayer in Kansas City (www.ihopkc.org) and find great benefit spiritually as I interact with what is happening there. I’m usually the first one up in the morning and like to listen to it while I get ready and have my breakfast. While it can be great background music, I’ve found a richer experience when I actually interact with it.
I think some people don’t understand the value of the prayer room because they don’t know how to go beyond observing others worshipping and praying and actually “enter in.” Sometimes we can become jaded to the same worship songs and sing without thought to what is coming out of our mouths. Or, if it is a song we don’t know, it can be easy to disengage and our minds to wander.
I find it helps to verbalize my agreement with either the songs, spontaneous choruses or prayers. For example, right now, I’m listening to a spontaneous song about drawing near to God. So it helps to say out loud “draw near to me, Jesus,” as I affirm what they are singing. Earlier, they were singing about all things are possible with God, so I can agree and say “WIth You, God, all things are possible” or “There’s nothing too hard or difficult for You, Lord.” You can personalize even further by applying it to a specific area in your life, “Thank you, Jesus, that you can make a way through _____________.” When a prayer leader emphasizes a phrase or two from Scripture, again, I can repeat it or put it in my own words.
It may feel a little awkward to be speaking out loud, but I find it helps tremendously to keep focused. I’m not just hearing the words, but speaking, agreeing, and hearing myself speak it. This goes a long way in planting truth in my heart in a way that is enjoyable and interactive.
At times, there are instrumental “selahs” where its a good time either to listen for what God is wanting to say to me or to utilize a prayer model (my favorites are the FELLOWSHIP prayer model or declaring prayers (see previous blogs). Other times when they are singing in the Spirit, I can join in or pray specific things on my heart.
At IHOP (International House of Prayer – not pancakes!), there are four different kinds of “sets:”
Prophetic worship – usually before a Friday or Saturday night or on Sunday morning service.
Intercession set – Led by a prayer leader with a specific focus of prayer
Worship in the Word – usually a passage of Scripture that is explored in song, with emphasis added by a prayer leader
Devotional – usually just one or two people leading on a specific topic or Scripture
My favorite are Worship in the Word sets!
Different worship leaders will carry a different sound or style and I have my favorites I like to choose from the prayer room archives. Other people might prefer listening “live” and experiencing whatever is happen at the time.
Experiment! Listen to different kinds of sets. Try out different worship leaders. Don’t be afraid to speak out your agreement and get involved!