Our arms were raised. Our voices united in song. Suddenly I felt a shift in the room as the Holy Spirit flooded the sanctuary with His presence. While I detected fresh power moving about, I found myself utterly focused and engaged in worshipping God. Nothing else mattered. No longer multi-tasking. I no longer considered the schedule of the event I led. I became keenly aware of the closeness I felt to God. When I picked up the microphone, I couldn’t help but testify to what I just experienced.
Worship can become contagious in all the best possible ways. Others attending the service that evening also felt the change. Some were ushered into God’s presence.
Donald S. Whitney in his book, “Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life” says,
To worship God is to ascribe proper worth to God, to magnify His worthiness or praise, or better to approach or address God as He is worthy. As the sovereign judge, to whom we must give an account, He is worthy of all the honor we can give Him and then infinitely more.
Worship is a spiritual discipline hard-wired into the core of our being. It is what God’s creation is designed to do. However, God wants us to choose and offer it freely. Worship requires intentionality and focus. Each participant can choose to actively take part or be distracted by other activities.
Psalm 95 calls God’s people to worship.
1 Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord; let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation. Psalm 95:1 NIV
Sing and Shout
God gifted me with a voice that I can use to sing or speak or even shout. Singing and shouting to the Rock of our salvation, singing along with hymns or contemporary Christian music can provide an easy way for me to worship God. The lyrics help me recall God’s character and ways of doing things. Musical worship can be done in a church service in a building with great acoustics. It can be done in my living room with my small group. It can also be done with me alone in my car singing as loud as I would like.
2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving and extol him with music and song. Psalm 95:2 NIV
Another way to worship God is to spend time giving thanks for all He has done for me and my people. I tend to easily make a list of all I don’t have. However, what a wonderful way to focus on God by giving thanks to God for all He has done today, this week, or recently.
One practical way to create a thanksgiving list is to go through the alphabet and try to think of a thing to give thanks for featuring each letter of the alphabet.
2. Beautiful weather
3. Cameras to capture photos of those I love…
3 For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. 4 In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. 5 The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. 6 Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; Psalm 95:3-6 NIV
Bow Down in Worship
Physical activities help remind me of certain truths. When I bow or kneel before God, I remember that He is God, and I am not. Bowing or kneeling can be physical acts of surrender. While I certainly am not required to kneel or bow, sometimes it is a wonderful way to focus my attention. It is much harder to try to check my phone or take notice of those around me when I am kneeling or bowing with my head down. The Lord my maker knows the struggles I have with distraction and anxiety. He offers this posture to help me with my heart’s desire to wander off.
7 for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if only you would hear his voice, 8 “Do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah, as you did that day at Massah in the wilderness, 9 where your ancestors tested me; they tried me, though they had seen what I did. 10 For forty years I was angry with that generation; I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray, and they have not known my ways.’ 11 So I declared on oath in my anger, ‘They shall never enter my rest.’” Psalm 95:7-11 NIV
Listen with My Ears and a Tender Heart
After they left Egypt, the Israelites wandered in the desert at Meribah where they ran out of water. Fear and anxiety fed a wave of grumbling and complaining that cascaded through the camp. Grumbling hardens hearts and stops up ears. God’s people couldn’t hear the clear directive God gave in His provision of water to come from a rock. Moses was asked to bring water out of a rock for the people and the livestock. (Numbers 20)
Moses chose not to listen to God and allowed his heart to be hardened by the people’s complaining. In anger, Moses tried getting water out of the rock in his own way. His disobedience and failure to worship God for what he was going to provide had long-lasting consequences.
Worship matters because it shapes our souls.
Lent can be a wonderful season to try different spiritual disciplines. Worship could be an ideal one to work on this week by reading and praying through a worship psalm like 95. Some other worship psalms to examine would be:
24, 27, 36, 98, 102, 103, 104 & 110
Psalms provide a beautiful blueprint for praise and worship. Try one on for size this week and watch to see how your heart and mind might be transformed.
Far more often than I care to admit, I do not prioritize soul care. Worship can be a great way to access some soul refreshment. I would love to hear how you practice worship this week.
Lord, expand my capacity for greater worship. Help me to spend time alone and with your people giving honor and glory to You. Cause me to hunger and thirst for more worship in my life.
In Jesus’ name,