Worship through song is one of the most powerful ways to connect directly to the love, compassion, power, and grace of God. In worship, walls we’ve placed between God and us get torn down, just as God tore the veil at the death of Christ. In worship, our hearts become soft, aware, and open to the glorious majesties of God’s nearness. In worship, God makes his nearness known to us and fills us anew with the power of his manifest presence.
The Psalms are filled with exhortations to worship. Psalm 95:1-3 says, “Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise! For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.” We are created to worship our Creator. When we give glory to God, we place him on the throne of our hearts and posture ourselves in the only position in which we will find peace: one of submission and humility. In the act of worship, we lay down everything we’ve allowed to matter more than God’s perfect will for us and receive the grace to love him above all else.
Psalm 132:7 says, “Let us go to his dwelling place; let us worship at his footstool!” When we worship, we enter into direct contact with our all-powerful, all-loving, all-knowing heavenly Father. God’s desire in worship is to draw us near to himself, fill us to overflow with his love, and wait patiently for us to love him in return. The more often we receive his love through worship, the more consistently we will love and honor him in all we do. I fear that many Christians engage in worship because they feel they should or are allotted a time in church to do so, but all the while never really desire to worship God. God is not a prideful King who demands inauthentic praise from his people. He is in no way insecure or needy. He is simply after true communion with you where he loves you and you love him in return. And he will keep loving you, speaking to you, and reminding you of his desire for you until you open your heart and realize that loving him is the most satisfying, fulfilling, and purposeful way to live.
My favorite way to engage in worship, either in my personal devotional time or in a corporate gathering, is to begin by opening my heart and asking the Holy Spirit to help me receive God’s affection for me. 1 John 4:19 says, “We love because he first loved us.” I forget too easily how deeply God loves me. As I go throughout my week, the cares of the world seem to creep in and rob me of a full understanding of the depths of God’s love. So, I continually need reminders of his love that I may live my life in response to him rather than singing just because I should. Before you engage in worship, take a minute or two to reflect on God’s love. Read a Psalm or a part of the gospel that will remind you of how much God loves you. Ask God to speak to you and pour his love out on you. It isn’t selfish to ask God to love you. He knows that we are in desperate need of his love, and he fully understands that we cannot love him without receiving his love first.
Richard J. Foster says it this way in his book, Celebration of Discipline:
Worship is our response to the overtures of love from the heart of the Father. Its central reality is found “in Spirit and in Truth.” It is kindled within us only when then the Spirit of God touches our human Spirit. Forms and rituals do not produce worship, nor does the formal disuse of forms and rituals. We can use all the right techniques and methods, we can have the best possible liturgy but we have not worshiped the Lord until Spirit touches Spirit. Singing, praying, praising, all may lead to worship, but worship is more than any of them. Our Spirit must be ignited by divine fire.
Whether or not you have encountered the miracle of God’s presence in worship up to this day, God wants to draw you into a fresh and needed experience of his nearness right now. He wants to pour out his love on every dry and weary place of your heart. Take time in prayer to receive his love, allow his Spirit to touch your spirit, and respond to him with adoration.