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When You Need to Pray for God to Steal

Last Sunday, I was bopping down the road with a contemporary Christian radio station on and was blown away by a Toby Mac song I had not heard before: “Steal My Show.” The lyrics are basically a prayer before a concert asking God to take over the “show.”

Here are the lyrics of the chorus:

If you want to steal my show,

I’ll sit back and watch you go.

If you’ve got something to say,

Go on and take it away.

It reminded me of my prayers when I first started preaching. I was always very nervous, and I would ask the Lord to calm me and take over, because whatever I did or said was His show, and I felt Him remind me that if I truly made it His show, He would not sponsor a flop.

Thanks, Toby Mac, for giving me such a great reminder. In recent years, production values have become much more important in morning worship. Not that we didn’t try to do our best back in the day, but now there are so many more things at our disposal: worship bands, music videos, illustration videos, funny videos, etc. And sound systems are now unbelievable in their complexity as well as their quality.

Teaching pastors and worship leaders, even in relatively small churches, spend a lot of time with the production of the service. This is not a criticism. Worship should be the best we can make it with what we have. But, the pressure these days to “put on a good show” is tremendous.

I guess it was always like that. In the past, the pressure was on the choir director to get his group to make a harmonic sound, and the organist did her or his best to make the old instrument sound worshipful, but now the emphasis is a bit different.

Sometimes leaders feel like they’re in competition with the church down the street. That may be true, but only for a few church shoppers—not for the majority of prospects. Our competition for them is an easy Sunday morning in bed.

So, we still need to make sure we do our best.

First and foremost, our worship is supposed to be aimed at God.

The object is not to glorify you, but to glorify Him. After all the hard preparation work, worship leaders and pastors should take a moment and remember why they worked so hard to produce an excellent time of worship.

Make sure the focus is on our Lord. (I spoke at one church where the worship band was in a stage pit instead of front and center. It was a brand new church auditorium, so it was by design to keep the focus of the service on the cross, not on those serving in leadership.)

He gave His best for us, His Son, so He deserves our best. Any applause should be for Him, not for us. This should be obvious, but is it always?

Second, in our time, at least in America, Sunday morning worship has become the receiving room for the church.

A healthy church will offer many doors to prospective Christ-followers: small groups, children’s ministry, student ministry, recovery ministry, sports ministry, to name only a few, but for most churches, gathering together for worship is the main event. So, we need to do our best.

Third, Sunday morning worship is still a vital part of winning a prospective Christian to Christ and discipleship.

It should not be all that we do, but it is an important part.

Fourth, Sunday morning worship reveals our priorities.

Is God really the reason we come together? Are we interested in new people? Do we want newcomers to understand the Gospel? Therefore, we need to do our best.

But, all we can do, in this case, is not all we can do. We MUST submit our efforts to the Lord. We must ask Him to not only use what we have prepared, but do more with it than we can imagine. We must, as Toby Mac put it, ask Him to “steal my show.” After all, it’s not our show. It is His. It is for Him, from Him and because of Him.

Please, Father, steal my show!  

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ray.houser@gmail.com'
A veteran pastor, Ray now is the administrator of Tina Houser Ministries, coaches pastors and consults churches. He is excited about helping churches that are plateaued get going again and seeing declining churches rebound. Ray believes there is hope for these churches, if they want to become agents of God’s love, hope and forgiveness in their communities. Visit his blog at rayhouser.blogspot.com, and e-mail him at ray.houser@gmail.com for more information.