When Worship is...those upbeat songs
This is part 2 of a 6 part series reflecting on worship. Each blogpost stands on its own, but you may want to read part 1 here.
...those upbeat songs
I have a confession to make. Up until recently, I never really understood ‘praise’ songs. You know the ones I mean - the lively, get-everyone-clapping songs. The loud, 'belt-it-all-out' ones at the beginning. I never saw them as anything more than an unnecessary warm-up to the real thing - the more intimate, slower songs.
Now some of that is my personality - being an introvert, corporate worship is not something that comes naturally. Or rather, I find it much more difficult to engage with God in those settings - it is much easier for me to pray, to hear from Him and meditate on His word and reflect on it on my own behind closed doors (ask my husband, Mark - I can’t concentrate even if I have someone else breathing in the room!) So fast-moving songs always felt like my mind could not keep up.
But my understanding began to change after talking to my sister, Chloe, about the point of those more upbeat songs. Chloe has lots of experience with worship leading and she explained it clearly to me:
She mentioned the importance of beginning a time of worship with songs that focus entirely on God and who He is. No ‘I need you...’ songs, no ‘I love you songs’ even. Nothing but Him. She said that that was important for a few reasons:
- It means getting past yourself and looking beyond. It means declaring what is true rather than what we feel. Which is especially important for the majority of us who turn up to worship God with some sort of baggage, whether that be sickness, fear, unfulfilled desire, last minute Sunday-am arguments with your spouse, kids playing up, frustrations etc still whirling around our head.
- It forces us to focus on Who He Is before we come to our response.
- If you skip straight to intimate ‘I need you, I love you worship’ - it can become shallow and not as deep, because if we don’t have how BIG God is in perspective, then we won’t have the same level of faith to respond.
So since then I have begun to lead worship, and taken my sister’s advice and not only that, now I understand further how important it is that we do focus on Him. I know that is obvious in one sense, but how often do we judge the worth of a good worship time on what we get out of it, rather then realising it is all about Him?! How often are we tempted to create a worship session where we feel good and it meets our needs and preferences rather than focusing on Him?
I have begun to realise the power in corporately declaring what we know (but so quickly forget) to be true of God. To be corporately reminded of His faithfulness in it all and His ability to deal with all the situations we are currently facing.
And then when we do move into that more intimate, slower time of worship, hopefully our hearts are ready to respond. Not because we can do it, but because we can’t but He can. We recognise that we are totally useless at facing our situations without a big mess and we need Him, we need His Spirit and we need His closeness, His help.
And we are empowered because we have met with the Almighty and we are humbled because we now know that He, amazingly, wants to dwell with us, help us and fight for us.
What situations are you facing today? Why don’t you take a moment to declare who God is. Perhaps put on a worship song, or write something down or declare it out loud. Take a moment to focus on who He is. How awesome He is.
Then offer your situations to Him and allow Him to speak into them today.
Let them praise the name of the Lord,
For His name alone is exalted;
His splendour is above the earth and the heavens
This is part 2 of a 6 part series of reflections of worship.
Click here to read:
- Part 1: When Worship is…like changing dirty nappies.
- Part 2: When worship is…those upbeat songs
- Part 3: When worship is…uncomfortable
- Part 4: When worship is…death to me
- Part 5: When worship is…breakthrough
- Part 6: When worship is...awe-inspiring
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