Hi, there, and welcome back! Grab your beverage du jour and a comfy spot! I’ve mentioned worship a lot in previous blogs, and I’m sure the topic will be mentioned a lot more. It’s one of my favorites. It always has been. He is so worthy of our worship, our adoration, our all. The question would only remain as to how best to express that devotion in our own lives.
Today, and in at least one future blog, I want to talk about how and why I worship the way I do; what helps me draw closer to the Lord.
In the ancient Jewish tradition, the entire being was a part of worship – body, mind and heart. If you’ve ever seen some of the Orthodox Jews praying, you will note that they may rock back and forth, or lift their hands, or bow their heads. They literally focus every part of their being on the Lord and His majesty and authority, His mercy and His worship. If you’ve attended a Catholic mass, especially here in the US, you know they seem to change posture frequently. If you’ve ever been to a Charismatic service, you’ve likely seen all sorts of physical postures and movement.
There are many passages in Sacred Scripture that deal with worship. The book of Psalms is full of them.
We are given examples and sometimes commands to adopt various postures: kneeling, lifting hands, bowing the head, bowing from the waist, lying prostrate on our face, standing, sitting, lying on our bed, or even dancing and clapping the hands. Standing or kneeling or bowing reflect reverence. Catholic genuflection just before entering the pew is basically a short kneel on one knee; it denotes reverence and respect for the Lord and an acknowledgement that we are in His house, in His presence. I have bad knees, and sometimes it’s difficult to genuflect. A deep bow shows the same reverence from my heart. Getting on our face before the Lord shows our complete helplessness and utter dependence on Him. Lifting the hands can express different things; it can express supplication requesting something, receiving something, or it can also indicate love and wanting to be near, like a small child reaches up for their parent. King David is my favorite model of worship. He also mentions sitting down, of meditating on the Lord while lying on his bed, and of course, dancing with joy before the Lord in abandoned worship. Interestingly enough, clapping the hands is both used of praise to the Lord, and also warfare against the devil and his demons.
The Scriptures also speak of various methods of vocal worship and prayer. Singing is mentioned lots of places and in lots of contexts. David sang lots of his prayers in the Psalms. You can see the headings on many of them that they are a Psalm of David when ____ happened to him. We also see places where we are encouraged to shout to the Lord in praise. I see this practiced most often is in the Charismatic or Pentecostal type churches. These folks aren’t afraid to lift their voices loudly in praise to the Lord for who He is, or what He’s done. In 1 Corinthians, we are given examples of praying in tongues. Some traditions believe this gift of the Holy Spirit fulfilled it’s purpose with the apostles and is no longer a viable gift. Other traditions believe it’s alive and well. I’m in the latter category for a variety of reasons. That may be another blog. But this is not a point of salvation doctrine for me, so I won’t belabor it. We also have examples of weeping and mourning before the Lord, either in sorrow for life’s circumstances or in grief over our sin or the sins of our nation. We can always lift up our voice to the Lord, no matter what is going on in our lives. He loves to hear from His kids!
Sometimes silence is the best way to worship Him, being awestruck in His presence, or simply listening as opposed to gushing out our list of requests. We are commanded to “Be still and know that I am God” in Ps 46. That would speak of simply being quiet and reverent in His presence, recognizing that He alone is God and we are not.
There is also the whole category of visual worship; that will be in the next blog, as I don’t have time to explore that here. I’ll talk about what inspires me in that one. In the meantime, in what ways do you express worship in your private devotions? What would you like to experiment with to express your heart more fully to Him? Try something new. It can’t hurt, and you may be surprised at the depth of worship you will discover.