The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is based on merely human rules they have been taught.
Growing up in black churches, I never understood why folks were shouting and running up and down the aisles on Sunday. Talking about how good God had been to them, then live like hellions, busy bodies and the biggest gossips Monday through Saturday. When I became an adult, I avoided church for two years because I was dog-tired of the dog and pony show people put on, all in the name of praising and worshiping God.
Truth be told, when I made a major detour and began attending non-denominational churches is when I began to see true worshipers ushering in the spirit of God every Sunday. A praise and worship team so focused on praise and worship that the Holy Spirit’s presence was hair raising and beyond noticeable. A worship experience so intense that tears often begin streaming down my face while losing myself in those moments.
God created us in His image to worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24) so we can have an uninhibited relationship with Him. The only way true worship happens is when the spirit of God resides in us and is cultivated daily by spending time studying the Bible and interacting with our Heavenly Father. Honoring Him with our heart, mind and spirit is what He desires because ultimately, we belong to Him. According to Isaiah 43:7, God created man for His glory with the expressed intent of man showing gratitude through true, unadulterated worship in its purest form.
means giving glory and honor to God as our creator, protector, provider and ruler of everything under the sun (Psalm 100:2-3).
do not put on airs because people are watching.
do not care about who is wearing what or what the person seated next to them is going to think if they begin to really praise God for His grace and mercy.
know to whom they belong and who has kept them through the storms and valleys of life.
are genuine because they exude the heart of their Father.
Ironically, as I researched worship, I stumbled upon the Apocrypha Bible. There are many chapters in the Apocrypha Bible that are not in the Bible versions we have come to know; however, two chapters in particular speak very highly of our duty to praise God for who He is and what He represents in believers’ lives. Tobit 12:6 states, “Then he took them both apart, and said unto them, Bless God, praise Him and magnify Him, and praise Him for the things which He hath done unto you in the sight of all that live. It is good to praise God, and exalt His name, and honourably to shew forth the works of God; therefore be not slack to praise Him.”
Praise goes hand in hand with worship because praising God wholly, “in spirit and in truth,” leads to a mind-blowing worship experience. The type of intimacy where the Holy Spirit pours into us and begins healing, ministering and cracking the shell, we opted to hide in, wide open. In these real encounters with God, He can breathe new life into a weary soul fully surrendered to Him through worship. Acknowledging God as that invisible force guiding our life path and providing our needs means operating in a level of humility which requires checking our pride and ego at the altar.
Yet another Apocrypha chapter, Judith 13:14, indicates, “then she said to them with a loud voice, Praise, praise God, praise God, I say, for He hath not taken away His mercy from the house of Israel, but hath destroyed our enemies by mine hands this night.”
The Bible is full of testimonies of how God delivered His people and honored their requests during and after praise and worship. Hannah wanted a child and worshiped God through prayer (1 Samuel 2:2). David worshiped God to show gratitude (2 Samuel 7:21-22, 1 Chronicles 16:31-34, Psalm 103). Nebuchadnezzar humbled himself to worship God for who He is (Daniel 4:37). God inhabits the praise of His people and when His Spirit is ushered into any space, occupied by two or more people, gathered in His name (Matthew 18:19), He moves because of the faith acted out during worship.
Worship is a very real thing in the spiritual realm and can change things in the physical realm when approached with an open and clean heart (Psalm 51:10; Ezekiel 36:26). Through worship, strong holds are broken, healing takes place, relationships renewed, etc. Worship can open doors we never knew were options, however, can also remain enigmas if we do not understand and respect to the One truly in charge.
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When we humble ourselves and worship God as though it is just Him and us, He can work things out on our behalf; I am a living example of this. The aforementioned group of church folks could have tainted my view on God and what church really stands for because of the rituals performed every Sunday. However, I am glad to have listened to my spirit and followed its prodding to a place where the worship experience breaks through invisible barriers. A place where the itinerary changes as the Holy Spirit nudges the pastors to spend more time in worship and prayer. I challenge you to spend more time in the secret place of God (Psalm 91).