Written by Rachel Denison

Richard Foster says in The Celebration of Discipline:

“Worship is our response to the overtures of love from the heart of the Father. Its central reality is found ‘in Spirit and in Truth.’ It is kindled within us only when then the Spirit of God touches our human Spirit. Forms and rituals do not produce worship, nor does the formal disuse of forms and rituals. We can use all the right techniques and methods, we can have the best possible liturgy but we have not worshiped the Lord until Spirit touches Spirit. Singing, praying, praising, all may lead to worship, but worship is more than any of them. Our Spirit must be ignited by divine fire.”

My entire life I’ve loved music as a form of expression. It’s always been an easy, natural way for me to express my heart. When I started following Jesus, I attended a church where “worship” was the first forty-five minutes before announcements and the sermon. We sang theologically sound songs and danced around. I went into college having this same mindset about “worship.” I was under the misunderstanding that worship was music. It was the songs we sang. Boy, was I mistaken.

Over the past “sixish” years God has gently been rearranging and redefining what I think of as “worship.” He was shown me through various pathways that music is simply a tool by which we express worship to God. Therefore, it is my heart that while leading worship I focus on the encounter between Christ Jesus and His Bride. It is easy to get wrapped up and consumed by the music entity of a service or meeting, but this is what so often can lead to a short-lived emotional high. I like to avoid these things. Craig and I want to get to the heart of worship each time we lead God’s people.

The quote above by Richard Foster from his book The Celebration of Discipline, changed my life! His definition encompasses fully what I feel God intends worship to be. Worship is intimacy. It is the encounter of love we experience with Jesus when we draw near to him, and it’s the response that so easily flows from our hearts. So worship is not the first 45 minutes of a service or a song. It is the intimacy of relationship we share with him. Just as we are so often intimate with the people in our lives through physical touch or trusting them with the secrets of our hearts, we have the PRIVILEGE to be intimate with God through our soul and heart. Worship is that experiential encounter. Simply telling God you love him expresses worship and devotion. Anyone can do it and be great at it!

God has shown me that during the music time of a worship service, it’s one of His greatest joys for me to give Him my heart over and over again. So that’s what I like to do. Constantly give him my heart, and by doing so, I’m crowning Him Lord, giving Him the glory He so deserves and exalting Him as King in my life. It’s funny how His favorite thing has become mine too.

So when we worship, it’s not only time to engage our mind, not only time to engage our hearts, not only a time to engage our spirits. Let’s engage all of ourselves in receiving the Father’s heart, stirring up devotion in our own, pouring out that response of love and receiving His love back again. And so the cycle of worship continues.