By Jessica West, Junior, Seton Hall University
Earlier this semester I attended a worship leader’s conference at the SPO New Jersey’s Men’s House. Through the course of the weekend we learned more about what it means to lead worship.
I also learned the difference between praise and worship, which I had previously always thought were the same thing. Praise is more of an outward type of prayer. It is adoring God and we do this with more upbeat songs with lyrics that really praise the Lord. These often tend to be the fun songs, my favorite is “Mighty is our God.”
Worship is more contemplative. An example of a worship song is “Prayer of Augustine.” This is one of my favorite songs. For me, I am truly able to not only sing this song but enter into prayer. This is one of the key things I took away from the weekend: to not sing these songs but to pray them. Praise and worship is such a wonderful gift God has given us. We can enter into prayer with Him by using not only our voices but also our bodies by clapping and raising our hands. When I first joined SPO I was not familiar with charismatic prayer. After learning more about it and why we do it, I have really come to enjoy praying in this way. By lifting our hands we are outwardly praising the Lord and giving Him the glory He is due.
I also learned at this conference to be open. By this I mean that when leading worship we may already have songs picked out but through the course of the prayer time the Lord may be guiding us in a different direction, meaning we may need to pick a few different songs. Though this can be stressful at times, it will lead to an overall better praise and worship time for everyone.
One of the most beautiful things I have learned about praise and worship is that God is always guiding us and the words we may have sung a million times before may have a whole new meaning the next time we sing them. This weekend showed me this and helped me to learn to praise in a renewed and deeper way.