downloadLast week I had the privilege of leading worship for a Pastors Appreciation Lunch, sponsored by a national Christian communications network.   After a great, God-anointed time of worship, I sat down to enjoy the meal and keynote speaker, along with pastors from my church and four other people who served with me. At the end of the event, the emcee stood at the podium and announced he believed God was leading us to sing a final worship song. Spontaneously he looked at me, and in front of the large group of people gathered, asked if I knew the song “Grateful”.

At that moment, my mind went blank.

Now, I have led worship at hundreds of worship experiences all over the world and have learned, written, and led countless songs, hymns, and inspired songs. But in that instant, I could not for the life of me recall a worship song called “Grateful”. With quiet panic and hundreds of pastors waiting, I looked at the other worship musicians, who shook their heads as if to say that they had never heard of that song title either.

I quietly sent a “Lord, help me” flare-prayer to God.

Amazingly, in the next moment the song “Give Thanks with a Grateful Heart” came to my mind. I asked the emcee if he was referring to this song and he said, “Yes!” Immediately I jumped onto the stage with my guitar and led the entire group as we worshiped God powerfully with this song.

The truth is, I hadn’t led that song in years, and it never entered my mind until after my prayer rose up to God.  As always, God answers prayers! He not only brought that particular song to my memory, he also empowered me to remember it and lead everyone in worship as we sang it together.

As I look back on this event, I am reminded that God can answer our “flare-prayers” in an instant—or over time—if we are truly seeking Him and His will. He is able and willing to save us in whatever circumstances we find ourselves, as the prophet Zephaniah once wrote:

“The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”
Zephaniah 3:17 NIV

I know there are more urgent problems confronting people than the small incident I just chronicled.  I also realize that flare-prayers can’t replace a regular, abiding and quality prayer time with God. However, I wonder how many opportunities for God’s deliverance we have passed by because we harbored the false belief that God doesn’t answer “flare-prayers” and didn’t pray!  Even as we need to stay true to our relationship with God, He gives us permission to approach Him in prayer for the little emergencies as well as the big things of life.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone?
Matthew 7:7-12

A life of worship includes vibrant prayers, from those that occur in quiet times in which we meet God, to the flare-prayers that rise to Him in our moments of intense need.

God bless you!
Chris Atkins