My “Prophetic Psalming” article was published in 1997 by The Morningstar Journal. This article is condensed from my teaching entitled, “The Open Door.” To order “The Open Door,” click here.
There often comes a moment in a worship service when there is a special sense of God’s presence. David described these moments with the notation “Selah.” “I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah” (Psalm 32:5; for other examples, see Psalm 3:2; 3:4; 3:8; 4:2; 7:5; 9:16; 20:3; 32:4; 39:5).
Selah is the time when the Key of David has opened the door into heaven. Musically, it is generally a time of silence or instrumental ministry to the Lord between the singing or playing of previously written songs or hymns. David used this term to denote a time of quiet introspection or reflective thought, a time to meditate on the goodness of the Lord. It is likely that David usually continued playing during times of Selah as he ministered to the Lord.
Selah is not only a time to meditate on the Lord’s presence; it is also a time to receive revelation and direction for what is to follow. It is a time to scan or see in the Spirit. It is a time to let music alone do the work of the ministry. It is a time to let a new melody develop in the worship team. It is a time for everyone to pray quietly in the Spirit. Such periods of Selah are largely uncharted waters for today’s church.
In order for times of Selah to come, the level of control that is maintained in most churches will need to be lifted. To let a spontaneous new song arise generally takes time, and it cannot be “screened” ahead of time by those in leadership. If someone brings forth something questionable or soulish, it can normally be dealt with later in private. The opportunity to receive fresh manna is worth the risk.
As prophetic worship is released by the power of God, young people will be delivered from all types of satanically induced music. Prophetic worship will demonstrate the power of godly music as the people sing to God and play for God. In 1988 I was at a church in Montgomery, Alabama, with a worship team from Nashville. The worship went through the door into the prophetic realm. The sounds in the room were supernaturally amplified and the air itself seemed to thicken.
The impact was astounding. People began to fall on their faces before God. Others were weeping. People streamed to the altar to meet with the Lord. The members of the congregation began ministering to one another. The drummer could not see his drums because of the cloud of God’s glory.
But my favorite impression from that night was a group of teenage boys sitting in front of the altar with tears streaming down their cheeks. God spoke to me, “They have finally heard my anointing in power. They will never be the same. The other music won’t be able to compare anymore.” This is the power of prophetic music to effect change.
In II Kings 3:15, Elisha said, “Bring me a minstrel. And it came to pass, when the minstrel played, that the hand of the Lord came upon him.” Usually this minstrel anointing is instrumental only, and the result is horizontal–releasing another person to prophesy. By dispelling distractions and depressing spiritual influences, a psalmist can play an important role in releasing a spirit of prophecy in a congregation.
A corollary to the role of the minstrel is psalming during preaching. Several years ago, I played piano while an evangelist was preaching. By listening with spiritual ears, it is possible to musically support the preaching of the Word and enable it to go forth with greater impact. This is not always appropriate, but it can be a way the Spirit amplifies the impact of a spoken message. Many Black churches have combined music and preaching for years, but it is fairly uncommon among other types of congregations.
In the next decade, many other applications for God’s psalmists will emerge. Music with a transferable anointing like the shadow of Peter and the cloths touched by Paul will be produced for a world in need, not for a music industry dedicated to greed. The focus of a new breed of Christian musicians will not be on markets and money, but on music which will change the world to the glory for Almighty God.