Last week, God closed the door on a prayer request my family had been praying toward for several months. We were extremely disappointed even as we fell back on our faith that God always knows what He is doing. We got our answer Friday evening and one of the many thoughts that ran through my mind was that it might be difficult to lead worship on Sunday singing an uptempo song about the great things that God has done. I certainly didn’t feel like it in that moment.
I shared that with the congregation as I started our worship time and told them that God had worked in my heart between Friday evening and Sunday morning to change my perspective. The most important thing he had reminded me of was how important our corporate time of worship as a church really is. It saddens me to see so many people in church who do not participate in singing and worshiping but instead seem to be just waiting for it to be over so we can get to the sermon. (In truth, many of these same people are soon impatiently waiting for the sermon to be over so they can get on with the rest of their day!)
I think a great deal of this disconnect during the worship songs (whether they are hymns or very contemporary songs) is due to a basic misunderstanding of the point of singing to God in the first place. Because of that, I wanted to share three quick things that God reminded me of this past weekend as I struggled with disappointment.
Singing in worship benefits us even when we don’t feel like it.
God’s Word commands us over and over to sing praises to him. Does God command us to worship him for his own benefit? No – God has angels that do that 24/7 in heaven, singing non-stop “Holy, Holy, Holy.” This command is for our benefit, not his. When we sing to God, we are reminded of how great he is and how small we are. We remember how faithful he is. We get the proper perspective on our problems and the difficulties of life. So, “sing praises to the LORD, O you his saints! Give thanks to his holy name!” (Psalm 30:4)
Our individual worship is supercharged in a corporate setting.
It’s one thing for me to sing to the Lord on my own. But when I am surrounded by other Christians who are also worshiping him, the encouragement of others agreeing with me in that moment boosts the power of worship to another level! As we praise together, I remember that I am not alone in my indebtedness to and gratitude towards God. We encourage one another with “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.” (Ephesians 5:19) I am unified with my brothers and sisters in focusing on the most important thing in all existence. I am anticipating the day when we will all sing around the actual throne of God in heaven. That’s why Sunday morning singing pumps me up so much!
This is why participation in worship is so important.
I can be in the congregation of God among His saints and miss out on this entirely. If I don’t participate in the singing, it will not have the same impact on my life no matter how much I watch and listen. I should strive to worship with my whole heart, soul, mind and strength. (Luke 10:27) Why worry about whether you can sing well or not? God gave you the voice that you have! Even if you have no voice at all, there are ways to physically engage in worshiping God apart from singing. Worship is a choice. Don’t miss out on the power of worship – next Sunday, I challenge you to engage in singing along (even softly) and see if it doesn’t impact your spirit.
“Oh magnify the Lord with me! Let us exalt His name together!” (Psalm 34:3)
[One added note: God has already graciously showed my family some benefits of his answer to our prayer and why it was the best answer for us. He is good!]