I realize that “obediences” is not a word because my spell check won’t let me forget it. But its the best word to describe what I want to say about worshiping God when we least feel like doing so. I believe it takes obedience to worship God sometimes. Sometimes it is easy, like when things are going great. Its when things aren’t going so great that we forget that we are told numerous times in scripture to live with thankfulness towards God, no matter our situation. (Eph 5:4, Col 2:7, Col 3:15-16, Col 4:2, 1Thes 5:18, Heb 12:28)
If we can learn to worship God in the difficult times when we don’t feel like it, we will be given a greater gift of faith to make it through those tough times. Our fear is turned into trust, our doubt into faith, our sorrow into joy that can only come from the Lord. But maybe you’re wondering what it looks like to cultivate a heart of worship. I have a few thoughts on that I would like to share.
First, worship is so much more than singing songs in church on Sunday. Worship is also an attitude. I have heard it called, “An attitude of gratitude.” As I said before, even if it doesn’t seem like we have anything to be thankful for (and I’m sure that is not the case for the majority of us) we can still be thankful for who God is. We can praise him with our mouth, singing songs or praying prayers of thanksgiving throughout the day. And let me tell you, the best times to do that are when its the hardest. Trust me in this! Did you just lose your job? Praise God for his faithfulness and provision. Did you just find out you have an illness? Praise God for his peace that passes all understanding. Having trouble paying bills this month? Praise God for all that you have and he has given you thus far. Carrying anger and bitterness towards someone? Praise God for his unconditional love and forgiveness and (dare I say it) pray a blessing over that person. It is when we act in the opposite spirit that the enemy loses his grip on us. If we refuse to praise God in difficult times and instead choose to blame him, we are joining with the enemy on the wrong side of the war.
There are many other things that we can do that you might be surprised to realize are worship to God. Even our suffering can be a sacrifice of praise to God. Are you lamenting like we see in the Psalms? Cry out to God. Confess your doubt and even your anger towards him. He can handle it. It is worship to him. As Amy Grant says in her recent song “Better Than A Hallelujah”:
“We pour out our miseries,
God just hears a melody
Beautiful the mess we are
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah
I have found this to be true. I have also found that in my times of utter brokenness or even deepest doubt, a cry to God ushers in his peace like roaring waves on the sea.
Something else we can do is serve others. Do you find yourself in a desperate situation that seems hopeless? Is it consuming your thoughts and your life? Why not focus on someone else’s pain for a while? Pray for someone else who is going through a difficult time. You will be amazed at how God changes your perspective on your own situation. Serve someone else. Take a meal to a sick friend, visit a prisoner, read a book to a lonely elderly person in a nursing home, mow your neighbors lawn, pay for the food of the guy behind you in the drive thru. Do something for someone else to show God you can be faithful in hard times. It gives substance to the term, “sacrifice of praise” when we choose to forget about ourselves and focus on someone else.
You see, it is in these little “obediences” that we are changed. It is through these little ways of worship and focusing on God that a heart of worship is cultivated. And these “little” things are not so little in the grand scheme of things because these little things are what give you roots of deep faith in Christ. You will find that the next time you go through a valley, praise and worship will be your natural response. That is cultivating a life of worship. The added bonus? You will also find greater joy in your corporate times of worship on Sunday mornings. It will be so much easier for you to enter the Throne Room because your heart will already be there. You will sense the Holy Spirit so much easier and quicker because He is always there, moving and breathing on us, ready to touch our hearts and connect us to the Father. This will also prove to enrich your body life. Your corporate times of worship will be sweeter, deeper, more intimate and they will bring you closer to your brothers and sisters in Christ who are worshiping alongside you.
I know that worshiping God when you don’t feel like it is hard. Let me say it again, I know. But trust me on this. I’m speaking from experience. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain if you give it a try. I would love to hear stories of how this became truth to you!
I will end with these powerful scriptures from the New Living Translation:
“And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grow down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” Colossians 2:6-7
“Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshiping him with holy fear and awe.” Hebrews 12:28
I SAY YES AND AMEN!!!!