Worship is one of those things if you grew up in church- you just get used to. It becomes one of those words that can have very little meaning if you’re not careful. Like when we say “I’m praying for you” but we never think about it again. We say it because we’re Christians and we “should” be praying for others. Same thing with worship. We talk about the “worship” portion of our Sunday morning service. “We take up the offering after worship”, “We sang some great songs during worship” or sometimes it’s “we sang that song way too long in worship”. “Worship was too loud today”…and somehow worship has stopped being a way of life and has become a segment of our service, a simple term to explain the thirty or forty minutes of singing after the announcements and before the message. Maybe you are one of those who don’t like worship so you show up late to church to miss that part of the service. Maybe your church doesn’t have the greatest worship and you feel like if they would just get a new worship leader or a new band or pick better songs- then you would enjoy worship. And I get it. Somewhere along the way we have started to think of worship in a real churchy, religious way and in a way that is more about us and less about worship.
Over the last several years the Lord has been speaking deeply to my heart about worship. And even more so the last few weeks. I am not a worship leader, nor will I ever be. When my youngest child was two, I was rocking her to sleep and quietly singing over her and she ever so sweetly reached two chubby little fingers up, pressed them to my lips and said in her precious toddler voice, “Shh ,mommy, don’t sing.” Definitive proof I am not a singer. Not even a little bit. So as I write about worship, know this is from the heart of someone who is not a professional. My thoughts and opinions on worship come from what I have personally experienced with God not from any expertise on what it takes to lead a team of people and a church full of people into worship.
So if worship is not a segment of our service, what is it and why should you care? The Bible clearly states over and over that we are to worship God. If you are a believer, you are called to be a worshipper. Worship extends far beyond the realm of singing. Worship is a way of life. It is an attitude of our hearts. Worship says, “You are God and I am not.” Worship says, “You, God, deserve all of my heart and all of my life.” There are so many ways to worship God that I could not even begin to cover them. I want to focus on the aspect of worship that has become so familiar and so routine- the singing. Yes, the person who can’t sing is going to talk about singing.
Here’s what I know. If you hate worship- it’s not because of the worship leader, or the song choice, or the band. I believe we hate worship when we don’t understand worship. Who wants to do something they’re not especially good at over and over in a crowd of other people? Honestly, some Sundays I’m really just trying to make sure no one sitting near me is assaulted by my voice. But when we begin to understand what is happening during worship – then we are not satisfied to just sing to Him on Sunday mornings. We will find ourselves singing in the car, the shower, the kitchen. Everywhere. A song will begin to rise up in us at the strangest times. Because we will know something that we don’t know right now. We will know the power of our worship.
And they sang a new song, saying,
“Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.”
Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands
When we lift our voices in worship, we are not just joining in with heaven but we are aligning with God’s purposes and character. So when you sing, “King of All Days, exalted above “ then you are declaring Him as King over not only your days and your family’s days, but over your community, your nation and your world. You are agreeing with heaven that He is who He says He is and He will do what He says He will do. You are a part of contending for “Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven”. See- you are not just singing. You are prophetically declaring the truth of God’s kingdom. Think about what this means- one minute you are on the phone trying to convince the cable company to remove the $10 charge for the Starz channel you never subscribed to- you are feeling frustrated and pretty unimportant in the big scheme of things…then you turn on spotify or youtube and find some worship music and begin to agree with heaven for the plans and purposes of God and suddenly -you may be paying for Starz for another month- but you are changing the world with your worship. You are bringing heaven to earth. In your kitchen. In your car. So find your voice. Find your song. It may feel awkward and uncomfortable at first- but as you enter in faith, you will leave transformed. You will stop singing and start worshipping.
And on this earth, there are only a few things we can offer here that will be done away with in heaven. One of those things is a “sacrifice of praise”. When we are experiencing the pain of this life, the loss and heartbreak and hardship this world can bring, we have a unique opportunity to offer God a sacrifice- the sacrifice of praising Him with a broken heart. When we stand in our brokenness, our confusion, our disillusionment and disappointment, and we say like Job, “Though He slay me, yet I will praise Him”…I believe the kingdom of darkness trembles. How do you defeat a people like this? How do you separate their hearts from their God when they refuse to turn away from Him even when they don’t understand? This is the praise, the worship, that undoes the enemy and turns heaven’s gaze your way.