Have any of you had experience of prophetic worship / playing in the Spirit / Spirit led? I've heard these terms before but don't know much about them. Is it just a case of leaving room for instrumental type sections or is there more to it?
Yes I think that they do, www.celebrationsoftheking.com, it is a small site, and I am not sure if their books are listed there. They were re-doing them to be sold in bookstores. I will write to them today and see. I need to let them know that I suggested their books, so they can respond to all of you who want them.
They are very connected with Foursquare, they used to lead worship there at the church in LA. But they have their own ministry/church now I believe.
They are phenomenal, and if you ever have the chance to have them come to your church and do a conference or workshop on worship, that would be awesome, they are some of the most gentle people I know. I have seen many miracles as a result of their ministry. They also move in the prophetic.
Usually when I'm involved in that, it is at a special meeting where people enter with the expectation that there is not a plan - or not a human one, that is. : ) Phil, I think it starts with a freedom of arrangement / instrumentation / etc..., but in reality it is much more than that. Or at least more than a hairy dude like me could answer in a single post on the web. : ) Here's what one situation may be like.
An example would be, you and your band take the platform. You have a guest speaker who walks up before your first tune and says they've been praying about the service today and have gotten a clear direction from the Lord. You trust them and the Holy Spirit confirms with you that what they are saying is true - all of your spiritual instincts tell you they're speaking the truth. They tell your media guy to shut off his projector and join the congregation - that they won't be using their notes. They also tell you that you're not supposed to go with whatever you prepared - that the Lord is doing something new today. (You can tell the guest is speaking with a special type of spiritual authority for your church for that day - you're uneasy b/c it is a new experience but not because what they're saying is weird but b/c of your personal comfort level.) While you're taking it all in, they let the congregation in on it - that we're doing something new that they've never heard because you have never played it. Meanwhile, you pull yourself together enough to give the band an idea of what key you're thinking in.
All you have in your head are two chords and one line. (That may or may not be original.) All of what you know about being prepared, having a tight band, and putting on a 'good' worship set are instincts that scream at you from the inside that there is no way this should work and things have a high probability of going very badly. Then you're faced with a choice.
You can go for it - play your two chords, sing the line, and see what happens. Or you can bail. If you go for it, you may get the next line, you may not. (It may be another member of the team.) Who knows, God may just want you to sit on that one line. (That's ok, He's in charge.) You don't attempt to plan, because you can't. You live on a moment-by-moment basis, partly in a tremendous freedom (you cannot mess up what has no planned structure), partly in wonder (how in the world does the band stay together), partly in awe (we work so hard to make this work, and yet something wonderful happens when we are all unrestrained). The next time it happens it might not have to be prompted, because the situation is both wild and yet incredibly comfortable - it is not uncontrolled, but no one feels 'bound' or restricted or the expectation to be anyone or anything other than themselves.
While the experience of prophetic worship has many manifestations, I think this was a good representative example. Of course, it is all filtered by the human experience. It doesn't always start with an introduction - saying "now we are going to enter into spontaneous prophetic worship" every time sounds a little planned. It does usually start with a choice (which requires some discernment). In order to be truly comfortable with this, God had to break me of being a bit of a perfectionist and perhaps a tad bit of a control freak. Neither of those qualities work well in that situation, b/c they drive your focus to your actions and you can end up worshiping yourself / your team instead. It's not always a tune you don't know, either, as others have noted. Sometimes it is. Often in my personal worship times I'll start out with one line, but it will then spark other emotions in me I have to express. Sometimes words are not involved at all, and my musical vocabulary does the talking. They're aren't really any magic rules so the experience has a number of manifestations. Each should convey that it isn't about you, though. : )
My apologies, didn't mean to write a novel or anything...but perhaps I at least could give you an idea of what this experience is like from one perspective. : )
I love the depth of your question. Thanks Phil. It is a question that can't be answered in a few words, hence all the wonderful replies you have received, and believe me, I have read each and every one of them. From my own point of view, I feel there is truth in all of these comments...... I know some people would argue that it is not about what we experience....... whether it be you alone with the Lord, or with a large congregation, to have the freedom of singing/playing in the Spirit, and abandoning yourself totally to the Lord, is a most blessed and beautiful experience, and a gift from Him. If He has given us this gift, for whatever reason, whether it be to bless us, bless others or simply praise our wonderful Lord, then it is up to us to use it for His glory.