3 reasons why repeating phrases in worship can be powerful

“...He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”
Psalm 23:3*

Have you ever been in a time of praise & worship and the leader keeps repeating the same phrase over and over? Maybe you were annoyed...maybe you wondered why...or maybe you were so drawn to the Lord in that moment that repeating the phrase seemed to bring you closer to Him with each repetition!

The reality is, we’ve probably experienced all three of those scenarios. I’ve been annoyed when it seemed there was no purpose or direction behind the repeating. I’ve wondered in times like those - why are we doing this?!

Yet I believe, if executed right, repeating phrases in times of worship can actually be very effective in drawing us closer to the Lord!

Here’s 3 reasons why repeating phrases in worship can be powerful:

1. It takes you higher

The scripture talks about ascending the hill of the Lord and standing in His holy place. It’s a picture of rising above the circumstances, the world, the enemy, our flesh - and more importantly entering into an awareness of God, His glory, His love, His power, His reigning and ruling.

Check out this footnote on Ps. 23:3 from Brian Simmons, the author of the Passion Translation:
*Psalm 23:3 Or “circular paths of righteousness.” It is a common trait for sheep on the hillsides of Israel to circle their way up higher. They eventually form a path that keeps leading them higher. This is what David is referring to here. Each step we take following our Shepherd will lead us higher, even though it may seem we are going in circles.

It may seem like we’re going in circles - or repeating phrases over and over - yet God is actually using it to take us higher and closer to Him!

2. It’s a form of meditation

Did you know that singing praise and worship is one of the most accessible forms of meditation? And I would say enjoyable too!

One of the Hebrew words for meditate means “to mutter.” The Hebrews would take the phrases of scripture and mutter them repeatedly under their breath as a form of meditation. This allowed for the truth of God’s word to get deep into their heart - so that they “might not sin against” God (Ps. 119:11).

So when we are singing phrases repeatedly we are making way for the truth of God’s word to be planted in our hearts which sets us up for freedom and purity! Not to mention it helps renew our minds!

Meditation is also how the unveiling of life changing truth comes! We could have sang the same song or read the same scripture 100 times, but the Holy Spirit uses our repetition to “open our eyes to see wonderful things...” (Ps. 119:18).

My good friend Jerame Nelson says it like this: “Meditation brings revelation and revelation leads to manifestation.”

3. It helps us draw on the life of the Spirit

Jesus said this: “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.” (John 6:63)

This may sound weird but - some phrases are just more anointed!

Here’s what I mean.

When God is saying something, there is life on it. And if I’m smart enough, I’d stay on the words that God is dispensing life on as long as there is life on them! Receive all the nutrients you can from what He is currently saying while He is still saying it!

Some phrases are more anointed because God is using them in that particular moment to give us life and say something to us!

All I can say is when that is happening - stay there at the well and drink as long as the well has water!

In other words, repeat that phrase until it’s done. And when it’s done, move on!

Disclaimer for worship leaders/singers: Realize that it’s more than the exact wording and particular phrasing. It’s the heartbeat of what God is saying that has life. So to prevent boredom, after repeating a phrase for a time, say the same thing a different way to keep the life flowing and to sustain the moment.

You can even take it step further and listen for the next part of what He wants to say and sing that! I’ve noticed that God builds on what He says.

Let’s not be afraid to repeat something if God is on it! Let Him take us higher, deeper and saturate us with the life of the Holy Spirit!

Question: How have you been impacted positively or negatively by repeating of phrases in worship times?