Monday, January 23, 2023

Three Steps to Enter Worship

VIDEO: Three Steps to Enter Worship

“But a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father is seeking such as these to worship Him. God is Spirit, and His worshipers must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23-24 AKJV)

Jesus told a Samaritan woman that we must worship God in spirit and in truth. As simple as this may sound, many Christians struggle to feel connected to God, even during worship. We should not expect to have the connection confirmed by:

  1. seeing a vision
  2. feeling a sensation
  3. hearing a voice

Worshiping God should not be about what we receive, otherwise, it isn’t true worship. We would be performing a service to obtain an outcome. When we worship God, our focus should be on Him: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. If He chooses to manifest Himself in a particular way, then we receive that with joy, however, we worship regardless of any manifestation.

Worship can be done internally or by speaking out loud. As long as the focus is on God, Jesus, and/or the Holy Spirit, it is worship. It must come from the heart; we must mean what we are saying or thinking. God will see what is going on inside!

Preparing for Worship

There is no set of procedures we must do before we worship God. Worship is not determined by preparation, but preparation can make it easier to worship. Since worship takes place internally, preparation is a matter of the heart. Simply ask the Lord: 

  1. Is there any way you have offended God?
  2. Is there a person I have not forgiven?

Often this preparation is part of our daily prayers. When we set out for our day, we should pray as Jesus taught His disciples in the “Our Father” prayer. 

That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world. (1 Corinthians 11:30-32 ESV)

So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. (Matthew 5:23-24 ESV)

The key is to listen to the Holy Spirit. If He brings someone or a particular situation to your memory, make sure you have forgiven those involved. If it is a sin, take time to confess, repent, and plead the blood. This is the basic preparation for entering into God’s presence through worship.

Step 1 - Thanksgiving

Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise! (Psalms 100:4 ESV)

To enter into worship we must begin by declaring our thankfulness. It opens the gates to God’s presence. When we give thanks, we speak it aloud or direct our thoughts toward God. For some of us, this is a natural part of our existence: every day we look at the world around us and thank God as we walk with Him. However, most people have times when life gets busy and a day, a week, or years pass without us pausing to thank God for anything. A couple of factors determine how long you spend on this first step: 

  1. How often do you take time to thank God throughout each day? 
  2. How many difficulties have you experienced since the last time you thanked God?

When life is difficult, it is human nature to focus on the challenges facing us instead of on God. If we are not in a habit of walking with God each day and thanking Him for the big and little things, then when life gets hard it is even harder to focus on God. 

Years ago I decided to devote regular time to worship, the only time consistently available was as I crawled into bed each night. At first, I had to devote twenty minutes or more to thank God before I could get to the next step. Depending on the challenges of the day, I would start at different points in my life. I thank you, God:

  • For designing me to be born as I am with a sound mind
  • For my parents who provided food and shelter for me
  • For my husband 
    • name positive attributes
  • For the children you gave me 
    • remember the good times with them
  • For my health 
    • I can breathe, walk, run
  • A home that is safe and warm
  • That I am born into a time with hot water for showers
  • Good food to eat
  • Plants, Pets, etc

You must consider each item and be truly thankful in your heart for them. This is just a suggestion of where to begin. Each person can create a detailed list of what they are thankful for. If you have trouble coming up with items for your list, begin jotting them down throughout the day. You should end your thankfulness time by focusing on God, what has He done for you?

  • God created a beautiful world for me to live in 
    • name your favorite things
  • Jesus created the world but then gave up that immense power to become a man. 
    • He had to be born a baby, dependent on a mom to change His diapers. 
    • He had to learn about God and who He was.
  • God’s Spirit, the Spirit of the Lord, the Holy Spirit is given to us because of Jesus. 
    • He is my very best Friend and my constant Companion

As you focus on God as being the true source of all good things in your life, thanksgiving will become easy. When you express thankfulness to God, it will sink into your heart, and soon praise will come forth naturally. At first, it may take more time to focus on the good things for them to sink into your heart, but that time will become shorter and shorter the more you do it. I believe those gifted to lead worship remain in a more thankful position as they walk through life so that they easily enter into praise. Even if you aren’t meant to lead worship, you can develop and walk in an attitude of gratitude. It will connect you more closely to the Lord!  

Step 2 - Praise

I will praise You, O LORD, with my whole heart; I will show forth all Your marvelous works. I will be glad and rejoice in You: I will sing praise to Your name, O You most High. (Psalms 9:1-2 AKJV)

Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable. One generation shall praise Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts. I will speak of the glorious honor of Your majesty, and of Your wondrous works. (Psalms 145:3-5 AKJV)

Praise, like thanksgiving, originates in the heart. Thanksgiving is all about how God impacts our lives. Praise is stating how great God is and who He is. 

When we look at the world around us and see how each item works together in the world, we get an idea of how immense God is to have created it. Man cannot even duplicate the creation of one single flower, yet God made a tremendous variety. But the true greatness of God is not in the fact that He is the author, designer, and creator of all that we know, it is the fact that He still cares for each and every one of us.

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows. (Luke 12:6-7 AKJV)

As big as the world is, as many people as it holds, God sees and cares for you and me. That is what I feel is the most impressive aspect of our Heavenly Father. When you focus on thanking God for what surrounds you, it will naturally lead you into praise! It is praise that brings us into the presence of God.

Step 3 - Worship

You can give someone praise without worshiping them: I praise my kids and my husband. Worship is a step beyond praise. It is more than singing a song to God: many men have sung songs to win a pretty girl. There are so many ways we can worship God; with our heart and mind, with a song, with sacrifices, with offerings, or with our tithes. When we worship:

  • We marvel at the awesomeness of God.
  • We surrender all that we are to Him; our will to His will.

When you let go of all that you want, all that you need, and focus on how amazing God is, that is worship. Worship can be: 

  • with joy, bringing dancing
  • heart-moving as tears come unbidden
  • peaceful, bringing comfort

We must not limit God. He may choose to respond to our worship in any way He wishes. It is often through worship that God moves, yet we should not worship God so that we can see, hear, or feel Him move. We must worship God in spirit and in truth!

When you are in the mindset of worship, do not be surprised if the Holy Spirit reveals a song to you. It can be a very simple song. You may sing it in your mind or out loud. However you praise and worship God, may it be a beautiful sound in His ears!

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