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A Childlike Heart in Worship

Are you willing to break your Sunday morning traditions and acquire the spontaneity of a child? 

By: Darrell Evans

The Lord has been doing a wonderful thing in my life and in the lives of the congregation where I lead worship. He is restoring childlike hearts within us.

The result for many of us has been a freedom in the way we express ourselves in worship and in our relationships with the Father. At the same time, others have been so offended by this freedom that they are running out the back door! It has been exciting, though, to see a rise in our passion for Jesus and our compassion for the lost.

It really isn't surprising that the Lord is doing this work among us when you consider that Jesus Himself admonished us to welcome children and be like them. "Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven," Jesus said (Matt. 18:3, NKJV). "Whoever receives one of these little children in My name receives Me" (Mark 9:37).

Wow! We can't even experience the rule and reign of God in our lives unless we determine to change and become like small children again!

However, there are differences between childlikeness and childishness. Let's take a look at a few ways that being like a small child translates into a worship lifestyle for us.

1. Children recognize that a loving father is approachable. A childlike heart enjoys times alone with a father, giving full attention and receiving full attention. Jesus constantly was getting away to be alone with the Father--even while the masses were trying to get to Him.

2. Children recognize they are needy. I think sometimes it is easier for most of us to say "I love you" than "I need you." To admit need to the Lord is an act of humility and worship. Why?

Because the needy heart is really saying: "Lord, You are my only source; I believe You are 'I AM'--my all in all. No one can satisfy the longings of my heart like You can. I could never live without You."

3. Children are spontaneous, trusting and creative. Jesus had a spontaneous approach to His life and ministry that was based on the trust He had for His father. In the context of worship, spontaneity can come through a song sung by the Lord over His people (see Zeph. 3:17); through our expressing a new song to the Lord (see Ps. 40:3); as words or songs of prophetic encouragement to one another (see Col. 3:16, Eph. 5:19); and in other forms, such as prophetic dance.

The songs we know and use during our regular times of worship can and should be a springboard into spontaneous words of worship and songs for the moment--whether expressed between one person and the Lord or expressed to the congregation. Trust like this takes some practice and a willingness to step out, but a child often takes risks.

4. Children are wide-eyed with wonder, yet they know they see only in part. Times of passionate worship can help open our eyes not only to the character of the Father but also to a willingness to accept truths about Him that we had not known before. Some of us stop short of expressing ourselves to God in "untraditional" ways because we believe our own personalities are not designed to be expressive or passionate in worship. But we should not try to make deals with God to be less obedient or less sacrificial in our worship and praise than His Word calls for us to be.

Instead, let's make it our response to find an expression that we deem to be too extravagant--and then do it! Then we can help others become free in their worship. If we worship only in ways that we are comfortable with, are we really worshiping at all?

If you need a childlike heart in worship, then remember, Jesus welcomed the children and commanded us to be like them. Why not admit your need to Him? He'll restore a childlike heart in you.*

About the Author: Darrell Evans directs River Flow Ministries in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He is a new songwriter and worship musician for Integrity's Hosanna! Music.

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