I believe God is calling His Church to greater intimacy. It is time to revisit what prophetic worship means and to break it loose from limitations and stereotypes that have held us back from fully encountering Him in worship.
What is Prophetic Worship?
In prophecy, the Father’s mind, will, and intention is communicated and we learn what is on His heart.
Prophetic praise and worship enable God’s message to be brought, or His purpose to be accomplished, in a worship setting. This may include a church service, but could also take place as one, a few, or many come before God in worship.
Prophetic worship could be seen as a Divine conversation.
On our part, we are honoring and adoring God, whilst He in turn is breathing His purposes into our hearts and lives, and the life of our church.
Prophetic Worship—a Meeting Place
Many people consider that the ultimate purpose of worship is a one-way giving of our praise, love, and adoration to God.
And yet God’s highest purpose for worship is encounter. He desires to meet with, and commune with His children. An early place of established worship was the Tabernacle of Moses. God referred to it as ‘the tabernacle of meeting where I will meet with you.’ (Exodus 30:36)
Today, God is saying, ‘I want to meet with you. I want to commune with you. Will you take time to encounter Me and hear My voice?’
Breaking Prophetic Worship out of the Box
Many people think of prophetic worship in the Church environment is dependent upon having:
- Lengthy, unstructured times of praise and worship
- Prophetically gifted team members and
- The ability to bring extemporaneous (impromptu) songs, instrumental chord progressions, etc.
And whilst this is one way in which prophetic worship can be facilitated, we need to remember that the Holy Spirit is not limited by style or culture. Following are some ways in which prophetic praise and worship can be incorporated into church life:
1. Spontaneously or Ahead of Time
A time of praise and worship can be directed by the Holy Spirit in the moment, as the leader or individuals within a worship team have the liberty to express what God may be saying, or where He is leading. However, it is just as prophetic when a worship leader prays ahead of time and seeks God for what is on His heart for the Church or individuals on the day.
2. By Song or Instrumentation
A song can be prophetic and has the benefit of conveying God’s intention through language. However, instrumentation can also be prophetic and is a Biblical means of conveying God’s heartbeat or purpose from His Spirit directly to our hearts. 
3. In the Choice of Songs
A song list or individual choice of songs can be prophetic—affirming what God is doing in the lives of individuals or in the Church on the day, in the moment, or during a season.
For example, if there has been a significant prophetic word brought to the Church that has been affirmed by the leadership, this can also be reflected in song. Or the church leadership may have a God-given vision, which is incorporated into the choice of songs that are being used in Church life in a given season.
4. Prophetic Songwriting
New songs have the potential to be like new wineskins, containing the fresh anointing of what God is doing.
This is where prophetic songwriting (writing songs that reflect either God’s ‘Now’ purpose or a future prophetic vision) can be a blessing to a Church, whether individually, in a movement, or even globally.
5. Other Media used to Convey a Prophetic Insight
Prophetic worship can utilize songs and instruments. But there are many more means that the Holy Spirit can use during a time of praise and worship to express the Father’s purposes.
Remember that these do not have to be spontaneous—they can be prayerfully organized prior to a meeting:
- A spoken prophetic prayer or exhortation,
- A Scripture
- Prophetic poetry
- Dance or drama that expresses Father’s purpose for the meeting, the Church, or individuals
- Unusual instrumentation (any instrument not regularly used in our particular setting, e.g shofar)
- Prophetic art
- Multi-media can also contain prophetic elements
6. In the Context of Evangelism
‘But if an unbeliever or an inquirer comes in while everyone is prophesying, they are convicted of sin and are brought under judgment by all, as the secrets of their hearts are laid bare. So they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”’ (1 Cor 14:24-25)
Prophetic worship is not just for Christians. Encountering the heart of God in a worship service can have a life-changing impact on someone who does not yet know Jesus.
Prophetic worship is relevant to every church setting, whether structured or unstructured, time-constrained or open-ended, whether one instrument or vocalist or many.
Let’s break prophetic praise and worship out of the box and be open to the many ways that Holy Spirit can lead us.
In upcoming posts, I will be considering
- Examples of prophetic worship in the Bible
- The power of prophetic praise and worship and what it can accomplish in a meeting
- How to evaluate a prophetic contribution (prophetic accountability) in a church worship setting
 I will be sharing more about prophetic instrumentation in a future article.
 For more on prophetic art, see my posts in the Prophetic Art Category
© Helen Calder – Enliven Blog – Prophetic Teaching
Enliven Ministries: Prophetic Ministry for a revival generation