The Heart of Worship

When the country first shut down back in March, many things were thrown into a screeching halt. Seemingly everything we knew to be normal about routine and life suddenly became rattled. I found myself missing the mundane. The aspects of my daily life that were repetitive began to lose their sense of meaning. Unfortunately, worship had become one of those things.

Quarantine afforded an abundance of time for introspection and the Lord a space to search my heart. As a worship leader, I am constantly reminded that my own personal worship impacts the way in which I lead others into worship. Typically, my practice sessions double as a time of worship. With the absence of opportunities to gather as the church body, I found myself playing less and less. As a result, my personal worship suffered greatly. Very little did I find myself just picking up my guitar or drum sticks to play worship songs. My worship to God became stagnant. I didn’t feel as if I had grown farther away from God, but I wasn’t growing any closer to Him. So, when I had the chance to play at an outdoor gathering this past July, I didn’t hesitate to accept the invitation.
 
“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am with them.” - Matthew 18:20
 
The moment I first sat behind the drum set and saw hundreds of believers gathered (socially distanced, of course), I felt the spirit of God speak to me. Although not on the set list that morning, the words to “The Heart of Worship” echoed in my mind.
 
“I'm coming back to the heart of worship
And it's all about You, it's all about You, Jesus
I'm sorry, Lord, for the thing I've made it
When it's all about You, it's all about You, Jesus”

 
As I began to surround myself again with believers and celebrate the ways our God has carried and provided for us over the last few months, there began to be a stirring of the Holy Spirit in my heart. Essentially, it felt that returning to church had restored the most important part of my faith. Corporate gatherings of worship, regardless of whether I was leading or participating, were  where I felt most connected to God in worship. However, what was unveiled to me in a season of loneliness and isolation is that my praise is no less valuable when driving around or in my room than when I’m in a corporate setting. Our relationship with God is a personal connection, and through that, we can directly lift our praise and worship.
 
I don’t have to wait for church on Sunday to worship my God.
 
“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” - John 4:23-24
 
The Lord sees our hearts and minds. We are called to live lives of devotion to the Father. Authenticity with God extends from a personal effort to worship and respond to the things He has done. When we are honest with the Lord, we are purified to worship Him in Spirit and in truth.
 
What did this look like practically? For me, worship began to take the form of Tehillah (to sing unrehearsed, unplanned praises). In the midst of my studying and playing around on my instruments, a song of praise would break out during a time I had devoted to something else. Over the summer, I worked at a golf course doing maintenance. I began taking advantage of my individual work tasks by throwing some worship songs on while I was cutting greens. There existed a calming presence that extended over me and I felt the freedom to sing in the middle of the course (sometimes louder than my mower). I felt connected to the Lord here as strongly as I do in corporate worship settings.
 
The Lord revealed to me that my personal worship had become routine and insincere. Playing at church had been more about playing the songs well and not authentically worshipping in the process. For those who need to hear this, our call to worship extends beyond the hour we spend on Sundays at church in both the Word and song. I believe that if we come back to that place of adoration with God and constantly seek Him for things, we will see Heaven invade the earth at a time when we desperately need to see Him move.
 
“He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God.” - Psalm 40:3
 
This first gathering since lockdown was the Lord’s invitation to return to what worship is meant to be: pure adoration and to respond to the One who has done abundantly more.
 
My prayer for everyone reading is this: that you would simply return to the heart of worship.
 
Let’s not make this about ourselves or worry about how it’s done, but rather would we present ourselves as living sacrifices to God no matter where we are or what season we’re living in.
 
Here are some “homework” songs to listen to. As you listen, meditate on the words being spoken, and pray that God would put a new song in your mouth. That He would use your personal time of worship to cultivate a longing for more of Him.
 
●      The Heart of Worship - Matt Redman
●      Refiner and Communion - Maverick City Music
●      Nothing Else - Cody Carnes
●      The Secret Place (Acoustic) - Phil Wickham
●      Hallelujah Here Below - Elevation Worship

Author  |  Sam Adams

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