How worship on earth invites the atmosphere of heaven
It doesn’t take a prophet to see that the earth is in a crisis, and it doesn’t take a pessimist to see that much of the church is lukewarm. Yet it is in this environment that the Lord is raising up a worldwide movement of prayer and worship. In an hour of confusion, as chaos grows and darkness deepens, the Lord is awakening the dawn of a new day (see Is. 24:15). We see the dawn breaking upon the horizon with songs of worship in this dark night; it is a global house of worship made up of the entire body of Christ.
But the day is not dawning without conflict. The battle at the end of the age will be a battle for the passion of man, a war between two worship movements. Even now Satan is assaulting the cultures of the earth in an unceasing demonic campaign to raise up a worldwide worship movement (see Rev. 13:4,8,15). He is enticing people to worship themselves, which will lead them to worship him. But Jesus also has a plan in His heart, and His will not fail.
Around the globe young people are catching a glimpse of the beauty and worth of Jesus and how He is worshipped in heaven. As they begin to understand the authority they have in intercession, they are taking their rightful place in the kingdom and will bring a multitude with them to the throne of grace.
This is a sign of the times, the beginning of the fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy that in the last days a song would be heard from the ends of the earth (see Is. 24:14-16; 26:1; 27:2; 30:29, 32; 35:2,10; 42:10-12; 54:1). Young adults are responding with great hunger to Jesus. One place we see this is in onething, our annual four-day young adult conference, to which approximately 25,000 came last December. They did not come for good music, but for an encounter with Jesus.
Beyond the Music
This worldwide song will usher in the second coming of Jesus (see Is. 42:10-14). More than a song, it is a movement of prayer, of intercession—it is a cry for justice to prevail in every sphere of life. The many strands of the tapestry of this prayer and worship movement are beautiful and precious to the heart of God. I am going to focus on the centrality of worship.
The cause of much of the crisis we are facing is that humankind has forsaken its primary purpose: to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength (see Deut. 6:5; Matt. 22:37). The crisis in society is meant to wake us up so that we turn to God and bring the lost to Him. But even salvation is not the end of the story. Worship is.
Worship is a vast subject, involving our reaction to God and our relationship with Him. I am often asked how I keep Jesus in the center of my worship. I am perplexed by the question, because if Jesus is not in the center, what we are doing is not worship; it is “just music.”
Worship is a response to something that we see and to Someone we adore. In order for the worship movement to be more than a festival of good music, singers and musicians must grow in the knowledge of God above all else.
We cannot lead people where we are not going. As leaders of worship we must actually worship; to worship, we must see; to see, we have to know the Word of God.
The church and the world has had its fair share of “flaky” musicians, but the Lord is gathering an army of young adults who, like King David, will have hearts after God—hearts that will search the Scriptures and be well-acquainted with the Spirit. Through an army with such a heart, worship will explode around the globe.
The significance of music itself in this worship movement cannot be underestimated. Music is one of the most powerful realities of the human existence because the human spirit is musical. Music has the ability to touch the deepest part of us, simultaneously focusing the mind, spirit and emotions.
Melody and rhythm write truth, or lies, on the heart, as if programming a computer, so to speak. We have a much better chance of remembering something if we set it to music. God knows this about our human design because He created us this way. I believe He designed us for music because He Himself is musical.
The Word and Music
If music helps people “feel” the truth and remember it, what power there is when the Word is combined with music! You can speak about God’s personality, and people will be touched; but if you sing that same truth with anointed, prophetic music, people will feel the truth. They will understand it and remember it because they will wake up the next morning singing it. In this worship movement Jesus is raising up theologians who know the Word of God, who sing and have the tongue of a ready writer, ready to describe Him (see Ps. 45:1).
Music is a universal language. It is instinctive. Every culture has a musical expression that brings people together. Music has the power to unify a group of people. The best way to get an entire stadium of people saying the same thing, feeling the same thing, talking to the same Man at the same time is through music.
As we lift our voices in song we become one voice and one heart, standing before Jesus in adoration. Individually we may have our eyes closed in a worship service—gazing on Jesus, singing straight to Him—yet corporately we become one body.
On Earth as It Is in Heaven
Worship is a mysterious reality, and we have yet to fully understand its mystery as it relates to the bride of Christ. Chapters 4 and 5 of Revelation describe the worship order around God’s throne: Those nearest to Him agree with Him in 24/7 worship and intercession. People from every tongue, tribe, nation and people group will join the angels around the throne, on the sea of glass, declaring the worth of Jesus in proclamation, music and song.
Though there will be different tongues and languages, the truth is the same, the heart of worship is the same, and the same Man is being adored. Thus we will truly be one bride before God’s throne—one bride, with different cultural expressions, made up of the fiery hearts of love of individual believers. Worship will be offered “on earth as it is in heaven” (see Matt. 6:10).
Worship is a doorway to the prophetic, connecting us with the heart of God. The writer of Hebrews describes Jesus standing in the congregation singing praise to the Father and declaring His name (see Heb. 2:12).
One specific way He does this is through us, His people, as we declare God’s praise. As we stand before Him in adoration, powerful declarations of truth can come forth in worship settings: through the Word and the Spirit we hear His thoughts and sing them over congregations, over the nations, over our circumstances. The spirit of prophecy will be seen in singers, songwriters and musicians as we continue to come before Him day and night. It becomes a perpetual conversation with God, through His Word, by His Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is using worship to draw the hearts of many, old and young alike, to Jesus. The anointing of the Spirit on our worship music tenderizes our hearts, increasing our desire to love Jesus and our ability to actually feel love for Him. At the same time, we are empowered to do good works as the anointing to love Him sustains our hearts in our acts of service.
As darkness deepens and the great shaking comes to the whole earth, people will be looking for answers. The beauty of Jesus, declared through true worship, will be a key to bringing understanding, comfort and love to a people seeking truth in the midst of chaos.
Two worship movements are being raised up, one born in darkness, the other in light. Satan works aggressively, elevating gifted artists in an attempt to build his own counterfeit end-time worship movement. But God is sovereign, and many young musicians who once dreamed of becoming famous rock stars are being persuaded, by God, to join the true worship movement. It’s exciting to see Satan’s investments in the youth of the nations being snatched from him for the glory and adoration of Jesus!
At the end of the age, the beauty of Jesus will be stronger than the allure of self-promotion and sensual pleasure. Jesus’ worship movement will be stronger, more creative and more anointed than anything Satan can vomit from the pit of hell. The battle is real, but Jesus will win the hearts and the passion of many in the generation before His return.
Jesus, our magnificent obsession, the eternal King, the Lamb, will receive the worship due His name. The Branch of the Lord will be seen as beautiful and glorious, and He will win the hearts of a generation (see Is. 4:2).
Let the song arise ... to the end!
Misty Edwards helped start the International House of Prayer in 1999 and has been a worship leader and songwriter at IHOP-KC since then. She gives oversight to the IHOP-KC prayer room and all the worship leaders, musicians and singers.