A well-equipped prophetic musician or worship team should be ready to flow with whatever God wants to do next. God is a God of variety; He doesn’t do the same thing among His people every time we gather.
I’ve written a lot more about this in a workbook, Like A Flock Of Birds, but here is a simple list of nine sounds often used in prophetic song.
1. The musical loop. Sometimes when we have finished singing a song everybody knows, the worship team repeats a line or two and the whole church sings with it. The music is simple enough that everyone can sing; it is an excellent way to release the sound of many waters. The rhythm can be strong or understated.
2. Singing in the Spirit. This sound minimizes the role of the musicians as the whole church sings spontaneously to God, using a single chord with or without its relative minor. This sound is stark; the rhythm is minimal. This too provides a venue for the sound of many waters.
3. The selah. This is a listening sound, a time of allowing God to give fresh inspiration. The musicians play just enough to keep the momentum of what the Holy Spirit is doing, but otherwise provide a minimal sound that will make room for whatever God wants to do next.
4. The song everybody already knows. Sometimes there is no better way to sing the heart of God than to use a song that has already been written. There is a “right-here-right-now” sense of immediacy when God lifts the song we already know into a prophetic dimension.
5. The united prophetic declaration. God sometimes gives a single line the whole church can sing together. This can fulfill Matthew 18:18-19, which tells of the power God will release when two or more agree on something on earth. This sound often leads to an altar call.
6. A chorus with verses. This sound alternates between solos sung spontaneously and a chorus the whole church can sing together. The solos expand on the meaning of the chorus, but the chorus gives the congregation a chance to participate.
7. The instrumental solo. Many churches that abandon themselves to God in worship have found that a soloist can sometimes release a richer dimension of God’s presence in the church.
I have come to believe that these solos are a form of speaking in tongues – the musician is speaking to God by the Spirit, but in a musical language nobody quite understands. God is willing to release an interpretation to the church so everyone will understand; it can be sung or spoken.
8. The vocal solo. This can be anything from a song of devotion to God to a prophetic word from God to the church. A vocalist can sing with a worship team playing a musical loop or a song everybody already knows – but now the words are new and spontaneous.
For a richer prophetic sound, a vocalist can sing with his or her own accompaniment on keyboard or guitar. This sets the singer free to create new melodies with fresh chord patterns, weaving in and out of keys and rhythms as desired. This is probably how David sang his psalms to God.
9. The whole new song. God sometimes gives a whole new song in an instant – chords, rhythm, and lyrics with rhyme and meter. Again, it carries the “right-here-right-now” immediacy of prophecy. The church can keep using this song in future worship services, or it can use the song just once.
Each sound releases a different facet of God’s grace. Ask God to stretch your own gift-mix to include a wide variety of sounds so you’ll be ready to flow with whatever God wants to do next.