Worship is one of those strange things that you either get or you don’t. I often look around the room when I’m leading or playing and see the different reactions of the people. There are those who seem utterly lost as to where they are; the music, the person beside them, everything. Something during one of the songs triggers a heartfelt reaction of awe, desperation, love, remorse, repentance or just an unexplainable joy that wells up from within. It’s one of those, you have to live it to really understand what I’m trying to explain.
Then there are those whose eyes are always wide open, they’re very much present in the room, and not lost at all as to where they are. In fact, they’re usually looking around at everyone else in the room trying to see what’s going on, with their mouths sealed shut. You might think I’m talking about the new guy in church, but I’m not… these people have normally been in church for years.
I remember one leader once told me, “I just don’t get it, I’m not musical at all, I can’t swing and I don’t understand worship.” This was a leader!! When you watch these people you wonder if they ever really try to worship, or if they’re just satisfied enjoying the music until they can listen to the part they do understand; the Word.
There is another group, and I think it’s the majority of people, most of the time. They might have experienced one of those “moments” in worship, but not regularly. They rush into the service, maybe a little late, and close their eyes, lift their hands and sing… but feel nothing. At least they are doing something, but there really isn’t that deep connection, that supernatural link that moves something deep within their soul.
The problem is, people try to turn worship into a head thing, “How can I worship effectively?” Maybe I should have entitled this blog, 2 steps to effectively enter into worship. You can’t really break it down like this, and you’ll see why as you read on, but if you’re one of those two people who either just doesn’t get it at all, or you try but just can’t seem to connect, there are two things that I think might be able to help you.
The Bible says, “But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. 24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:23-24, ESV).
Now there’s been maybe a billion messages on this passage, but to me it’s really simple and it’s talking about two things. First praise, that’s the truth part. Derek Prince in his book The Secrets of a Prayer Warrior writes this about praise:
“Praise is offered to God for who He is and what He does in general. Thanksgiving is offered to God for what He has done for us in particular.” (Pg. 69)
To me that’s the truth part, who God is. You can’t praise Him if you don’t even know who he is. How do you find that out? Through His Word. And you can’t give thanks if you don’t know what He’s done for you. The Psalmist wrote, “Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!” (Psalm 100:4).
Most people get stuck here, they just don’t understand the magnitude of who God is and what He’s done. They know how to serve Him, to give their time and money to Him, but if you stop there you’ve merely arrived at a religion and not a live-changing, living faith. This will never change you, anyone religious in any religion can “worship” by serving. Sometimes you have to just do what David wrote and force your mouth to open and start speaking out your praise and thanksgiving for God. That’s what I’d say to those people who never even open their mouths in worship, just do it! Stop observing, close your eyes and just say something about who God is and what He has done.
However, that’s still just “head knowledge” worshiping in truth and understanding, but it lacks that supernatural, life-changing moment; that real connection with heaven. The second thing I think this passage is talking about is worship. Derek Prince aptly puts in the same book mentioned above
“Worship is poorly understood in contemporary Christendom. Worship is not singing hymns or choruses; worship is not a declaration of God’s attributes. Vocal expression has to do with praise and thanksgiving; worship has to do with attitude” (Pg 72).
There are very few who make it here, to real worship, because it’s not something you do, rather it’s an attitude before God, and most people don’t get it. This is where worship really beings to move you, to change you, to produce those incredible life-changing moments where everything just stops and it’s like your soul is being wrenched out of you and thrown into heaven. It’s these moments that make you wanna scream “I DON’T EVER WANT TO LEAVE THIS PLACE!” And like Derek Prince says, you don’t actually need “hymns or choruses, i.e. your favorite worship leader singing at the top of their lungs with the music raging behind them (although it does help!). You just need you, your mouth to start things off through praise and thanksgiving, and then your heart to be open and humble before the Great I AM!
When we worship, we encounter God the Father, and it blows us away! If you’ve never experienced this before, I encourage you, next time your in church, get their a little early, make sure there are no distractions (drop off your kids at kid’s church if you have kids), forget about the person beside you, stop looking around you, close your eyes, open your mouth and start to pour out your heart to him. Let the lyrics of the song guide you through to have that encounter with Him through spiritual, heart-attitude worship.