A Pianist’s Journey into the Prophetic

 

Peals of thunder cracked and boomed. The epic orchestral soundtrack rose to an ear-popping crescendo. My hands raced over the piano keyboard as I threw my weight into regal chords of high praise to the Ancient of Days.

 

I hadn’t written any ordinary piano solo: this majestic arrangement demanded a concerto-like triumph, brimming with blazing fingerwork in order to depict — if even possible — the light-seared moment when Jesus the Messiah rose from the dead.

 

That glistening, nine-foot concert grand shook as I pounded out final chords. With a collective shout, the crowd of fellow worshippers leaped to their feet in a unanimous standing ovation.

 

I didn’t expect them to do so. They simply couldn’t hold back: it was a spontaneous outburst of praise to the One whose resurrection power we were celebrating that Sunday morning.

 

Two Inches Short of Heaven’s Windows

 

I would love to tell you how, without a doubt, the Lord inhabited my praises that day — how the sweet anointing of His Holy Spirit fell over me in that church sanctuary. How the honor of ushering in His living presence was so overwhelming that I couldn’t even stand up.

 

But I can’t.

 

I can’t tell you any of these things because my mind was so focused on creating something so publicly spectacular for Him that I wasn’t free to experience Him.

 

Despite preparing my hands in excellence, I hadn’t prepared my heart.

 

How could I lead someone else to God’s throne room if I wasn’t going there myself?

 

Don’t get me wrong: I’m no pretender. I’m a born-again, Holy-Spirit-filled believer in Yeshua (Jesus) the Messiah, the Son of God. I adore Him, and I know Him. I know how to seek Him and He’s appeared to me in dreams and even told me future events that came to pass (as He promised us in John 16:13).

 

I know full well that the presence of God’s Holy Spirit brings healing, peace, joy, direction, deliverance from demonic oppression, and answers to seemingly impossible questions. Even one word from Him can change a person’s entire life in the blink of an eye.

 

So it’s no wonder that day, sitting onstage at the keyboard before thousands, I longed to witness any of those things during corporate worship. Instead, I had to hear mere reports of such wonders from others who were there. Veterans of the faith raved about how they felt God’s presence through my piano playing. How the Anointing of the Holy Spirit was all over me, or how they’ve only heard one other pianist in the world with this kind of anointing.

 

I felt nothing. Sensed nothing.

 

In this public setting, I only seemed to hope for what others experienced so freely. I always felt like I was just two inches short of Heaven’s open windows.

 

We creatives are born to crave revelation from God. He is the inspiration for our art. We’re not satisfied without true revelation. He powers our art, whether in public or private.

 

However, what I hadn’t discovered was this embarrassingly simple, yet powerful truth.

 

What you do in private

determines your power in public.

 

If you’ll nurture a close and intimate fellowship with Him, He will trust you with more authority and His power in public. Jesus did it with the Father. He retreated to mountaintops away from the crowds — alone to pray. We know the result: He walked in authority and power.

 

A Prophetic Call to Adventure

 

I know what’s supposed to happen when a group of people truly worships God together: He shows up and transforms lives.

 

And I know how He can use instrumental music to do this in a supernatural way.

 

When I was a teenager, He made that quite clear to me.

 

At the time, I had begun playing piano with my dad Sam Saltar who impacted many lives around the world. He was the leading east-coast trombonist for the biggest stars of the 1950s: Tony Bennett, Liberace, Lucille Ball, Frankie Avalon, and Judy Garland to name a few. Yet, when he accepted Jesus as Savior, the Lord spoke to him in an audible voice, and sent him instead into full-time music evangelism.

 

Dad took me along on his concert trips and featured me as a piano soloist.

 

In those years, many nights before I drifted off to sleep in my bedroom, the Lord called to me with the live sounds of orchestral music so clear and vivid that, at first, I actually thought the neighbors’ stereo was cranked up too high.

 

I looked out the window at the neighbors’ house: the music had stopped.

 

I felt like Samuel, having to lie back down a couple times before I realized the Lord Himself was speaking to me in this precious and beautiful way.

 

But then one night, as if to increase the voltage, the Lord met with me in a game-changing, purpose-clarifying dream.

 

In this dream, while I played at one of my dad’s concerts, floating spheres of pure light poured out of the piano and floated over to the sound engineer who was tormented with bitterness.

 

The light surrounded him. He was delivered instantly.

 

This incredible blaze of light and inexplicable presence of the Holy Spirit were so strong in that place, it was almost too much for me to stand.

 

When I woke up, God’s power was still with me in my bedroom. His presence was so palpable that I had to run down the hall to wake up my parents. When I told them what happened, we then realized the Lord was peeling back the veil into the spirit to show me what He wanted to do through my music.

 

I learned later I wasn’t the only one to see these spheres of light. I thought I was alone. Lest I should doubt and assume it was only my imagination, the Lord led other Spirit-filled believers to tell me they’ve seen the same manifestation during their worship services with differing explanations, citing possibly the tongues of fire at Pentecost, ministering angels, or the circular halos people have painted for centuries.

 

A local news station even recorded one of my friend’s church services and captured the light spheres on video — unmistakably. Your guess is as good as mine why news stories like this don’t go national.

 

My point is not in any way to promote worship of angels or insist that a visible manifestation is the goal (although seeing in the spirit sure doesn’t hurt: see 2 Kings 6:16–17). Rather, I mention these things only to demonstrate that the presence of God is real, He is the One we pursue, and to encourage you He is ready now to meet with you personally — long before you even thought to address Him in the first place.

 

With this dream, He revealed His promise to use my instrumental music to bring deliverance to others. What a dazzling method for God to call me into His ministry of music!

 

So I answered the call. After graduation, I packed my bags and headed off to college, turned down an art scholarship to study piano performance and composition on a Cliburn scholarship with a bright-eyed mission in my heart: create a startling new art form to turn millions of hearts toward God using all the arts and technology available. I wanted to impact the world with my music in a way that had never been seen before.

 

It’s Time for Something Real

 

By the time of that concert I wrote about above, I had the gifts and skills to be able to create something big for Him, but didn’t have enough spiritual growth to back it up. I was starting to look good on the outside, but something was still missing on the inside.

 

I attended events and worship conferences, rubbed shoulders with well-known Christian musicians and wanted what they had.

 

This desire to copy what other believers do in public comes with a warning label: the danger in emulating those we admire is the risk of not living authentically at best — and living powerlessly at worst.

 

The true godly power we see on powerful leaders’ outsides comes from the time spent alone with Him — in that “secret place of the Most High” (Psalm 91:1, John 15:4–5).

 

We need to prepare our own hearts in private, and then our outsides will look more like Jesus.

 

The time for authenticity is now. Current events have made it obvious anything resembling fake Christianity isn’t going to cut it anymore. Either God and His promises are real, or the whole thing is a fraud. Fake Christianity won’t help us navigate calamitous events.

 

God promises that seeking Him earnestly or diligently has its rewards: Draw near to Him and He will draw near to us (James 4:8). He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).

 

But you, when you pray, go into your inner room, close your door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you.

— Matthew 6:6

 

Do you believe Him or not? There is no maybe. He promises to meet with us: His sheep know His voice!

 

The things I’ve described above are only small glimpses of what’s possible in Him.

 

So, when it comes to leading worship in public, I want to be an open vessel for His power in a much greater capacity. I want His presence with me to be unmistakable. I want demons to flee when I walk into the room because they see Jesus’ authority blazing out of me. What I’ve limited God to do through me in the past is unacceptable for me, and I challenge you to consider the same for yourself.

 

“But, Michael, it was such a great performance that day. You brought down the house. People bought 114 of your albums in one day! Isn’t that evidence God is blessing what you’re doing? That counts for something, doesn’t it?”

 

Sure, album sales are validating and encouraging, and that amount was absolutely unheard of, but if that’s all there is to it, and I’m trying to lead worship by flying blind to the Spirit, I’ve got a serious problem.

 

At the time of that performance, experiencing God was too rare an occasion for me. How could I lead people into the throne room of God if I wasn’t even going there myself?

 

I have met with Him, and He’s met with me. The issue is that it’s been sporadic, episodic, occasional, seasonal — however you’d like to describe it, it was just plain inconsistent.

 

How can I possibly grow in hearing His voice better if I don’t take time to listen to Him? And actually believe He’ll talk to me?

 

Again, what took 20 years for me to understand is this ridiculously foundational reality:

 

What you do in private

determines your power in public.

 

Or, expanded:

 

If you desire — through your art — to lead others into the manifest presence of God, you must meet with Him privately, daily — consistently — and listen earnestly to Him for today’s instructions.

 

What am I basing this on? Well, for one…

 

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

— Hebrews 11:6

 

Do you get this? Really?

 

I thought I did.

 

You might respond, “Of course I get it. I do this. I pray unceasingly: I chat with my Heavenly Father all day long.” As well we should. We believers in Jesus have His Holy Spirit living physically in our very bodies. An absolute, glorious, supernatural mystery. The Bible says we have His mind in us. We have full access, right here — right now.

 

In addition to this moment-by-moment communion, it is critical that we meet with Him — alone. Give to the most powerful, intelligent, loving Being in the universe the reverence, awe, and undivided attention He deserves.

 

Shut off all devices, other people, other distractions and meet with Him in solitude. Not only does He warrant it, but we need it. If it was that important for Jesus, then wouldn’t you say it’s non-negotiable for us?

 

As much as I agreed with this quiet time “requirement,” it became more of a discipline than a joy because I didn’t actually believe He would respond to me.

 

If you get nothing else from this article, please get this: He still speaks today! Trust Him. The Almighty really wants a two-way conversation with you.

 

He calls us to excellence and especially to be good stewards of the talents He’s given us. My life had been all about this pursuit of excellence.

 

Nevertheless, I had yet to find a way to merge skillful concert playing with pure worship because my high-octane, busy mind and frenetic fingers would usually compete with and overshadow the passion of my heart for Him.

 

But I still didn’t get it.

 

I didn’t yet understand how private worship vitally impacts everything we do in public. For one, I couldn’t understand why I didn’t experience him like everyone else around me seemed to do.

 

What was the point of having perfect pitch, years of classical training, writing note-by-note arrangements, compositions and scores for orchestra, scales, arpeggios, finger exercises, and practicing hours on end if it all only hindered my pure worship for Him?

 

If you’ve ever struggled with perfectionism in your art, the following is especially for you.

 

Head-to-Heart Bypass

 

I struggled with how to reconcile this conflict — and even to understand the problem. I needed a diagnosis if anything was to get fixed.

 

I was no stranger to charismatic gatherings, but I was often the only person left standing in a room full of hundreds who would fall to the ground under the Anointing of the Holy Spirit.

 

What’s wrong with me? I wondered. Many times, I asked the Lord to show me what I was missing.

 

Back when those wild Rodney Howard-Browne revival meetings were going on in downtown Fort Worth, I attended a couple nights — curious, skeptical, but truly seeking answers.

 

Rodney spotted me in the crowd and pulled me out into the aisle. He prayed over me and then said, “The Lord says you need head-to-heart bypass surgery.”

 

Thank you, Lord. This answer resonated with me. The fact Rodney even knew I was struggling with some mental block was confirmation enough.

 

Ephesians 5:19 instructs us to make a melody to the Lord — in our hearts — so it’s clear the heart must rule over the mind when it comes to worship.

 

I must allow God to communicate to my heart, but also learn to communicate from my heart.

 

We artists do need to be excellent with our technique, but go beyond it: art is communication. The point of practice is for the technique to become so second nature that we’re no longer caught up in music or art for art’s sake, but we allow it to become a vehicle for expressing our hearts.

 

If we improve our technique to the absolute best of our ability, then we maximize the range of what can be expressed, but we still need to express from our hearts.

 

I got my answer, but at that time, I had no idea how to go about this elusive head-to-heart bypass procedure.

 

A Power Encounter with the Living God

 

Another night, the Lord expounded on this answer through another pivotal dream.

 

In this dream, I was at a C.S. Lewis conference (think Narnia, or the roaring lion Aslan) where I saw an unmanned grand piano in a dimly-lit, empty hotel meeting room.

 

The room was small and dark — closed off by a movable partition wall.

 

The Holy Spirit nudged me and told me to “play the sound of mighty rushing waters.”

 

That wasn’t a new concept to me as I’ve often taken Bible stories and improvised a sort of impromptu film score to convey whatever action was taking place in the story. I figured this would be no different.

 

So I ran my fingers up and down the keyboard, mimicking the sound of a waterfall, but then, the actual roar of a mighty rushing waterfall came thundering out of the piano.

 

The overwhelming presence of the Holy Spirit filled the room, and then I knew what He was showing me: the Bible often describes the Voice of the Lord as the roar of rushing waters or even thunder.

 

This dream was about His Voice!

 

And there was an improvisatory aspect to it: free playing, in-the-moment — specifically leaning on, and fully trusting Him for my every move musically.

 

Clearly, His specific mission for me is to allow Him to speak directly through my music. He was telling me to get my mind out of the way, and let Him work through my heart and the music.

 

That’s prophetic! If you’re delivering a specific word from God to others, it’s prophecy. This dream was a dazzling validation from the Lord Himself — loud-and-clear confirmation I was truly being commissioned not just to lead instrumental worship, but to minister prophetically through my music. This is beyond what I asked or imagined.

 

The answer to the head-to-heart bypass was two-fold:

 

First, trust Him to speak.

 

Second, develop spiritual ears to hear, by getting alone with Him.

 

Since the piano room’s partition could be removed to open to the larger meeting area, He wanted to meet with me alone first before opening the wall to meet with everyone else.

 

The Musical Shutdown

 

If you knew my musical background, you might say it doesn’t make a bit of sense why any setback should keep me from pursuing solo concerts. It would seem I was born for it. Besides traveling in my dad’s concert ministry, I won my fair share of piano competitions, performed live with the likes of piano showman Dino Kartsonakis, and earned a seminary degree with a master’s degree in music composition. My magnum opus at the time was a piano concerto with a full orchestra and narrator telling the life story of King David (who waited on God many years before receiving the crown).

 

Very quickly after college graduation, the music screeched to a halt. I can almost hear the needle scratch across LP vinyl.

 

Maybe the downward trend of concerts in the church setting partially explains why I hardly touched the piano anymore in public. Before I even had a chance to contemplate all the whys, life — as they say — fully got in the way.

 

Early married life was an all-consuming, nonstop saga of conflict. There was no time, agreement, or inspiration to pursue music.

 

I fell back on my art skills and worked as an art director for ad agencies and various ministries’ in-house publishing departments. Then came two baby boys and we needed more money, so I worked a second job doing freelance graphics deep into the night.

 

At the office, coworkers would pass my cubicle to see me sleepily clicking away at my computer, and would ask, “So, you still ticklin’ those ivories?” This diminishing question was difficult enough to answer, let alone hard to hear.

 

What’s worse is when they stopped asking about my music altogether.

 

Even though others might have forgotten, I was determined never to forget God’s call.

 

My wife and I gave it the very best we knew how to give and, after 13 years and just as many counselors, the marriage ended in divorce.

 

Silent But Not Forgotten

 

As a result of this new development, raising a child with autism took center stage and forced me to stay home in isolation for another eleven years to care for him.

 

OCD held him in a debilitating grip: if something felt even slightly out of place, he’d shriek repeatedly at the top of his lungs. It was quite the spectacle at the grocery store or church sanctuary. I’ve gotten plenty of suspicious looks from security guards.

 

Suffice it to say we didn’t get out much.

 

There was simply no time or energy left in the day for music as a solo artist — at least not to the point of excellence as I defined it, which would require countless hours of writing, arranging, meticulous practice, and making a lot of noise in a house with a child suffering from debilitating OCD. That simply could not happen anymore in such a season.

 

The Piano in the Pews

 

Time dragged on. When was I to step out again in public ministry? I had such beauty in me that had to get out.

 

The reality is the Lord Himself told me in advance this time of isolation would occur. He Himself assured me it was His doing, because He needed time to prepare my heart.

 

He encouraged me with a dream He gave me decades ago, which sustained me for years:

 

In a church where I was scheduled to do a concert, the piano had been moved off the stage and was tucked away near the back between the pews. I thought that was an odd place for a gorgeous grand, but the Lord showed me what it meant. He was telling me I would be hidden away in the congregation. It was a time of quiet preparation.

 

Not only did the Lord care more about the well-being of my children who needed their dad at home for 11 years, He knew I simply needed more internal preparation for what was to come.

 

He used this time to fill the missing piece of my calling to press in to pure worship and private communication with Him — ultimately becoming the prophetic pianist He called me to be.

 

And the true worshipper He calls all of us to be.

 

I finally learned to spend time with Him consistently. And what a difference it’s made — in every area of my life! My finances improved. Wisdom increased. Things I asked the Lord for — very specifically — He’s answered down to every detail!

 

And finally, He gave me the revelation and understanding about my calling that I so earnestly sought: the validity and importance of prophetic instrumental worship.

 

Before my dad passed away, he pulled me aside and spoke a blessing over me, and then admonished me: “Never devalue what God has placed in you. It is extraordinary. Use it for His glory.”

 

I figure a man who performed with the biggest names in show business — and then dedicated another 50 years of his life to praising the Biggest Name of all — might know a thing or two about what is and isn’t extraordinary.

 

It’s high time I act on these words and stop apologizing that my concept of “leading worship” isn’t like everyone else’s.

 

What Is “Prophetic Instrumental Worship?”

 

Now that the Lord had laser-focused my instrumental music for prophetic worship, I still was unsure how to go about leading others in worship with a piano only. Don’t worship leaders have to sing? There are these things called lyrics. And last I recall, a prophetic word from the Lord actually had words. I’m a pianist and a composer — not much of an onstage, out-in-front vocalist. Where are the words in my worship?

 

When we think of King David, we think of the shepherd-worshipper who wrote hundreds of lyrics in the Psalms. By David’s example, worship usually involves singing, right? Both Old and New Testaments urge us to express our love for God by singing songs of praise.

 

But what’s this about instrumental worship music? For years, I shrank back from it with this question: Can someone truly worship the Lord without words?

 

First, you have to define worship. As they say over at Gateway Church, worship is “love expressed.” What a simple and profound definition! Whatever is in you is what will come out. This definition implies that the posturing of our innermost being is leaning into the Lord, seeking, desiring, focusing on Him. Then we find a way to let it out.

 

This would mean worship can look like just about anything — provided it’s an expression of a heart in love with God: prayers, cheerfully giving to others, obeying whatever He asks us to do, singing, shouting, lifting hands, dancing, and — yes, playing an instrument — are all acts of worship.

 

Besides numerous mentions of ensemble instruments in the Bible (see Psalm 150), note this biblical example of solo instrumental music when King Saul was tormented by an evil spirit — much like my dream of the embittered sound guy:

 

David had the Holy Spirit in him, so God’s supernatural power would surely come through anything David put his hand to. Even though we know David was a singer, we don’t know whether David actually sang or not in this instance.

 

What we do know, however, is this passage points out specifically that the playing of of a harp solo in particular brought spiritual healing to King Saul:

 

Let our lord now command your servants who are before you. Let them seek a man who is a skillful player on the harp; and it shall come about when the evil spirit from God is on you, that he shall play the harp with his hand, and you will be well.

— 1 Samuel 16:16

 

God used David’s harp to win a spiritual battle — and we know for a fact the Lord uses worship in battle (2 Chronicles 20). We also know, as 2 Corinthians 10:4 states, “… the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses.”

 

His Words Aren’t Always Lyrics

 

When I considered David’s harp, and the vivid dreams I’ve been given about my piano playing, I realized the Lord can and does speak through instrumental music — as long as the one producing the music is truly operating with the Holy Spirit.

 

As the Bible describes Jesus’ voice like the sound of mighty rushing waters (Psalms 29:3-4, Ezekiel 43:2, Revelation 14:2), so too, He was telling me to allow Him to speak through my playing.

 

My roaring waters dream had referenced C.S. Lewis (and the lion character Aslan who represents Jesus). The Lord was asking me to allow the roar of the Lion of the Tribe of Judah to flow through my music.

 

He was telling me not to dismiss instrumental worship music just because it doesn’t have words, because He Himself will provide the words — to those who have spiritual ears to hear.

 

Some Said It Only Thundered

 

Who has “ears to hear?” People who regularly exercise their spiritual ears will hear more in the spirit than those who habitually ignore Him.

 

When God’s voice spoke to Jesus from Heaven, in John 12:29, people present on the scene heard the voice, while some others said it only “thundered.”

 

Have you ever heard a peal of thunder respond to something you said? Just a coincidence? Maybe. Or maybe the Lord actually is trying to encourage you — with a real message beyond the white noise of thunder.

 

Are we listening to Him enough to know?

 

Miracle on the Balcony

 

On the balcony of my dorm building at seminary, I had once such encounter with the Lord that absolutely blew my mind and the minds of several men standing with me. I was studying for my master’s degree in music composition, and most of the other men were training to be pastors. It was a long and weary trek for all of us. Most master’s degrees take two years. Mine took three and a half. A little encouragement would go a long way.

 

One of them shouted from the balcony, “Guys, you gotta see this!”

 

We all rushed outside to see where he was pointing.

 

A magnificent, brilliant, fully-formed rainbow surrounded the music school building — with exact symmetry — in stark contrast to the dark, indigo-blue sky behind it.

 

We couldn’t help ourselves and the chorus to Rich Mullins’s “Awesome God” erupted from the group in two-part harmony. After several repetitions, we were almost in tears. I remember Randy — the boldest, Holy-Spirit-filled evangelist among us — belted out a proclamation in his booming voice:

 

“God’s gonna use us!”

 

Immediately, a resounding crack of thunder echoed across the campus grounds.

 

We exchanged knowing looks of sheer wonder. Each of the men that day will tell you in no uncertain terms the Lord heard us and confirmed Randy’s word.

 

Words or no words, the things of God are spiritually discerned (1 Corinthians 2:14), which explains what Jesus meant when he said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

 

It’s not uncommon for creative people to be revelatory-gifted. We crave revelation, but if you try to go and create without revelation, it feels empty by comparison. That’s what we call uninspired. To “inspire” is from the Latin word “spirare” which means “to breath.” It’s also where we get the word “spirit.” The answer is listening to Him daily to breath in that fresh revelation.

 

If you’re an artist or musician, and you’ve received revelation from the Lord He wants you to express in your art, then realize it’s not up to you or me whether it will be received by the listener. Our job is obedience. Those who need to see and hear will see and hear.

 

Some are listening for God’s voice and others keep their distance from Him. This contrast among listeners is why, after a concert, I’ve heard mixed comments — anything from “I didn’t know a piano could do that” and “Lemme see those hands: how many fingers you got?” to “That was better than Liberace.”

 

Others will go much deeper such as the group of ministers who unanimously all said they saw the Garden of Eden as I played — and even so far as a prophet who gave the interpretation of a divine message he heard in my music.

 

But here’s the beauty of instrumental music in particular: Jesus will use this mysterious gift — which science has yet to fully explain — to quiet the mind, remove distractions, create focus, and speak directly to the listener as uniquely as each person needs to hear Him.

 

When there are no lyrics, the listener’s mind is not engaged intellectually on lyrics but, instead, the spirit man is more free to hear directly from Him.

 

Sounds like that head-to-heart bypass to me!

 

Why do people get inspiration in the shower or on long walks? Something about the constant of white noise in the shower, or the rhythm of footsteps helps the mind to focus without distractions.

 

Robin Hood Got My Attention

 

Still attending the seminary music school, while I was driving to my part-time job, exhausted, discouraged, stressed, and agitated from — ironically — all the Christian music we were rehearsing, I turned on my car stereo to the instrumental soundtrack from the movie Robin Hood and found my mind quieted to such a degree that I wept big, long, deep sobs.

 

The anxiety released and I had a big worship time with the Lord right there in my car. I poured out my heart to Him. It was remarkable to me that the songs we were rehearsing in a Christian school did nothing but agitate me, yet here was this secular instrumental music that facilitated peace. How much more could it do if the music were co-authored by the Holy Spirit in the first place?

 

I later analyzed the particular tracks I listened to and discovered the music itself used a technique known as pedal point which has been around since the 17th century (think Bach). The bass note stays constant while numerous chord changes take place above it. The contrast between these two elements causes the mind to feel grounded, safe, and focused.

 

Sometimes I’ve noticed worship bands instinctively use this technique during ministry time in a church service to provide the atmosphere for the pastor to minister during an altar call.

 

Of course, I’m not ignoring the fact that somewhere in the process He expects us to use our words to tell others what He’s done for us, to be His witnesses, so that people will hear, believe, be saved, delivered, and walk in His fullness.

 

Yet, He also asks us to factor in the Anointing of the Holy Spirit who will speak directly to hearts through wordless, instrumental music.

 

May it be that people will say of our sanctified art, music, creativity — offered up as a witness to Jesus — as the Samaritans said to the woman at the well:

 

“We no longer believe just because of what you told us, but now we’ve heard him ourselves and are convinced that he really is the true Savior of the world!”

 

— John 4:42

 

Once I began to understand these things, I started spending more time alone in worship and then in small home groups doing this sort of spontaneous worship. And I’ll tell you what: the visions have increased. It’s like a light switch flipped on in the Spirit the second the music starts!

 

Call it prayer or call it worship: my missing ingredient was focusing on fellowshipping with my Heavenly Father every day. Abiding in Him in private. Talking with Him. Listening for His voice. Watching for Him to act throughout the day. Like in the movie Interstellar (spoiler alert) when the father communicated to his daughter through clues on a bookshelf, there’s no telling when the Lord will show up. Every day should be a fun adventure with Him.

 

Do you want to step out with God and see miracles and His wonders? Get intimate with God when nobody’s looking. Then, out of the abundance of that private relationship, the wonders follow in public.

 

Delivered from OCD

 

Then, one day, the Lord performed a spectacular miracle: after ten years of horrific struggles, treatments, and prayers, my son finally said goodbye to OCD for good. No more shrieking, no more getting stuck. He was flat-out healed. That’s it. No pomp and circumstance. Just healed. Overnight.

 

Can you imagine the relief in our household? No more tiptoeing around him. Now a whole new world of opportunity opened up: we could actually get out of the house again.

 

In the spring of 2020, during yet another midnight meetup with God, He laid out a specific plan for the launch of my concert ministry.

 

A New Video Series — For the Secret Place

 

My music ministry has been sidelined for too long when there’s a world out there who could really use the peace that passes understanding.

 

The time is now, and yet, it’s not quite the concert ministry I had imagined in the past. He has directed me to create a video series of prophetic worship collaborating with the creative talents of my filmmaker friends.

 

This is a radical departure from my original understanding of my mission.

 

Now the purpose of my music is to lead others into the “Secret Place of the Most High” in their own private worship times with God. By recording these sessions, they can help those seeking intimate fellowship with God by providing an atmosphere to hear Him.

 

Long before the concept of virtual concerts became popular just this year during the COVID battle, the Lord was already moving me to begin preparing for this series to be filmed at a beautiful, historic location in Dallas, with teaching, prophetic words, and playing in the Spirit — some things prepared, but a lot of fresh, on-the-spot music as the Holy Spirit leads.

 

It’s no mistake the filming location is at a historic and prominent venue. I believe taking authority over the ground and ushering God’s presence into this notable secular building in the heart of Dallas is significant.

 

Whatever He’s going to do with this shoot, I have clarity in my heart that it will be majestic and glorious, which partially explains the location of the shoot with its uplifting pillars and grandeur.

 

Worship — through the presence of the Holy Spirit — literally changes the physical atmosphere. This event is an act of faith in which my video team and I will be declaring revival over the city of Dallas and ask you to join us in this prayer as well.

 

So, dear prayer warriors, you’ve read about the dreams and the supernatural visitations. None of this is just a performance. Every note will be bathed in prayer and yielded to the Holy Spirit to lead others into the presence of God. If you’re so inclined, I’d like to ask if you’d lift up this series — and all the preparation — in prayer. Pray with me that everything He is wanting to accomplish in it will be done — no more distractions, no more interruptions.

 

It’s a pretty big leap of faith to say I’m going to rent a 9-foot concert grand and pay to have it tuned and delivered to a marbled room with palatial acoustics and act like I haven’t missed a beat since my last public performance. But I’m doing it anyway. Because He directed me. Because now’s the time — recorded and launched sometime in 2021.

 

In conclusion, I want to leave you with this truth I’ve repeated throughout this article: What you do in private determines your power in public.

 

The expanded version, for Christian artists, is this: If you desire — through your art — to lead others into the manifest presence of God, you must meet with Him privately, daily — consistently — and listen earnestly to Him for today’s instructions.

 

I challenge you — as I’ve been challenged myself — that unless we shut out the world and truly LISTEN to Him, we may never experience the power God wants to work through us. It’s so foundational, so spoken of, but obviously rarely done as evidenced by the fruits we see in the world around us.

 

If I’m going to help facilitate others to have close encounters with the Living God, and if I’m to become more effective and powerful NOW at a time when powerful living is critical, then I must — we must — meet with Jesus in private and earnestly listen to Him.

 

Whether alone, or in a video shoot, or on a stage before thousands, the tables are now turned. No longer will I say I’ve “prepared my hands, but not my heart.” I fully expect to be able to report in all future music making that not only will I lead others into God’s secret place, but that I too freely experience Him and His wonders.

 

I will listen and hear beyond the thunder. So be it for you as well.

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