Avoiding Pitfalls in Prophetic Singing
by Anna Blanc
Prophetic singing is a glorious calling. As we sing God’s word, we have the opportunity to see truth change us and the circumstances around us to reflect the way the King and His kingdom operate. But we must be mindful to maintain the right perspective and avoid traps of the enemy that would cause us to stumble, giving less glory to God and missing out on the fullness of what He has for us.
The enemy actively and consistently seeks to introduce comparison, envy, and pride to the hearts of prophetic singers. These noxious weeds start out subtly and grow just under the surface till they eventually choke the calling and anointing of God in us. Of course, these are issues every person faces, no matter the calling. For singers and musicians, however, these three temptations are elevated to another level.
The reason for this greater intensity is that, unique to singers and musicians, our abilities can be measured just by our opening our mouths. We can tell within minutes if we are better or worse than another singer. This evaluation of another’s, and of our own, excellence can be made fairly quickly; whereas, other areas of gifting are a bit more hidden and difficult to discern.
Because our voices are so vulnerable to immediate evaluations like these, our hearts really have to battle to stay free from comparison, envy, and pride. We must be careful not to fall into the traps the enemy lays out before us.
Since evaluation of singers comes so easily, the natural outflow of this for our sinful flesh is to compare ourselves with others. Both envy and pride find their roots in comparison. When we compare ourselves with another and feel less gifted, we can slip into envy. When we feel more able than another singer, we can find ourselves in pride (though there are many other faces of pride as well).
No good thing comes from the practice of comparison. Our vinedresser does not pit us against one another, and we should follow His example.
When forming the specific natural abilities and potential for growth in an individual, the Lord is intentional. He is not random in the way He distributes all varying levels of talent to different singers. I like to picture prophetic singers as clay vessels tenderly formed by our potter. Each one is unique in appearance and function; no two are identical.
Isaiah paints this picture well.
But now, O Lord, You are our Father; we are the clay, and You are our potter; and all we are the work of Your hand. (Isaiah 64:8)
I tremble to think of all the times I have pierced the heart of the great artist by looking to another vessel and weighing our relative worth. I cringe when I think of the times I have accused Him of being unkind for calling me to be a singer but not giving me a high level of natural talent from birth. He is as purposeful with each and every prophetic singer as an artist is with each piece he creates. The specifics of how we are made as ministers through singing and the details of our journey of growth are meant to just as purposefully bring glory back to Him.
Pride, at its core, is thinking higher or lower of ourselves than God thinks of us. Humility is agreeing at the heart level with God’s opinion of us.
Oftentimes, we overlook the fact that a low opinion of ourselves is an expression of pride. When we claim a lower value of ourselves than Jesus gives us, then we are saying, in essence, that we know better than He.
Jesus tells us that He loves us with the same quality, amount, and intensity of love with which His own Father loves Him. This is an astounding truth about our value to God. (John 15:9)
With the more common expression of pride, we can all identify with thinking too highly of ourselves. This is what we typically think of when we are addressing pride.
Harboring the pride of high-thinking in our hearts is actually a lack of love for others. This is what Paul was addressing when he said, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Phil. 2:3–4). Instead of assuming our own greatness and seeking our own gain in regard to our reputation, we are to bolster others in their callings. When we spend our strength in an effort to help the advancement of another, we are working in the opposite spirit of pride and ambition.
The balance I believe God is looking for is that we would not only see ourselves as great, but understand why we are great.
The reason we are so great is because we are His. Our success is rooted in Him alone. We are beautiful and glorious in His eyes because He has desired us from before the foundation of the earth, and He has clothed us in His own righteousness.
All the boastful statements you could make about yourself fall far short of the high praise the Lord gives for those who love Him.
The Key to Success: Gratitude
Understanding the truth of how we are seen helps us avoid pitfalls and fuels our ability to give God thanks from a joyous heart. Cultivating an attitude of gratitude elevates our perspective to see what God sees when He looks at us, our talent, and others.
We often overlook the fact that we bring the Lord great glory when we operate at full capacity before Him in our calling, even when we are weak. I used to wonder, when I first started worship leading, why the Lord did not give me a voice that was naturally refined and powerful. I would see other singers around me who had never taken a lesson in their lives, and they had voices that could thunder over a room. The Lord began to reveal to me that He receives glory from each of us in varying ways.
When I would give Him all my heart in a worship set, He was glorified before men by my obedience—even when I still had so much more to learn spiritually and vocally. Because I did not have the natural ability to stir a room simply through my gifting, I was forced to lean into the Lord. And in different sets when there would be a tangible breakthrough of His presence, I knew, my worship team knew, and the room knew, it was of Him.
At the same time, when we have reached a level of personal excellence as singers, we glorify the Lord by operating in our full strength of ability while keeping our hearts and motives set on Him.
It is extremely glorifying to the Lord when a prophetic singer with a high level of excellence loves Him with the whole of his or her gifting, using this strength to usher others into adoring Him.
Psalm 100:4 encourages us to “enter into His gates with thanksgiving , and into His courts with praise,” and 1 Thessalonians 5:18 instructs us, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” There is a reason why the Lord so often in Scripture commands us to give thanks. Gratitude is the number one spiritual combatant against bitterness and anger. A thankful spirit naturally uproots and prevents dark emotions from poisoning the soil of our spirits. It is impossible to be truly thankful before the Lord for our gifting while simultaneously envious of what He has given another.
When we set our hearts to be grateful to the Lord, we must also let go of self-pity, self-centeredness, and anger. In fact, we can test our hearts to see if we are cultivating these sinful tendencies by how genuinely we can thank Him for what we have been given. As soon as my heart hesitates at truly thanking Him, I know I have harbored the roots of envy and pride within. At this discovery, the enemy will also seek to introduce shame at my having failed to keep a pure heart. Do not give him a further foothold by allowing yourself to enter the self-imposed prison of condemnation. This is entirely fruitless for the kingdom and not of God.
Instead, as soon as you see comparison, envy, and pride in your heart, confess them to the Lord as sin. Repent sincerely and you will be immediately forgiven. There is no delay, no penalty period—you are pure! Begin to speak again the words of thanksgiving to the Lord. It is through repentance and confession of the truth that your heart will gain freedom. Continuing in a lifestyle of gratefulness before the Lord as a prophetic singer is the best safeguard against an offended, envious heart.
To grow as a prophetic singer, or to learn more about the role of the prophetic singing from someone who’s walking the road, buy a copy of Growing as a Prophetic Singer by Anna Blanc today.
Anna serves as an intercessory missionary at IHOPKC, where she has been a singer and worship leader since 2005. With a degree in speech, language, and hearing sciences, she desires to write songs that touch the heart of God and heal the brokenhearted. Anna has taught an advanced class on prophetic singing at the music school at IHOPU. Anna lives with her husband, Shawn, and their two sons in Kansas City.