Worship the LORD with gladness. Come before Him, singing with joy.
Psalms 100:2 NLT
I’ve never written a post about worship. I’m one of those musical and expressive people that finds it very easy to join in the worship of God. I listen to worship music constantly and often you will find me singing as I walk my dog or as I’m riding around in my car.
But there are some of you who find worship difficult. I’m not really sure why. Perhaps someone told you that you can’t sing. Maybe it is just your personality. You are horrified at the thought that the person next to you in church might secretly be cringing at the sound of your voice. When you see others raising their hands or even weeping for joy you cannot imagine becoming so vulnerable in a public place.
I see you every Sunday and my heart breaks for you. For those of us to whom worship comes naturally you are somewhat of a mystery. As a Pastor I want you to worship with all your heart. The first thing I want to say to you is that you don’t need to worship like I do. At my church we try not to tell people how to worship. We don’t tell you to raise your hands, close your eyes or dance. We don’t do this because that might not be your style.
When I got sick with Adiposis Dolorosa I found it increasingly difficult to stand during the worship time. We have about 20 minutes of worship music in our services and I can’t stand comfortably for more than about 5 minutes. Being an expressive person I wanted to stand but I had to sit. Then a strange thing happened. I started to worry that other people would be judging me for sitting.
“Look, the Worship leader just asked everybody to stand and the Pastor is still sitting down.”
Now I know that there is probably nobody in the service that is really thinking that but nearly every Sunday that thought runs through my mind. Here’s a tip for all you worship leaders. Not everybody can stand that long. I know you like it when the crowd is on their feet but give people permission to stand if they want or stay seated if they want. The most important thing is that people are comfortable to worship the Lord as they are best able to.
Perhaps you feel a little uncomfortable in worship too? Maybe it’s not standing but perhaps you look at a very expressive person and wonder if they are putting on a show. Yes, you know you have thought that, I have too. I think for some of you the worship time is very difficult because you focus on everything but the Lord.
- You think about that crazy outfit the guitar player is wearing.
- You wonder why the sound guy can’t get the mix right.
- You question the theology of that song
- You miss singing your old favorites
- You think worship has become nothing but a show
But the time is coming–indeed it’s here now–when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship Him that way.
John 4:23 NLT
If this is you can I tell you something? The Father is looking for worshipers. I know you’ve heard about John 4:23 before, but don’t let that first thought pass you by. The Father is looking for worshipers. My question is, will he find you among them? I’m not asking you to become someone that you are not. Worship is not only for the expressive people among us. The Father can be pleased by the faintest smile on your face as your heart exalts in Him. You don’t have to raise your hands but don’t be afraid to let a tear run down your cheek when you marvel at the love of Christ.
From G4314 and probably a derivative of G2965 (meaning to kiss, like a dog licking his master’s hand); to fawn or crouch to, that is, (literally or figuratively) prostrate oneself in homage (do reverence to, adore): – worship.
When I come home my dog comes rushing to the front door and enthusiastically greets me. Often he will rise up on his back legs, put his front paws on my chest and try to lick my face. If you can imagine that scene then you know what worship is. The Greek word for worship proskuneō is thought to come from two roots:
- pros – forward or toward
- kuōn – dog
Imagine that! You come towards God the same way that your dog greets you at the front door. If you have ever had a dog, or maybe a cat that does this, just close your eyes for a moment and picture that greeting. Can you feel the joy literally pouring out of your pet? Can you feel the love rising in your heart for your animal? You bend down to greet them. You hold them close and smile over them…
Why do we worship God? Besides the fact that we are commanded to, the truth is we need to. We were made to worship God and we need to worship Him.
Can I tell you that if we can learn to approach the Father with that dog-at-the-door type of worship we will find a joy that will carry us through the hardest places of life?
“Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.”
Just as you bend down to greet your pet, when we worship the Lord he bends down to come close to you. Want to know why I sometimes weep as we worship? Because my Lord has come very close to me and in that moment he is touching my heart. For some of you it has been a very long time since you felt the Lord touch your heart. Others might say, if you were honest, that you have never felt that touch in your heart. Still others might at this very moment be on the defensive saying that worship is just about feelings.
My heart says of you, “Seek his face!” Your face, LORD, I will seek.
Psalms 27:8 NIV
The Father seeks worshipers. Dog-at-the-front-door worshipers who will draw near at the front door. They won’t wait for others to get there first… they want to lick His face so that he will be so close to their heart that he can’t help but touch it. There is nothing greater than to be a part of that pack of animals waiting at the door when the Father comes in.
I pray for you.
- I pray that the Lord will help you to learn how to worship.
- I pray that he will help you to lay aside the fear that keeps you from true worship.
- I pray that he will help you to learn how to wag your tail and worship