Why We Worship
This paper is written to describe our experience of worshipping God. A definition of worship is given and a scriptural basis is set forth as a foundation. The reason behind our worship, our methodology, and the results of our worship are also discussed. Finally, some insights on how to enter into worship are given.
While worship is an everyday lifestyle of service to God as well as ministering to Him in song, the primary emphasis here is upon our gathering together as believers in a small or large group to worship through songs of praise and hear God speak to us and move among us in any way He desires. His promise to us is that when we gather together in His Name, He comes into our midst.
"For where two or three are gathered in My Name, I am there in the midst of them." (Mt. 18:20).
What Worship Is
Worship is the experience of lifting our voices toward God and drawing near to Him through songs of praise, adoration, and intimacy in order to touch Him and to be touched by Him. This is a very scriptural concept as set forth in the Psalms.
"Come let us sing for joy to the Lord. Let us shout aloud to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before His Presence with thanksgiving and extol Him with music and song. For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. In His hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to Him. The sea is His, for He made it, and His hands formed the dry land. Come let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker; for He is our God and we are the people of His pasture, the flock under His care." (Ps. 95:1-7).
This scripture shows that worship is more than a theology or a practice. It is an experience whereby we actually approach and enter into Gods Presence in a manifest way. The focus of worship is to touch Gods heart and to be in His Presence.
Why We Worship
Deep inside we desire and need to meet with God. We have a hunger for more of God and want to experience an intimate relationship of love with Him. We worship because it best brings about the fulfillment of these things. The most important thing to us is to know God through relationship. Worship is therefore our highest priority because it facilitates this.
There is no life for us in much of what traditional Christianity offers us. Apart form Gods Presence, the system and structure of the church including its Bible studies, singing, teaching, programs, and traditions of outward righteousness are only forms without Gods Presence and power. We need to turn from lifeless forms and begin to draw near to God and kiss His heart through the experience of worship. This will satisfy the deep need within us to bless our God and to experience His Presence. As a result, the Presence of God will cause all that we do in the Kingdom of God to be birthed forth with life and effectiveness.
How We Worship
We come together in one accord to, celebrate, praise, exalt, and adore our God with songs and instruments. We begin with celebration and flow from song to song toward intimacy of worship with our God. A worship leader uses appropriate instruments and songs to accomplish this and takes as much time as is needed to worship God.
Our present methodology is what best facilitates worship as far as we know at this time. As we draw close to God and grow in our relationship with Him, our understanding of worship will deepen and our methodology will progress. This will maintain freshness in our worship.
What Happens When We Worship
The primary emphasis of our worship is to magnify, bless, and lift up Jesus as an end in itself. But as a natural result of worship, God comes through the Presence of the Holy Spirit and ministers to us. As we worship, we come into the Presence of God. Through His Presence, we are touched by His compassion and love, we are cleansed through repentance of His blood, we are changed as He does a work of brokeness in us, we are blessed and empowered, we are released from bondage and pressures, we are made whole. Through the numinous of God, these supernatural things occur. As a result of His Presence, the Word of God may be internalized and effective ministry one to another may also occur. Worship is a real experience where we touch Him and are touched.
"To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God." William Temple
"When we kiss the heart of God in worship, we are healed, inspired, motivated, directed, and integrated into reality from Gods perspective."- Steve Robbins
How We Can Begin To Enter Into Worship
As we begin to approach God in a fresh way and enter into worship, there are some principles we can apply to facilitate a meaningful and whole-hearted experience. We must first be in a place where we are comfortable with the style of worship and can freely and openly participate. If worship is occurring and the Holy Spirit comes among the people then many will naturally be drawn into His Presence. If we come to our God recognizing our deep lack before Him and respond to Him with openness and a sincere desire for more of Him, then we especially place ourselves in a position to receive. To the degree that we will admit our own need for God and be vulnerable before Him, we open ourselves to His supernatural ministry.
"O God, You are my God; early will I seek You; my soul thirsts for You; my flesh longs for You in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water. So I have looked for You in the sanctuary, to see Your power and Your glory. Because Your loving kindness is better than life; my lips shall praise You. Thus I will bless You while I live; I will lift up my hands in Your Name. My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips. When I remember You on my bed, I meditate on You in the night watches. Because You have been my help, therefore in the shadow of Your wings I ill rejoice. My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me." - Psalm 63:1-8
As we come together and actually begin to worship, an important principle is that of receptivity. Steve Robbins says to "first, dial down and open yourself up to the ministry of the Holy Spirit as you focus on Jesus Christ. This will make you receptive." As our desire to bless and experience God is communicated to Him through worship, the Holy Spirit comes to us. We need not be afraid to open up without reservation to God in this way for He promises to give us what is good. If we ask for the Presence of the Holy Spirit then He will come and touch us.
"So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. Which of your fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!"- Luke. 1:9-13
It is also important for us to be genuine as we worship. It is unfruitful to manufacture or work up something. Our sincerity and honesty before God and others will keep us properly focused as we worship. Steve Robbins identifies this as the principle of reality. "Be genuine. Humble your heart before God, forsake anything hardening your heart to the ministry of Gods Spirit, and lovingly respond to God in a way that reflects honesty and harmony in the inner and outer man. Reality honors the balance of not being distracted by others in your responsiveness to God, and not being distracted by others in your expressiveness towards God. Your discernment on how to negotiate this balance will develop as healing takes place in your heart. Remember, though, God-consciousness should be a priority over self-consciousness."
Another principle is that of release. We need to let the outer man reflect genuine responsiveness of the inner man. This will increase our interaction with the Presence of God and will bring wholeness to the total person. Just as suppressed emotions degenerate the personality, so spiritual suppression deflates the spirit. Worship and praise is a glorious release of the inner being.
Copyright ©1995 Vineyard Music Group All Rights Reserved.
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