Leeland challenges this generation to worship and prayer

Leeland shares the story behind their latest album and how they keep their music and message fresh.

Amy Seed, Writer

On their way to a studio in Nashville, Leeland approached a homeless man begging for money near a stoplight.

The light changed from red to green, and honking cars kept the band from helping him. Instead of giving in to the temptation to ignore his needs, they turned around and went back to give him money. In doing so, they made an inconvenient situation convenient, and impacted a life.

“Love is on the Move,” the title track for their latest album, was written in 30 minutes once they got to their studio.

“There was kind of a theme coming through the songs about taking care of the poor and needy and just getting outside the four walls of the church and being the hands and feet of Jesus, because that was something God was convicting us about,” said Jack Mooring, the 25-year-old keyboard player and vocalist.

Leeland points Biola students to God at chapel

His brother, 22-year-old lead singer and songwriter Leeland Mooring, shared his heart with Biola students during chapel on Monday. The concert was more about worshipping and seeking God than bright lights and guitar solos.

Leeland’s mission is to lead people in worship and push them into a relationship with God that digs deeper than traditional Sunday worship in church, said Jake Holtz, the 22-year-old bass player for the Christian band from Baytown, Texas.

“If we could do that and people would get into a deeper relationship with God, I think Christians would have a lot larger impact on the world than we do today,” said Holtz.

Their heart for worship and seeking after God ties in closely with Biola’s mission statement to impact the world for the Lord Jesus Christ. Leeland Mooring even called students to have zeal for God, which complemented the challenge President Barry Corey presented at the convocation chapel earlier this semester.

The band keeps their zeal for God through daily devotions and by sharing every day what God has placed on their hearts, said Mike Smith, the 27-year-old drummer.

During chapel, Leeland Mooring encouraged students to become people of prayer. The effective prayers are not only the prayers of the present, but he said the prayers of the forefathers have held this generation together. He emphasized that if students will pray, they will impact the world.

“I thought it was really cool how he was able to share his heart as well while they were playing,” said senior Lindsey Swedzinski.

It was “Tears of the Saints,” a song about prodigal sons, that most affected one student in particular who confessed to having friends who walked away from God.
“It really encouraged me to pray for them,” said freshman Nicko Ostby.

Leeland relies on a fresh relationship with God for their music

To keep their worship more sincere and less routine, the band practices intentionality in seeking God. Leeland Mooring said the more he prays, the newer his songs become even though some of them are five years old.

His advice for students is to increase their prayer lives. He and his brother explained that a real relationship with God does not look like coasting through each day, barely acknowledging the cross. They said the world is not transformed when believers coast.

“What a real relationship with God looks like is being completely transformed in your character and who are you by the love of what Jesus did for you on the cross, and taking that love and letting it transform who you are in your daily life and obeying the word of God,” said Leeland Mooring.

Real love for God results in obedience to God, he said. It begins with prayer and continues with “a posture of prayer in your heart throughout the day that just is in awe and wonder of God.” He added that the more someone prays, the less likely they are to lead a lifestyle of sin.

“Real prayer and a lifestyle of sin – they can’t coexist together. One has to fall over the other,” said Leeland Mooring. “We have to choose either sin, or we choose devotion to God. And so the more we devote ourselves to God, the more we look like Him, and we change our world and our families.”

Leeland says love for God is what impacts the world

Leeland Mooring offered encouragement for students who desire to make an impact on the world for Christ. A large fan base, like what the GRAMMY- and Dove-nominated band has gained over the years, is not required.

“Jesus wasn’t in the band. Jesus was a carpenter,” said Leeland Mooring. “He didn’t have a big fan base. He just obeyed the voice of God, and He did what God told Him to do.”

He mentioned Matthew 7:7 in chapel and later referred to the Hebrew translation, which communicates that believers are not only to ask, seek and knock but are called to continuously do so.

It is doing this through prayer that will lead believers into a deeper relationship with God. Ultimately, it is that deeper relationship which will result in an impacted world.

“We’ve got to be enamored with who God is,” said Leeland Mooring. “We have to be literally in love with every single part of who God is. It’s got to transform who we are.”

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