I Prayed have prayed
Lord, we repent for having made worship about all sorts of other things, when it's really about You. Help us return to a heart of worship.

The following is an excerpt from our daily devotional series “Back to the Basics,” written by IFA contributing writer Gloria Robles.

“Our fathers worshiped on this mountain, but you say that in Jerusalem is the place where people ought to worship.” Jesus said to her, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father. You worship what you do not know; we worship what we know, for salvation is from the Jews. But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him” (John 4:20–23).

If there is anything the Church must return to, that would be worship. Sadly, worship has been reduced to just music that evokes an emotional response. But it’s really so much more. Don’t get me wrong here, I am not against music in church. The Lord is the one who gifts men and women for leading in worship songs. However, something has changed over the years. True worship as the Lord intended has been reduced. Whether prophetic words, or preaching, or music, worship styles may differ, but the one thing that should never change is the message. The heart of all those things should be centered on the Lord, and on Him only.

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Worship is an expression of our adoration to the Lord. When we worship, we come into His presence with a deep reverential awe for who He is. We extol Him. We magnify Him. We praise and thank Him. Worship is never supposed to be about anyone or anything but Him, but we have made worship about ourselves and our feelings. Sometimes you will respond emotionally. It’s possible for the Lord to touch a person during a time of praise and worship, and we thank Jesus for that, but it should never end there. Worship is a posture of your heart. It comes from a heart that longs for the Lord more than anything else.

Whenever we reduce worship to a formula — a style of music, say, or a specific artist, or a particular place — we are missing the bigger picture. This is what the Samaritan woman in John chapter 4 did. She was certain that because her ancestors had worshiped on a certain mountain, she was therefore worshiping correctly. But the Lord Jesus had to correct her and say, “You worship what you do not know … ” (John 4:22).

How many of us would like to hear the Lord say that to us? You look like you’re worshiping, but you are not. You don’t know what you are worshiping. I don’t know about you, but that is not something I want to hear the Lord say to me. I want to be one who worships Him in spirit and in truth. The Bible actually warns us about false worship in these verses.

And so the LORD says, “These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote” (Isaiah 29:13 NLT).

Jesus would later quote this verse to the people in Matthew 15 as he rebuked the Pharisees for their hypocrisy. It’s quite possible to know the words to your favorite worship song and not know why you worship, or even more important, not know who you are worshiping.

The disciples understood worship. They loved the Lord and were willing to lay down their lives for the one who gave it all for them. They had the fear of the Lord. That is why no matter what they faced they could worship. They walked in full devotion to the Lord. There was room for no one else. Their hearts burned for the Lord. Take Paul and Silas, for example. They preached in a region and cast a demon out of a young girl. They were beaten and imprisoned, and yet at midnight they were praying and singing to the Lord (see Acts 16:16–30). That’s worship.

Long before there were church buildings, Christ’s disciples met in homes for fellowship, and they worshiped together (see Acts 2:46–47).

Did you know that the way we live our lives before the Lord is an act of worship? I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship (Romans 12:1).

We must go back to placing the Lord front and center in our worship and in our lives. The Lord is looking for those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth. Will you be one?

One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple (Psalm 27:4).

Yours, LORD, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, LORD, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all  (1 Chronicles 29:11 NIV).

Reflection:  

Examine yourself before the Lord. What does your worship life look like? Are you guilty of exalting a favorite worship leader? I promise you that true worship leaders do not want your worship. They want you to worship the Lord. Are you guilty of making worship about yourself and your feelings rather than about the Lord? Or has worship become a formula to you, as it became for the Samaritan woman? Take some time before the Lord and come clean; confess it to Him. Put Him back at the center of it all again, and you will be a worshiper in spirit and truth.

Prayer: 

Father, forgive me for not giving You what You are due. You are worthy of all my worship and praise. You don’t want only part of my devotion, or only part of my heart — You want it all. Forgive me for those times when I have reduced worship by exalting my feelings above Your presence. Forgive me for those times when my life has not been holy and acceptable in Your sight. I confess where I have failed in this area, and You said that if I confess my sins, You are faithful and just to forgive my sins and cleanse me of all unrighteousness. Create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within me. Teach me to be a worshiper in spirit and in truth. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Share this article to encourage others to truly worship the Lord.

IFA contributing writer Gloria Robles is a passionate intercessor with a prophetic voice for today. For more from Gloria, go to Spotify or Anchor and listen to her podcast, Something To Share. Photo Credit: Bjorn Brekelmans/Getty Images

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Lidia
September 24, 2023

Wonderful worship article!!! Thank you so very much for the reminder and encouragement, for taking the time to write and share!
God’s richest blessings!!

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