One who apprehends worship as a spiritual discipline is going to stand forever separated from the mass of believers who treat worship as a singular event that occurs once per week. She is going to be intentional about the assimilation, preparation for, and spirit of worship. When worship is an event, minimal preparation is necessary; you need only appear at the appointed time and ‘worship’ when the music begins. It becomes a check list item.
For those who correctly see worship as contributing to their spiritual formation, there are number of exercises and attitudes that can be integrated into your practices in order to build up the strength necessary to properly worship the God of the universe. Is anything less rigorous true worship?
A disciplined worshipper will practice the presence of God as a regular part of their lives. Paul wrote of developing the proper spirit needed to worship: Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not put out the Spirit’s fire; (1 Thess 5:16-19) A mindset fixed in this way will heighten the expectancy of a meeting with God in worship, an encounter that change you.
A disciplined worshipper will seek out different worship experiences. She will worship alone and worship in community. He will find private moments to worship in solitude and will express the magnificence of God in public.
A disciplined worshipper will be intentional about preparing for the community worship experience. He will be physically prepared (rested, nourished, hydrated) and spiritually prepared (prayed through the services, confessed his sin privately).
A disciplined worshipper cultivates an attitude of Holy Dependency so that in the midst of the act of worship, she is completely dependent on God for anything at all. Any hint of manipulation is found to be abhorrent. So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only god, who makes things grow. (1 Cor 3:7)
A disciplined worshipper is not distracted by events around him. Instead, he allows God to speak to him through the crying baby, the stifling heat, or the dancer in the aisle. Bless them, pray for them, see if there is a message embedded in what has grabbed your attention. Be in community.
A disciplined worshippers offers sacrificial praise and devotion even when he doesn’t feel like it.
A disciplined worshipper recognizes that true worship ends in obedience. To stand before God is to change.
Grace and peace to you.
image by miki