I have just been learning within the past five years what it means to worship God through song. How as believers should we in particular approach congregational worship? A worship pastor once told me that worship is a dialogue between a forgiven people and a holy God. Therefore in light of who we are dialoging with in this context it should drive a proper response of the heart. That is a fitting state of the heart whereby godly affections are evoked. The reason this is so important is because congregational worship is and should be a prep for the primacy of the Word. In other words worship primes the heart to hear the words of God spoken through scripture.
Below are some helpful way that I have found beneficial in my approach to worship:
- Exam your heart to find what struggles you wish to overcome and bring them before the Lord.
- Focus on the attributes and characteristics of God: holy, forgiving, kind, merciful, patient, gracious, slow to anger, his severity, etc.
- Know that God’s promises are still true regardless of how you feel that day.
- Focus on the changelessness of God. Realize that our faith is not in proportion to His.
- Discern the difference between thanksgiving and praise. We are naturally better at giving thanks than at giving praise. Praise is one of the foundations of worship as seen throughout the Psalms.
- Realize that our ultimate problem has been resolved, namely we are no longer enemies of God. Bask in the kindness and grace of our Lord.
- Realize that Jesus is now for you.
Adrian Warnock recently interviewed worship lead and song writer Stuart Townend. Townend gives some insightful thoughts on “what makes a worship song good.” I have posted a portion of the interview below. Click here for the whole thing.
What makes a worship song good?
Having focused on the cross of Christ, it’s important to ask, “What does that mean for me? What’s the foundation of life?” It’s not just, “How does it make me feel?” Rather, it should be—“What is the unchanging truth about my life based on the unchanging truth about God and what he has done? What has God said about me or us or the Church?” Those things are unchanging truths that don’t depend on whether I am having a good time or a bad time. They are about me, but they are really about God and what God has done in me. Worship is not just about singing songs that make me feel better. In the middle of whatever I am facing, God is with me. Worship should be exciting, but founded on the truth of the gospel. Our feelings are a by-product of the glorious truth we are celebrating.