I met Jim at the recent General Assembly of the Church of the Nazarene. I have been reading and benefiting form his blog. Here is a bio and enjoy his guest post.
How to Worship
A young lady in our church has had numerous health problems in her life: cancer, diabetes, heart disease, to name a few. Then, she was suddenly struck with blindness. She went to the eye doctor, then the emergency room and was admitted to the hospital. After a lengthy stay and numerous tests and no improvement she was sent home. An appointment with a specialist was scheduled.
While she waited for that appointment, she carried on the best she could with her life. That included on going doctor appointments and tests for her other conditions. One Friday, she received some very good reports on the results of those tests. When that happened, she and her friend began to worship. Her friend selected some songs to listen and sing to and they began to pray and sing and thank God for all he had done! During this time of worship, her friend was impressed by God to lay her tear soaked hands on her eyes and ask for healing. She didn’t know what to do except to respond to this prompt on her heart.
Then, the worship got more intense: “I can see! I can see!”
She called my wife and me to share the good news. We rushed over there and were enveloped in an atmosphere of awe and glory.
When we worship, anything can happen! How we worship also matters.
Worship is all about God. He is absolutely central to worship. If we are thinking about what we are doing, what we sound like, if people are watching, if the lighting is right or anything else, we cease to worship. Our focus must always be on God.
Worship is not performance but participatory. We don’t worship when we just watch someone perform. We don’t worship when we only seek a good feeling. We don’t worship when we are only inspired to be better people. We worship when we express our love and awe of God. When we worship, we are not thinking about doing the right thing in the right way but about simply expressing ourselves to God.
Worship is expressed in many ways. Singing, shouting, silence, prayer, standing, kneeling, lying prostrate, jumping – there is no one way to worship. Again, worship, is any of many expressions that spring from our desire to glorify God. We don’t all worship the same way and we will express worship in many ways over time! As we worship, we don’t concern ourselves with how others are worshiping – or even if they are worshiping. We simply worship!
We worship when we respond to God’s manifest presence. When we are swept into the manifest presence of God, what happens next is worship – however expressed!
We worship when we don’t experience the manifest presence of God. Our worship is not dependent on what we feel or experience. It is dependent on the unchangeable awesome majesty of God and we don’t have to experience his presence to know that awesome majesty!
We worship without regard to what we will get out of it! As she gave her testimony on Sunday, the young lady in our story made this remark: “It doesn’t matter if God heals me completely, I will always follow and worship him.”
And there is the heart of worship – a focus and expression of unconditional love for God – the unbridling of our hearts to express that love however it comes out!
For more on prayer and for practical help in following Jesus, please visit jimthefollower.com.