Meaningful Personal Worship – Part 2
In part 1 of Meaningful Personal Worship we took some time to set the foundation for the importance of having a personal worship time. Before we can talk practical aspects of having a personal worship time, we need to know how vital it is to our journey with God. You can read the whole article here, but as a reminder I gave 5 reasons why we should have personal worship times.
- Worship is the pathway to freedom
- Worship is the pathway for the Holy Spirit into our lives
- Worship crowds out doubt and releases vital faith
- There is power when we sing
- Our personal worship time will affect our corporate worship time
WHAT DOES A PERSONAL WORSHIP TIME LOOK LIKE?
I think our personal worship times will look differently for each of us depending on our personality types. Here are a few practical examples of what worship has looked like for me over the years:
Take a walk on a trail or at the beach
Sit at the beach or by some scenery that helps you connect with God. When I lived in San Diego I used to love to go to La Jolla Cove early in the morning or late at night. Outside of the church I work at now is a great trail where I have taken many walks on as I tried to connect with God. My friend Mike Foell takes walks around the block to clear his head so he can give his best to those he is counseling. Find that special place for you.
My Living Room
This is a very practical place. It’s not the most inspirational, it’s just usually available (after my kids’ bedtimes). It’s a great place to humble myself before God and maybe even get on my knees and cry out. We all need these kinds of places that are easily accessible, even if they’re not the most awe-inspiring of locations. Where’s yours?
I have access to our church sanctuary. I love praying and worshiping in there. For starters, there’s a great piano. However, I also love to symbolically pray over my worship team by standing in their position or lay hands on the pews and pray for my church family.
You may not have access to your church sanctuary. That’s not the point of this list. Try to find places you connect with God that are right for you. Maybe your church has a prayer room. Take advantage of these kinds of spaces.
In The Word
I try to not separate out worship and the Word. I try to see them as one thing. One way I’ve been able to do this is by responding in the moment to something I read in the Word (i.e., thankfulness, repentance, praise, prayer). By doing this, you’re not compartmentalizing the practices of your faith.
Some of us have a commute to work, school or other places. Be intentional about your time. Worship and pray in the car. Put on some music that inspires worship for you. Don’t be concerned with the person looking at you in the car next to you — worship your heart out anyway!
Use An Instrument
Since this is my list, I had to include using an instrument because it is a huge part of the way I worship. You may not play an instrument so this might not be for you. However, if you do play I encourage you to use your instrument as a way of worshiping God.
There’s an interesting passage of scripture in 1 Samuel 16:14-23. The Bible tells us that Saul had a tormenting spirit that filled him with depression and fear. Whenever the tormenting spirit troubled Saul, David would play his harp and and the tormenting spirit would go away. There is something about music that God uses to lift our spirits.
Using An iPod/CD
I’ve lead worship for years. In that time you always get people who want to request songs. The great thing about personal worship is you can sing any song you want to, in any style you can find. Load up a playlist of all the songs that move your heart in worship.
I can remember some amazing times of worship as a teenager with my favorite worship tape (yes, a tape!) in my bedroom with the lights dimmed. That’s what spoke to my heart, so that’s the way I did it. Maybe for you it’s different. I encourage you to figure it out and do it.
Singing In The Spirit
I know this one is controversial, but again this is my list. I have to say, though, that singing in the spirit and singing a new song have been very valuable aspects of my personal worship. I wrote another blog on using your own words, you can read it here, so I won’t get into it too much. I will just say I find singing in the spirit liberating. Over the years I have had my share of dark nights of the soul. Sometimes I have no more words to say in prayer, but my spirit can continue to pray and praise God. 1 Corinthians 14:15-16
Let me say one more thing about all our acts of worship, in general, through a quick reminder of a story from 2 Samuel 6. David is bringing the ark back to Jerusalem. He is dancing before the Lord in his undergarments. All of Israel is overjoyed that the ark is making its way to Jerusalem. When he arrives at the city his wife Michal, the daughter of Saul, chastised him saying, “How distinguished the king of Israel looked today, shamelessly exposing himself to the servant girls like any vulgar person might do!”
Listen to the way David, a man after God’s own heart, responded to her, “I was dancing before the Lord…and I am willing to look even more foolish than this, even to be humiliated in my own eyes.”
The Bible makes a point to say that Michal remained barren for the rest of her life.
Friends, let me be clear that I’m not asking you to do anything the Holy Spirit isn’t leading you to do. I am, though, hoping to challenge us to be worshipers that let the overflow of our hearts spill out without fear of looking foolish or undignified.
There are two ideas I want to leave you with:
- Don’t be afraid to mix things up. Don’t get stuck in any one way of worshiping God. And don’t be afraid to try other (or new) things. I have friends, who are more contemplative in their nature, who have introduced me to writings, prayers and liturgy from centuries ago (i.e. A Guide to Prayer by R. P. Job & N. Shawchuck). Don’t be afraid of trying something new — you never know what God may use to speak to you.
- Create space for solitude/quiet. On your commute turn off the radio. Turn off the TV at home. Create space to let your heart hear from God. This is probably one of the hardest things for most of us to do, but our lives are so cluttered and fast paced that if we aren’t intentional about creating space for Him, it will not happen.
I hope this is helpful! I know my list is not exhaustive so please add to the list of ideas for personal worship in the comments below.
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