Navigating Prophetic Singing through the Seasons
by Anna Blanc
Artists and Authors
It may seem in this age as if image is everything. Sometimes it may even feel as though the more people who know your name, come to your worship sets, and tell you how gifted you are, the better life is. Even in the Church, we tend to exalt personalities and value what will draw a crowd, but the truth is that these things are all a smokescreen. They are a brief flash of beauty that is here today and gone tomorrow, quickly fading away. God does not see as man sees, and He has a very different opinion.
The most explicit display of the Father’s eyes taking note of our lives as we live them out in hiddenness is at the baptism of Jesus. In that point of His life, Jesus had not begun His public ministry. He was not known as the great healer or deliverer; He was not sought out as a teacher or miracle worker. To the eyewitnesses of His baptism, Jesus was merely a thirty-year-old carpenter’s son from Nazareth. But at the moment Jesus came up out of the water, the Father thundered over Him from heaven, “You are My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Mark 1:10–11).
Humility and Hiddenness
The truth is that the whole of our lives are lived and worked out in hiddenness. It does not matter if you are a rock star worship leader in a megachurch or the nameless and faceless singer on row thirty. If you love Jesus, then who you really are is a great secret that is hidden away in Christ.
We are all called to separate ourselves to the Lord through time spent with Him alone. This is the ultimate secret place of our lives where we meet with God. But even beyond this voluntary coming away, there are three main areas of hiddenness I believe we will be held accountable for before the Lord: the hidden places of circumstance, motivation, and the thought life. Each requires diligence and watchfulness that we may be found faithful in every way when we stand before the Lord. And as we sincerely seek Him in each of these hidden places of life, we stumble upon a great gift in that we find communion with Him.
The vast majority of prophetic singers and worship leaders called by the Lord to minister before Him will be in a hidden place of circumstance.
It is a delusion to think that, if you are called by God to minister as a singer, your ministry will be very public and valued by many. This misconception is dismantled when things do not grow bigger and better. When this happens, many quit and assume they missed the call of the Lord over their lives.
I want to be very clear that the majority of singers called and appointed to lift their voices to the Lord, declaring Him faithful and calling for His return, will be stationed in small, even remote, gatherings throughout the earth. But it is in the perceived smallness that you will find this glorious reality: the Lord is there in your midst day by day. He is with you in secret; stay faithful.
When you are in a season where the Lord has moved you into a role that is more hidden from the eyes of man, where the impact is largely unnoticed, you face a struggle to maintain a thankful and faithful heart. We naturally want to be noticed by others with our ministries having a big, measurable effect. Instead, when we are serving in a less-appreciated role, we are faced with the challenge to still serve well and to the fullness of our ability. Though no man may notice or care, the eyes of the Lord are fixed upon our hearts, especially when we are overlooked by others. We are to serve others in secret, knowing that we are actually serving the Lord Jesus. As it says in Scripture, “And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ” (Colossians 3:23–24).
Changes in seasons are common to everyone, but for singers it can feel as if these seasons shift more frequently and with greater extremes, as if the Ferris wheel of favor travels around double speed. Through seasons of hiddenness, promotion, and demotion the Lord is leading us, exposing our hearts, and helping bring growth.
Developing through Demotion
It does not matter how humble, mature, or seasoned you are; demotion always bears a sting. The Lord will sometimes demote the one whose heart is lifted up in pride or who is in blatant, known, unconfessed sin. Many times, though, the Lord is simply seeking to bring our lives to the next level of fruitfulness. This season change often comes as a direct answer to our cries to Him of “Lord, make me more like You.”
Challenging our motivations and shaking the foundations of our identities, demotion exposes our hearts in ways few other seasons can. In the midst of demotion, our hearts are laid bare before us, and we see grime, chaff, and darkness rise up in what we thought were our pure and dedicated hearts.
What we often overlook is the fact that being demoted did not cause sinfulness to arise in our hearts; it simply revealed what was already brewing within. The Lord will often use seasons of demotion to bring to our attention what has been before His eyes all along. To the sincere heart, this is a priceless gift.
We can, if we are not discerning concerning His leadership in our lives, opt out of the very season He had purposed to grow us up into His likeness. When it is the Lord who has you in the lowest place, do not get up too quickly.
As the overseer of your soul, He sees when you are to be taken to the next level of maturity for His namesake. Endure His pruning in the season of demotion, and you will be astounded at the fruit He will bring forth from your life. His leadership is perfect.
Passing the Test of Promotion
The Lord intentionally brings seasons of promotion in our lives. He is a brilliant leader in that He strategically shifts our circumstances at exactly the right time to simultaneously work righteousness in us and accomplish His purposes in others through us. In promotion, we become a more visible vessel of ministry to His people. Through this, He tests our hearts with the crucible of the praise and attention of man.
A season of promotion can be expressed in different ways. Maybe you were asked to join your favorite worship team or were asked to be a head singer for the first time, or maybe you came up with the latest chorus that is being sung by all the other worship teams.
I see promotion as any moment when we are given the call or opportunity to step forward as a singer. However it comes, we must never fall into the dangerous thought pattern that we have somehow earned or deserved the increase in favor. This sense of entitlement stems entirely from pride and is a seed of darkness the enemy would like to sow in our hearts. When it seems just the right people are noticing you and your gifting, it is important to realize that it is the Lord who is directing their eyes and not your abilities gaining their attention. Everything we have has been given us from the Lord.
The truth is, the season of promotion should cause us to tremble. We should be acutely aware of the potential temptations birthed in pride we will no doubt face. As circumstances change for the better, it is critical to remember we are being tested. Those burning eyes are looking past the externals, right into the inner man. This thought should ever grip us until we bow our hearts in humility to the One who weighs our every motive and intent. May our earnest desire be that He is pleased with what He sees in us.
This truth, that the Lord uses His vessels primarily to bless His people, should also fill us with the fear of the Lord. When you notice you are in a season of promotion, it is essential to continue in vigilantly holding your heart before the Lord. Let your cry be: “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me, and know my anxieties; and see if there is any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23–24).
To learn more about prophetic singing and having a joyful heart through the seasons of what the Lord has called you to, buy a copy of my book, Growing as a Prophetic Singer from the Forerunner Bookstore 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.