A Ready Guide to Worship
11 The mouth of the righteous is a fountain of life, but the mouth of the wicked conceals violence [it’s a heart issue].
Worship is different than praise and thanksgiving. We praise the Lord and give thanks to His holy name. Worship is a response to His Spirit speaking to us. It requires “listening ears” that we can only get when our hearts are tuned to Him. I love the first verse of Come Thou Fount, which reads, “Come, thou fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing Thy grace.” Somewhere in a service, we need to move from talking about God to talking TO Him. When we acknowledge Him, His Spirit speaks to us in the music, the prayers, the sermon, and the invitation. It’s important for us to move from praise to worship.
Here are some guidelines for encouraging worship:
- Tune your heart to sing His praise. Singing our faith and our intention helps us focus on Him. I know somewhere down the line, men have gotten the idea that it’s okay for them not to sing–wrong! Tell that to King David, or Jesus. They both sang. Men, we need to model true praise and worship by singing to the Lord. Perfection is not necessary; just a willing heart.
- “Give thanks to the Lord for He is good; His love endures forever.” List in your mind everything that comes to mind for which you are thankful. Be sure to include His attributes and His love, His greatness and His goodness. Allow yourself to be carried along by the music and the flow of the service.
- Keep something handy on which to take notes during the sermon. The Lord highlights things for us; when He does, make a note. Expect God to speak to you through your pastor–whether in agreement or in rebuttal. Try to see from his perspective, which includes age, temperament, history, and education.
- Keep comments to others, whether by mouth or phone, to a minimum and make sure to not say anything negative about what is being said. If you have a question or disagreement, jot it down for another time. Pray about it; study on it; discuss the topic, but not the disagreement. It’s important to not defame anyone. Stay away from disparaging* and caustic** remarks. Instead, PRAY.
- Don’t “check out” during the invitation i.e. packing up your things getting ready to go, checking your phone for messages, etc. Instead, pray for God to move in hearts–especially yours! Now is a great time to hear from Him as we lay our hearts and lives before Him in an attitude of humility.
God is speaking to His Church. What is He saying? “He who has ears to hear, let him hear what the Spirit says to His church” Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29, 3:6, 13, 22.
“Speak, LORD, Your servant is listening.” These words were spoken by Samuel the first time he heard Your voice. I am sure that he spoke them many times in his life. How can I be so sure? Because I speak them often, as well. May I never impose my will over Yours. Twice lately, I have misheard You and have been corrected and then mildly rebuked. No worries; I consider them as training. I now know better how to hear Your voice. I have learned that when there is a question, don’t go any further until I am sure of Your answer even if I miss an opportunity to do or say something. “When in doubt, don’t.” I’m learning, Lord. I’m only 60. When I’m 80, maybe You’ll call me like You did Moses. If You do, then I am sure You will equip me with everything I need to do Your will. In the meantime, keep training me, Lord. Amen.
*disparaging-tending to belittle or bring reproach upon.
**caustic-capable of burning, corroding, or destroying living tissue; severely critical or sarcastic.