Is ItJamming, Or Spontaneous Prophetic Song?

Because prophetic song is often spontaneous, it can be confused with jamming.  But the two have little in common, as I found when a neighbor visited a few days ago.

He stepped into my house and I must have recalled seeing him playing guitar at a neighborhood Bible study, so I asked if he’d like to play mine.  He got it out of the case and began to play.   “Do you ever sing from the heart to he Lord with a new song?” I asked.

“Yes,” he replied.

So I listened for a moment, and soon he handed the guitar back to me.  We passed the guitar back and forth and both played and sang.  But we never got past our music, and neither of us got into a flow that released the manifest presence of God.

Jamming is all about music, but prophetic song is about the manifest presence of God.

And jamming may include spontaneous song that opens our hearts to God, but prophetic song centers on the testimony of Jesus, which is the Spirit of prophecy.

My neighbor and I never got there. For all our spontaneity, we never got past jamming.

If you’re assembling a prophetic worship team, it won’t be enough if you merely find a few people who jam well together.  They may be spontaneous and they may sound good together.  But it doesn’t turn prophetic until we stop expressing our hearts, our sound, or our style.  Only when we express God’s heart do we step into  prophetic song.

Over the years, I’ve found two good ways to start.  First, sing in tongues for a while, and ask God for the interpretation.  Second, sing Bible truth about Jesus.  But then, invite the Holy Spirit to pour a song of worship through our lips, a song that will release the manifest presence of God.

Often, the prophetic song arrives not with a lot of musical virtuosity, but with sounds I suspect I could play in my sleep.

Prophetic activity doesn’t spill off the top of our heads.  Jesus said (John 7:37-38) “Out of your belly – out of your deepest parts – will flow rivers of living waters.”

If your deepest parts are thinking about music, your spontaneous songs will be little more than jamming.  But if your deepest parts are communing with Jesus, you are likely to get into a prophetic flow.

I don’t think John the Baptist ever picked up a guitar, but he had the recipe:  “I, [the musician] must decrease, but He. The Word of God, must increase.”

 

To cultivate this, it’s good to seek the flow of the Spirit and the manifest presence of God as we worship Him in secret.  That’s what Jesus taught; if we seek the Father in secret, He will reward us openly.

Go into the prophetic flow.  Don’t be satisfied just to jam.

 

Stan Smith  ::  © 2011, GospelSmith  ::  http://www.GospelSmith.com

 

Healing Song

In the past two years, I assembled and posted a 31-day devotional, “Learn to hear from God”.  Much that I shared in the devotional also applies to prophetic song.  And it was in prophetic worship that I learned many of the principles I shared in the devotional.

I prepared for our last Gathering with a couple of hours of soaking.  It was very restful and I might have slept a little.  But as I waited on God, I sensed I was to sing Psalm 103, a scriprure song I wote a few years ago.  At one point, it settles into a two-chord loop, leaving room for spontaneous song.  In that part of the song, I was to trust God for a flow of words that would  expand this line of Psalm 103 :  “And everything within me, bless His holy name.”

My instructions were very clear, and God had aimed them at a specific target.  Several of us who attend  The Gathering are, like me, battling long-standing diseases like cancer and taking chemo and/or other medications that can cause side-effects.  As Psalm 103 commands everything within me to bless His holy name, I was to expand those words to include everything from cancer cells to toxic medications.

To fulfill my assignment, I would need to anchor my lyrics in the finished work of the  cross.  So I was soon using the principle, ”Launch Flow By Seeing Jesus”, found in the 31-day devotional, http://www.squidoo.com/learn-to-hear-from-God-day-13

Psalm 103 begins with these words:  “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy name.”

I was to sing for those of us who are wrestling with the side effects of prescribed medications, that “everything within us” would bless His name by doing what it was supposed to do, but without troublesome side-effects.  I was struggling with side-effects myself, a weak voice thanks to my chemo treatment for brain cancer.  It tends to make me sound like a squirrel that’s been run over by a car.  What would God do?

One of our guests turned out to be a friend who has also undergone brain surgery  She’s been on a rocky road ever since. As she came into the Gathering, she was suffering an allergic reaction to one of her medications.

So The Gathering began, and in due time I sang the song.  As I got into the flow of the Spirit, I sang a declaration that my voice would get stronger as I sang, and it did.  Several people commented on it.

Soon,the lady who’d had brain surgery wanted prayer.  First, she explained that her doctors aren’t sure how to interpret the results of her tests, and it’s become stressful..Further, they’ve put her on a new medication that has caused her to itch all over.  I’ve experienced that, and it can be a torment.  Even the slightest movement of clothing against the skin feels like fire.  It’s impossible to get comfortable, and it was impossible to sleep.

We prayed, and I lingered by her chair for a few moments, trusting Jesus for a tangible flow of His healing presence as I laid my hand on her shoulder.  Moments later, tears were flowing down her face.  I realized He was touching her.  I continued to wait, focusing my heart on Him.  I meditated on the stripes He bore to provide her healing.  His presence continued to flow, and so did her tears.  But finally, I broke in and asked, “What’s happening?”

She answered, “I feel such peace!  And the itching is almost gone.”  So Jesus was making His healing presence tngible in two very different ways.

Stan Smith  ::  © 2011, GospelSmith  ::  http://www.GospelSmith.com

Solids From The Cloud

 It wasn’t that I had planned a meeting.  Instead, JoAnn had arranged for me to spend the afternoon with the prophetic worship team from the Santa Maria Valley Healing Rooms.  I didn’t know how many people would be coming, or what they were expecting me to give them.  JoAnn gave me only one clue:  “I told them you’d be glad to minister prophetically, one by one. Go ahead and start at the keyboard, and soak, just as we do on Sundays at The Gathering.

As we began to soak, a rich and tangible presence of God settled upon us.  As I played a spontaneous song on the keyboard, I counted it a time of speaking in tongues:  my hands did the speaking as God gave the sounds, and music was the language.  But what could people take home with them when the meeting was over?  Something would need to crystallize, something that could make heaven’s mark on our earthly existence.  Three solid things came out of the cloud of God’s presence, and the first two were for the worship team.  But the third is God’s invitation to all of us.

 

As the worship team was looking to God for impartation in prophetic song, I was given one simple assignment, and it called me to take three actions.  First, I was to declare prophetically over them that God will give them spontaneous choruses with verses that leave room for words of knowledge.  Then I was to demonstrate what it looks like.  I used a chorus I  often sing in my own prayer times, then sang a few verses spontaneously.  Further, I brought a short teaching from I Corinthians 14 to show that this kind of singing is commanded in the Bible.  Then I shared more about the principle that tongues must be interpreted, also from I Corinthians 14.

I recently played a bit of soaking music in a coffee shop and saw a vision while I played.  JoAnn caught part of it on her iPad and posted it on Facebook.  See http://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?v=2562382229881  But what crystallized out of that?  First I saw a vision as I played, and then understanding of the vision came.  So I wrote down what I saw and learned.  The music was the tongues; the articles about the vision are the interpretation.  See http://gospelsmith.wordpress.com/2011/11/13/vision-in-a-coffee-shop/.

 

As JoAnn had promised, I prophesied over the people one by one.  It’s easy to get into a clear flow when the presence of God is tangible.  I had met many of the people before, but JoAnn knows them better than I do because she has known many of them for years.  After the meeting, she told me the prophetic words were accurate in ways I couldn’t have known about.  This isn’t a reflection on me and my gifts; instead, it testifies of God’s intimacy with His friends to whom He allowed me to minister.

 

Then, another thing crystallized, a whimsical  vision of Jesus, and a challenge for you.  Visions occur in varying levels of intensity, and this was so light I thought at first that it was just an irreverent imagination on my part.  The worship team had brought lunch, and when it was time to go to the counter and load our plates, I sensed Jesus looking at us and saying, “This is why I like to take you to church.  The best part is when we go out to eat afterwards.”

But then the conviction hit me.  Jesus likes to sit at the table with us when we eat together and talk about what happened in church.  He gives us more and more revelation.  Then, divine appointments with strangers are waiting for us outside the church.  Jesus looks forward to this part.  The word-picture that seemed to be just a joke was far more profound than I first thought.  Next time you go to church,be sure to include Jesus when you have coffee or a meal afterwards.  Enjoy!

 

Stan Smith  ::  © 2011, GospelSmith  ::  http://www.GospelSmith.com

 

Prophetic Song In The Coffee Shop

I got to play a rickety old piano in a coffee shop yesterday.  The atmosphere was secular, but I was surprised at the flow of the Holy Spirit.  First, I was surprised that it was so easy to get into the flow.  Second, I wouldn’t have expected the sounds He gave.  Third, I saw a vision.  Here’s more about each of the three surprises I received in the flow.

Surprise #1 – the opportunity  I wasn’t booked to play.  JoAnn and I had errands in San Luis Obispo, and we had a free half hour.  So we went to a coffee shop and saw a piano by the back door.  She suggested I play it; I said I wouldn’t try unless they shut off the background music.  Soon, JoAnn was at the counter with the manager.  The background music stopped and I turned to look at JoAnn.  With an imperious wave of the hand she said, “Piano!”  I sat on the bench and reported for duty.

The disciplines I use when I prophesy are the same disciplines I use in prophetic song.  I quieted my heart, focused on Jesus, and kept reaching for a flow of God-given sound as I played.  More about this in my 31-dy devotional, “Learn To Hear From God.  See http://www.squidoo.com/learn-to-hear-from-god-day-3.  Words, music, or both, the principle is the same.

Surprise #2 – the flow. I tried to play something bright and sparkling, but I think the piano and I were both feeling old and spent.  I reached for a sound I use when I want the sound of many waters.  On this piano, it sounded to me like muddy runoff after a heavy rain.  Then I found myself playing dissonant Flamenco melodies with that felt dark and menacing.  Not the usual fare in a coffee shop in a college town on a cool afternoon.

‘what was that?” JoAnn asked when I finished.  “Why did you play that?  It sounded like warfare”

“I saw a vision while I was playing,” I offered by way of explanation.  “That’s why I didn’t play the music I would have ordinarily chosen for the occasion.”

Surprise #3 – the vision  For now, I’ll tell exactly what I saw.  I’ll have to write another article to tell the understanding that came with it.

I saw great clouds of darkness, clouds of the deception that covers the earth in the last days.  They seemed thick and impenetrable, made of well-crafted and interlocking lies that promised freedom while holding everyone in slavery.  They were so pervasive it seemed hopeless to think anything could dispel them.

Then I saw misty wisps of uncreated light, tumbling through the clouds.  The light was the presence of God Himself.  And in His presence, the darkness became laughable.  The darkness couldn’t put out the light, nor would it take a great effort for the light to put out the darkness.  God was laughing at the darkness.  He is not afraid, nor do we need to be.

I’ll write another article, to share   the understanding that came as I finished playing.

So I encourage you to be venturesome in prophetic song.  Take it inside and outside the church.  You never know how the flow of the Holy Spirit will surprise you.

JoAnn and I discussed the experience as we drove to our next appointment.  Was my playing appropriate?  “You couldn’t have found a better place,” JoAnn suggested when I told her what I’d seen.  Was it warfare?  Was it intercession?  We don’t know.  But here’s what I do know:  Light is on the increase, and darkness doesn’t stand a chance — and why should it?

Stan Smith  ::  © 2011, GospelSmith  ::  http://www.GospelSmith.com

God Sings Over Us

For decades I have engaged in prophetic songs and spontaneous worship.  But over the years, I’ve wondered about a simple prophecy given in Zephaniah 3:17.

“The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.  [ Zephaniah 3:17]

 

What does it sound like when God sings these songs?  Could I hear one?  Or does God sing these songs through His people?

Lately, I got an email from Connie, a friend in Myrtle Beach.  She told about a song that spilled out of her one day when she was alone in her car.

Was this a song God was singing about His plans for Connie and for her church?  If so, He was identifying an aspect of their inheritance in Christ that He plans to lead them into.

In her email, Connie said she shared the song with the church’s worship leader, and the worship leader was immediately in tears.  This suggests that the Holy Spirit was bearing witness to the song, showing the worship leader an aspect of her inheritance in Christ, or perhaps of the whole church’s inheritance.

As God sings for joy over us, His song is sure to reflect the aspects of is salvation that are uppermost in His mind at the moment.   Therefore His song would celebrate where He is taking us next as He leads us through the many aspects of salvation.

I first noticed this principle when I was in one of Kim Clement’s meetings.  He had already preached and now was engaged in personal ministry.  Music was playing in the background as people went up to the altar area.  I found myself singing privately.  I had no microphone, but drums kept a rhythm in the background as other instruments kept a key in the air.  Suddenly I was singing these words.

It doesn’t matter what the doctor says.

It doesn’t matter what the blood work shows.

Jesus is Lord.

Silly words!  I wouldn’t have been singing them aloud if I’d been on a microphone.  But I was alone with God because nobody else in the crowd could hear me.

Before the night was over, a man in my church had miraculously received a new liver.  It’s too long a story to tell in a short article, but the doctors soon confirmed the miracle.

Did my little song have anything to do with the miracle?  Maybe an maybe not.  But I slowly realized that God’s joyous song of salvation had found its way into my mouth.  Whether I knew it or not, I was singing about the miracle, a few minutes before it happened and at least a day before we could know that a miracle had indeed occurred.

It didn’t happen because I’m anything special.  It happened because God was doing something special.  So don’t be surprised if you catch yourself singing a joyful little chorus without forethought and without your trying to write a song.  It may be that Christ in you is celebrating His saving work in His people.

Stan Smith  ::  © 2011, GospelSmith  ::  http://www.GospelSmith.com

Testimony: Spirit-Given Choruses

 

 

Recently, I’ve been writing about the little songs that sometimes flow out of us as we walk with God in daily life. It started when I  received an email about a spontaneous song.  I’ve gotten a few of these songs myself. I posted one story on Connie’s Miracle Song, and then I added a testimony about the Volcano Song which came to me recently.  I’m writing about it because I suspect that others have had the same experiences.  What are these songs for, and what do they mean?  Here is scripture that may explain them.

Romans 8:16-17 – The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ.

 

Recently, I’ve been writing about the little songs that sometimes flow out of us as we walk with God in daily life.  If Christ lives in you and you are musically inclined, maybe you’ve found yourself singing to God with a song you had neither written nor learned.

Where do these songs come from?  In many cases, they seem to be a gift from God.  Romans 8:16-17 suggests why the Holy Spiritmight be giving these songs.  As He, the Spirit of Truth, is guiding us into all truth, these songs call our attention to a particular aspect of truth.  All truth is more than we can handle in one day, so the Holy Spirit necessarily leads us to focus on one aspect of God’s character and truth at a time.  Then later, He leads us to explore other aspects.

Over the years, I’ve sometimes used a God-given chorus in a prophetic song.  I teach the chorus to the church.  It’s easy to learn and they can sing it with me.  This helps us unite our hearts as we center on a God-given and timely theme.

As we sing the chorus together, I can then jump in with spontaneous prophetic verses.  Then, when we all go back to the chorus, the congregation can sing with me. When the chorus is God-given, it often proves very timely in the church.

Why is it timely?  Because it’s calling the church’s attention to an aspect of our inheritance that the Holy Spirit is leading us into.  And when the chorus centers on a topic that is in the Holy Spirit’s mind, it’s easy to get into a flow of words and melodies for the verses.

So if you are asking God to lead you into prophetic song, don’t despise the little choruses that bubble up in your daily life.  They may prove to be a launching pad for more prophetic songs.

Stan Smith  ::  © 2011, GospelSmith  ::  http://www.GospelSmith.com

 

Testimony: Songs That Overflow

I recently  got an email about a spontaneous song.  I posted the story on Connie’s Miracle Song, where I mentioned that I often receive songs as I go about my daily life.  What are these songs for, and what do they mean?

At the very least, they are evidence that we are filled with the Holy Spirit.

 Be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.  (Ephesians 5:18-19)

 

 

Here’s how Connie described her song.

 

Stan, I was in my car the other day driving home from a job interview and started humming a tune I had never heard before.  After humming for sometime, I started singing words to that tune out loud.  I want to share with you what God gave me that day.  It’s a slow chorus that I’m introducing to my church here in Myrtle Beach.  As I sang it to our worship leader, she got tears in her eyes and told me it was very touching.  Hope you enjoy it as well. 

 

I believe in miracles.  One’s headed my way.

I believe in miracles.  Could be this very day.

I believe in miracles.  Things happen when we pray (could also substitute “God answers when we pray”).

I believe in miracles.  One’s headed my way.

 

If we’re filled with the Spirit, we can expect Him to overflow out of us in song.  Sometimes it’ll be a song we already know, and at other times it’ll be a new song we never heard before.

 

I’ve written a few articles about an email I received from Connie, who found herself singing spontaneously to God, about miracles.  Recently the same thing happened to me.  I was in the checkout line in a grocery store, and suddenly began to sing.  I didn’t want to make a scene, so I sang very softly.  There was enough noise in the store that I’m sure nobody noticed I was singing. Here are the words:

 

Oh, God,

Make me a volcano,

Ready to explode

With Your love

And Your power.

 

I haven’t sung it in public yet and don’t know if I ever will.  I’m trying to find the right accompaniment for it on the keyboard, but I’m unhappy with everything I’ve come up with so far.

But according to Ephesians 5:8-19, songs like this are at least an overflow of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  If the song has done nothing more than to reflect my communion with God in daily life, that’s enough.  God is love, and love is a relationship.  If songs like Connie’s or mine are part of a love relationship with God, they are worthwhile whether anyone else ever hears them or not.

But a song like this, bubbling up spontaneously from somewhere deep inside, can be God’s way of helping us focus our prayer life on a theme He has chosen for us.

Stan Smith  ::  © 2011, GospelSmith  ::  http://www.GospelSmith.com