One of the hardest things for me to do as a worship leader is to keep my heart consistently engaged during the times that I’m leading.

As a worship time progresses, it’s so easy to simply get into “coast” mode and not really engage my spirit with what I’m doing.

Have you ever faced this challenge?

The Lord, in His kindness, still speaks through us and uses us to touch others because He loves His people and wants them to receive ministry, but I don’t want to just settle for God’s grace. I want to maximize my time of leading worship and actually encounter the Lord myself.

Make a commitment to actively engage your heart in worship. God wants to encounter you. Draw near to Him and trust His promise that He will draw near to you. Click To Tweet

I have to constantly remind myself of the primary reason for singing, playing, or leading. Whether the room is full of people, or there isn’t another soul listening; whether I have a full band, or whether it’s just me up there – I am playing before the same audience – Jesus.

It is His eyes I want to catch and His heart I want to touch.

Though singing prophetic words over people is cool, and leading people into corporate exaltation of Jesus is amazing – we must constantly remind ourselves why we’re doing what we do.

This can be a challenge.

Human nature is such that once we do something for long enough, we tend to lose focus. Many times our hearts naturally disconnect from what we’re doing. It takes a constant effort to connect with the Lord and a faithfulness in prayer to encounter Him consistently.

Here are a few things that have helped me over the years to keep my heart engaged while leading:

1. Sing in the spirit:

Pray in your prayer language (tongues). Fellowship with the Holy Spirit who is dwelling on the inside of you.

2. Sing the songs from your heart.

Really try to engage your heart with the words that you’re singing. Don’t let it become just a mindless act.

3. Pray.

Don’t underestimate the power 30-second prayers before and during your worship time.

One thing that I’m constantly reminding myself and my team is that you have 100 times during a set where you may not “feel the Lord.” That gives you 100 opportunities to either say, “I want to encounter You, God” and engage your spirit or to say, “We’ve done this song so many times before, I’m not feeling it…” and check out. If you err more on the positive side and check in, I guarantee you there’s a much better chance that you’ll walk off stage feeling the Lord. Conversely, if you check out more often that not, you are more than likely going to walk off stage with a dullness in your spirit.

Make a commitment to actively engage your heart in worship. God wants to encounter you. Draw near to Him and trust His promise that He will draw near to you.

Huge thanks to my friend Jordan Vanderplate for letting me use this photo of Sequoia National Park, CA. Check out more of his work here.

I’m Justin Rizzo. I enable worship leaders who feel isolated, overworked, and unfocused to experience peace, confidence and create thriving worship communities.

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Light of the World (Acoustic)


  1. Thank you so much for this article, Justin! It is encouraging to know that other worship leaders have the same challenges that I face.

    What is helpful to me is always to remember that during worship times, I get to take people on a journey with me. I am also in awe of the fact that we are spirit and therefore other people’s spirits will “pick up” if there is an earnestness and authenticity when I am leading worship.

    Yes, there is grace when we “don’t feel it” and are still leading worship out of obedience and because we are called to do so. I absolutely believe that we are supposed to do these things by faith and not out of performance. Yet, why would I allow my flesh to hijack my spirit and “zone out” / “go on auto pilot” when I can have a marvelous time in God’s presence and I get to take people with me, if they want to?

    In all honesty and humility, I am finding out day by day that if we don’t encounter God in the private place, it becomes harder and harder to legitimately encounter Him in the public place. There is a level of this that we will not reach if we do not live a lifestyle of intimacy with Him.

    By no means have I attained perfection in this area, but there is a longing and a yearning in me to do this more and more. Deep calling unto deep… When we lead from THAT place – man, there are no limits!!!

    Bless you and thank you for your friendship and guidance. You are a treasure to Chris and myself and to the Body of Christ.

    Looking forward to our visit to Kansas City asap.

    1. Justin Rizzo

      Love these thoughts, Yolande. Thanks so much for sharing! Looking forward to hopefully seeing you and Chris soon!

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