Sunday service in most churches consists of 3 things: a sermon, prayer, and music. Praise and worship can be the “make or break” part of the service for someone as they visit and search for a church home. Does this church raise hands? Dance in the aisles? Sing hymns or contemporary music?
And how in the world does someone learn the art to worshiping anyway? How are you supposed to raise your hands? When do you clap or not clap? Most of us probably look side to side to see what everyone else is doing and try to fit in. We definitely don’t want to make a fool of ourselves or offend anyone by getting “too into it.” Maybe you just feel silly and out of your element. In order to be a better worshiper, where do you start?
As I have researched this topic, I’ve learned a lot about my own personal worship experience. We can be so focused on what music should sound like and how we should physically worship that we completely miss out on what God intended it to be for us. I want to share a few things I’ve been realizing about worship that might make you think and change your own views, and hopefully it will free you from the boxed in view of worship we all get stuck believing in.
Fix your heart. “Jesus replied, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” Matthew 22:37
In order to truly worship, your heart needs to be in the right place with the Lord. If you don’t love the Lord with all your heart, how can you truly worship Him? It begins with an encounter with God, one in which you find Him and realize your need for Him in your life, realize how important He is to you. As your heart changes, you will want nothing else than to give him everything you have to offer: your talents, gifts, time, and on a deeper level, your mind, heart, and soul.
Be friends with the Holy Spirit. “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” John 4:23-24
How can you truly worship God in spirit, as we are called to do, if we don’t know the Holy Spirit? Are you friends with the Holy Spirit? Do you spend time with Him daily? If not, worship might not be as natural for you. We must seek God, find Him, speak to Him, learn about Him and His nature, and discipline ourselves to create space in our lives for Him. If we give Him space and time, I believe He will show up and change us and our hearts!
Come humble. “Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.” Psalm 95: 6
Being self-conscience about how we look or what people will think is pretty common with people at church. But God calls us to bow down, to humble ourselves. Maybe we are just too worried about what others think or what we look like. Think about it. What would happen if we just let go and really humble ourselves in worship? Maybe that’s closing your eyes and singing out the words that are pulling at your heart. Maybe that’s stepping forward and physically bowing at the altar in response to what the Holy Spirit is putting on your heart. Maybe it’s raising your hands to a chorus that you truly want to offer to the God you love so much. Whatever action of humility in worship you feel, go for it. God wants our true selves, our true hearts. When we bow at Jesus’ feet, we are giving ourselves to Him, and He will make us new! Our lives will be revived, and we will be lifted up, not torn down.
Act and live like Jesus. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship.” Romans 12:1
What we do in our daily lives, our actions, our speech, even how we dress is a way of worshiping God. Are we living lives that are holy and pure? Would God be pleased with what we focus our attention on through the week? If not, that’s a great place to start the change. Let’s focus our lives on the Lord. Change the radio station in your car, think twice about what you wear in public, listen for the message your favorite TV show is teaching, take a second to think through how you talk to coworkers at your job. Our lives need to be holy and pleasing to God.
Let’s worship God, but not just with song. Let’s worship Him by loving and learning more about Him, humbling ourselves before Him, and changing our daily lives to honor Him. That, my friend, is the best way to start a true worship experience.