We follow an order of worship, a liturgy, but this is because we believe that all churches, even non-liturgical churches have a liturgy, an order of worship. The question is only whether the order of worship has been thought out carefully, seeking to be obedient to the principles found in Scripture or not. Likewise, we prepare our prayers beforehand, seeking to be careful and thoughtful about what we say to the Lord. Some people believe that planning things out is less meaningful, but nobody ever thought that at a wedding or a presidential inauguration or the coronation of a king. If a man composes a poem for his love, does she think he means it less because he spent so much time preparing it? And besides, the idea that we can have good things to say when we just wing it, is full of humanistic hubris. We are not gods; we are just people.
Every church actually uses precomposed words for their prayers; they just put music to many of them. That’s what songs and hymns are: precomposed prayers. And Jesus gave us a particular prayer to pray, that we call the Lord’s Prayer. Jesus warned us not to allow set prayers to become vain repetitions, but that has a lot more to do with our hearts than it does the exact words we say.
But this leads to the point of this exhortation. We do believe in planning out our worship; we do believe in preparing our words beforehand. But this is not because we believe that we can somehow manipulate God and force Him to show up here. We are like Elijah on Mt. Carmel. We set up the altar in the way that God commands, we arrange the wood in the way that God commands, and we put the sacrifice on the wood in the way that God commands. That is all our preparation, all our planning, all of our liturgy. But then we must cry out to God for fire.
We do not measure that fire by earthly standards or fleshly standards. It need not be loud or chaotic or ecstatic or full of tears. The Spirit primarily shows up in Scripture to empower people to obey. It opens the eyes and the ears of people to see God in His holiness and perfection, to see their sin for all of its filth and shame, and to see Jesus in all of His provision for us, so that our hearts are turned to Him in love and obedience. How will we know if the fire falls? You will see new obedience in your lives.