So earlier on the beginning of the year, one prayer request I had was to be a worshiper, to be able to praise and worship God in Spirit and in truth. When I had this prayer, I was thinking about actual praise and worship that includes songs, whether in church or at home. This is something I had been struggling with for a while where I just could never concentrate. At home, I could just never seem to make the time for it, though I had lots of time to stare into the air and daydream or spend time worrying and stressing about something or the other. Sure I had moments where a particular song could get me worshiping or singing praises to God, but there were more moments where I did not worship than where I did.
In church, I also struggled because I could never seem to connect with God or know how to talk to be Him when singing. It always just seemed so fake and pointless, or I was distracted by thoughts of what I needed to do, or what I hadn’t done, or maybe what I had done that I shouldn’t have done. So I wanted God to work in me the willingness and ability to worship, I didn’t need to be up in the choir to do it, I just wanted to be able to focus on the Lord Jesus Christ. So I asked God and I have prayed for this throughout most of the year, and I have to say, personal time of worship has improved, I do spend more and more time listening to worship music and singing along to God. I have also gotten to the place where it’s not pointless and I don’t expect to feel some special thing in worship but I simply talk to God in song and not worry about it feeling fake. Even in church, I have gotten to the place where I can just talk to him and lift up my hands knowing I am singing to Him and Him alone.
I still struggle with the focus though when I am in church, one moment I am talking to God and the next moment I am thinking about something else and my lips are moving but I am not focused on Christ. It is, however, happening less and less and I have realized that raising my hands sometimes gets me back on track and I am believing that He who began a good work in me will complete it. The only major distraction I have now is hating the sound of my own voice and not knowing how to control my voice or which part I should sing. I don’t sing like I used to before and I don’t know what to about it and spend more time than I would like to admit trying to match the key of the song and constantly failing to keep in tune. I know and believe we don’t have to have perfect voices to worship God but I have discovered it is something that I am struggling with.
I have been recently challenged though by Pastor Michael Todd’s new sermon series on worship. I have known that worship involves more than music but that our very lives themselves should be lived in worship to God. Well, my life has been a bit of a mess for a while and I am not living my life in a way that is blameless in the physical so I concluded long ago that I would have to maximize on other forms of worship, specifically with music and my words. I did recently feel lead to worshiping God with the Psalms, something I had learned about in a sermon Pastor Prince preached years back and I started doing in the mornings. As if to confirm that this something I should be doing, Pastor Prince recently led a service where he and his church were worshiping God and singing the Psalms of David. Sure I probably still have a lot to learn about it but its something I know I am going to keep doing whenever I have the opportunity.
When it comes to worship with our tithe and offering, this is something I have been working on for the almost 2 years now so we are on track in learning that. Where I have a problem though is with how I live my life, there is progress in all the other areas but that is one area that needs a lot of work. Pastor Todd defined worship as our love expressed to God as a response to His grace towards us, and it starts with His love for us. I want to do that, I yearn to do that but maybe I have put more emphasis on doing it through music that in any other way? Pastor Mike said worship can be expressed through word, gesture, and conduct. I have been growing a lot in worshiping with words, but I know my gestures still need a lot of work. I lift my hands a lot but I need to work on kneeling and any other things that the Spirit may lead me to do.
Conduct on the other hand is a whole other issue.
Lord help me, I cannot, only You can.
I do look forward to hearing what other insights Pastor Mike has even as we come close to the end the of year. I definitely get to say that this is one prayer request where God has granted me my request. I am not at the place I want to be yet, but my 100 fold is coming.
Does anyone else struggle with praise and worship like I do? Or with worship it self as a whole? I would be interested in knowing and learning what other people have done to improve their worship life.