The Heart of Worship

Written by Tammy Walls

How many times have you joined in with your praise and worship team, singing these words? “I’m coming back to the heart of worship, and it’s all about You; it’s all about You, Jesus…”  Recently, I dissected those lyrics, examining the truth they held. More accurately, the truth they lacked.

Was I lifting empty words to my Savior? Was it really all about Him? At that very moment? Or, were they mindlessly pouring from my lips, while other things were swirling through my head. Important things, like… “How on earth am I going to have everything ready when my family gathers around my Sunday dinner table?” “Did I clean the bathroom, or is that another last-minute detail I’ll need to address as soon as I get in the door?”

Worse yet, was I lifting those words, supposedly to the very One who suffered humiliation and anguish on my behalf, while being a little too conscious of whether or not I was staying on key? Because, after all, my perfect harmony enhances the worship experience of those around me, right? Oh mercy…. “You search much deeper within, through the way things appear; you’re looking into my heart…”  Uh-oh. Don’t look there, Jesus! I don’t want You to see that mess….

As we approach Thanksgiving, let’s make an intentional effort of offering true worship to our Heavenly Father. If you research the word “worship”, you’ll find synonyms such as “adore”, “honor”, and “homage”. Now, think of the people in your life who receive the most adoration and honor. Is it your children? Grandchildren? Spouse? How does God rank? Trust me; I’m stepping on my own toes here, too…

When I intentionally stop everything, and fully focus on Christ, my heart is filled with love, gratefulness, and awe. The only thing is…. I don’t do well with the intentionally stopping part. I’m a multi-tasker. Perpetually juggling 4 or 5 things at once. And I like it that way. Yet, it’s that very busy-ness that keeps me from an intimate connection with my Father.

Something about complete intimacy makes me (along with most of those reading this) uncomfortable. We feel vulnerable. Exposed. But, isn’t that exactly where God wants us? Stripped of the appearance-conscious, behavior-controlled, what-does-everyone-else-think-of-me mindset. Just God and me. That’s when authentic worship can begin.

“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving, and into His courts with praise: be thankful unto Him, and bless His name.”  His gates extend well beyond the church doors. And His courts aren’t confined to a sanctuary. They’re in your workplace. The supermarket. On I-40, during your morning commute. And, in the privacy of your own home. They’re also at the doctor’s office and inside hospital rooms.

Ironically (or maybe not…), as I compose this blog (with a theme I selected weeks ago), my daughter is fighting another battle in the war called Autoimmune Disease. I’ve stormed His gates and fallen face-to-the-ground in His courts. Pleading for this endless disease to be removed from her body and placed inside mine, instead. But, have I worshiped Him for the past 2 weeks? Pleading prayers and true worship are horses of different colors.

When I first came to that realization, I tried to push myself to the “praise” and “thankful” levels. But, the words wouldn’t form. Not even inside my head. After a while, I managed to say, “I want You to receive glory in this. Please let that glory come from her healing. But, I know she wants to point others to You. So, regardless of the outcome, let others see You in her sweet spirit.”

As soon as I breathed those words, God’s peace began seeping through my sense of panic. He showed me, again, how His child suffered. And I was thankful. He reminded me that He has brought my Mandi through each battle for the past 13 years. And, I was thankful. Two huge reminders of why I should offer up praise, even in the dark times. More so in those dark times. Whether we realize it or not, sometimes that’s where His presence is most evident.

“For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.”

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