“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” –John 4:23, 24
Over the years, I’ve had many wonderful opportunities as a worship leader to experience really alive worship. I’ve been blessed to participate in worship where the Spirit of God moves so powerfully that you feel as if you are truly at the foot of His throne. It’s incredible to taste the presence of God so intensely. We need God’s presence in this way. Why? Because God’s presence changes things. We cannot stand in His presence and remain the same. Once you’re tasted worship that rich, you simply aren’t satisfied with anything less. I’ve found it doesn’t matter what the worship style is either; whether it’s traditional hymns sung along with an organ or contemporary worship with a praise team, God’s Spirit will respond to the sincerity of the worshipers regardless of the style of music.
With this in mind, there are a couple components I feel are key to a truly incredible worship experience with God:
Everyone has come ready to worship. Don’t wait for the worship leader to get you stirred up or “in the mood” to worship God. Start at home, in the car on your way to church. Turn up your favorite worship music, dig into some scripture, and start praying and praising God before you ever step foot on church property. Coming to worship without getting your soul and spirit in the right place is like jumping into a sporting competition without warming up first. When we come to His house with our spirit in line with His, we are more in tune with how His Spirit wants to move in that place, on that day, with those people. We are more open to receiving what He has for us. It’s important to remember, it’s not the worship leader’s or the pastor’s job to make us feel anything. It’s their job to bring their best, but after that it’s up to us if we want to feel God’s presence in worship.
Every person present is focused and actively seeking Him during worship time. Again, the style of worship does not matter. If the entire body is pressing in to His presence together, it is amazing how His Spirit will respond. Is everyone in their seat actively participating in the service? Or are some people present and others busy getting coffee, talking with their neighbor, checking their smartphone, etc.? When a body comes together and presses into God as one body instead of many individuals focused on various things, there is a unity that seems to activate something in the heavenly realm. It’s popular today to say God “showed up”. However, this implies He was away from us and came to where we are, when we know He never leaves us (Deuteronomy 31:6,8; Joshua 1:5). It’s more accurate to say God moves or responds. God responds when His people come to Him in unity, as one body with one goal: to taste and be touched by His presence.
The point of worship is not to have a nice Christian concert that gives me warm fuzzies, though I might experience the warmth of God’s loving presence in worship. The point of worship, ultimately, is to get things done. We are not there to simply observe, but to participate. We are there to be changed, and as I said, the presence of God changes things. Just being in His presence brings healing, comfort, strength, courage, joy and peace. His presence is the very thing that gives us life! Let’s not miss what God is trying to do in worship. Let’s not settle for less than a deeply moving encounter with His Spirit. Let’s respect what He wants to accomplish and come ready to participate, press in and be changed.