Posts Tagged ‘worship’

Prayer is Worship

Friday, January 29th, 2016


Did you know that prayer is worship? It’s true. Many people call it adoration, and Jesus included it in His model prayer for His disciples: “Hallowed be Thy name.”

The Anatomy of a Prayer

Let’s break down the different categories of prayer:

  • Confession
  • Supplication
  • Thanksgiving
  • Worship

Each of these categories is important, so I will describe each one briefly, but we will be focusing on worship through prayer today. So few people take the time to properly worship God in their prayers.

Prayer Video #4


You should confess your sins to God, or agree with Him that you have sinned, and turn from those sins in repentance. It is crucial to confess your sins at the beginning of your prayer because otherwise God will not hear you (Psalm 66:18). If your prayer cannot be heard until your sin is confessed, you should always make sure you confess your sins first.

It’s your sin that’s causing your misery. Giving up your sin will unblock you from God and enable Him to live through you and give you love, joy, peace, and all the other evidences of the Spirit.

You should continuously make sure that you have no unconfessed sin. I cannot bear to have my connection with God broken. I usually feel it right away as an uneasiness in my spirit. When I discover that I have sinned, I immediately confess and repent. So when I spend time in prayer, I have no sin blocking me, and I can begin intersession right away.


Supplication is laying down requests before the Lord. Another word for supplication is intersession. This is the bulk of your prayer life: lifting others up before the Lord with their requests. Laboring before God for people in the church, for your family members, and even for your enemies is what God requires of us (Colossians 4:12; Matthew 5:44).


We are commanded to give thanks in all things (1 Thessalonians 5:18; Philippians 4:6). When God answers our prayers, we should not forget to thank Him. We can also be grateful for all that God has done in our lives. We can thank Him for what He has given us and for who He is. I am thankful for God’s mercy, for example, that in our rebellion He shows kindness and forgives when we come to Him in repentance.


Adoration is lifting God up and telling Him how wonderful He is. You find worship especially in the Psalms, where God is praised for who He is and for all He has done and will do. I like to sing my worship to God because singing expresses adoration better than words. (You will hear me sing “O the Deep Deep Love of Jesus” in the video above, and I describe why that song means so much to me.)

I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have being.
 – Psalm 104:33 ESV

Speaking to each other in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord… -Ephesians 5:19 ESV

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Lament in Scripture

Monday, October 22nd, 2012


“The most precious thing we have to offer is what hurts us the most.” – Michael Card

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” – Psalm 51:17

“There is no true worship without wilderness.” – Michael Card

The book of Lamentations is a funeral dirge (poetic music) written about the fall of Jerusalem. It is included in the Bible as the inspired Word of God because sorrow directed towards God is accepted by God as worship.

In the book of Lamentations, Jeremiah is thrown into the bottom of a muddy well, left to starve, sitting among his own refuse. While in this reeking, dark hole in the ground, Jeremiah bursts out,

“The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)

In the middle of horrible muck with no hope, when his eyes were red and raw with crying, he remembered the faithfulness of God because of His divine presence. Maybe God’s tangible presence can only be found in such dire circumstances, which is why the people with the deepest faith are the ones who have suffered the most.

God accepted Job’s sorrow, and He stated that Job had not sinned in his despair directed towards the Lord. The questioning of God, the crying, the screaming—the rage even—was accepted by God. God declared Job to be right in what he said. (Job 42:7-8)

The majority of Psalms are laments which have sorrow in them directed towards God. This is our Psalter, God’s approved worship manual. God drinks it in as a sacrifice on our part, to pursue Him despite His crushing us through the trials He allows in our lives. In that deep sorrow, we press into God, and God shows up because we have nothing left but God. All of the laments in the Psalms (with only one exception) have a “but God” statement at the end. In other words, “Why are you downcast, oh my soul?” is followed by more and more sorrow poured out as an offering to God. At the end, in the last verse or two, “but God” is faithful and will come through for me in the end. This is the formula for this style of Psalm, to give us an example of how emptying ourselves towards God enables Him to show up and fill us in greater measure than we ever dreamed possible.

Every Christian who has gone through deep suffering knows exactly what I’m saying. This understanding brings comfort to the soul like a parched ground receiving life-giving water. Every time in my life that I have thrown myself towards God in the middle of sorrow, over and over again for days or weeks or even months, the end result is the filling of the Spirit, the showing up of God. “Taste and see that the Lord is good.” (Psalm 34:8) I have tasted the intense presence of God, and whenever I think back to those times, tears stream down my face because I yearn for God’s presence more than life itself. I would do anything for more of God.

A friend of Michael Card was pinned down under some building rubble, crippling him for life. In the middle of the excruciating pain during which he had no pain killer, while he was waiting for help to arrive and to dig him out—he felt the tangible presence of God. Time was inconsequential, he said. It could have been 5 minutes or 5 hours. It didn’t matter. The presence of God was exquisite. When the workers arrived, he felt the tangible presence of God leaving, and he cried out, “Please don’t leave!! You don’t have to heal me. Just… please don’t leave…”

Finding a Good Church

Wednesday, September 7th, 2011

finding-a-good-churchIf you move to a new city, I strongly recommend not settling for the first church you walk into. You have a unique opportunity to see the state of Christianity in the area in which you live. Don’t leave a church where you are a member unless God is purposely moving you forward. Faithfulness is worth a lot in God’s eyes, and endurance is usually what is required of you when you are hurt by others in the church. You must feel a supernatural peace from God about leaving, and a sweetness toward those left behind.

This summer we have been visiting a wide variety of churches. The style, the preaching, the worship, and the people were vastly different from each other, even though I saw people who loved God at each place. For example, one church was more like a geriatric ward (I love the elderly, so I have no problem with this!) and hardly any young people, and another church had only young people and not a single person with gray hair. Some of the churches were warmer to newcomers, and others were disconnected and uninterested in making new friends. Some people left you alone while other people were so in-your-face that they were almost like  annoying car salesmen. I suddenly saw how unbelievers viewed Christians.

Neither I nor my husband enjoyed this process. It felt like we were eating too many flavors of ice-cream, and we wanted to puke. Each Sunday when we got home from church, my husband would say to the children, “We are not going back to this church, and here is the reason…” Then he would tell the children why the church was not solid. My children began to gain discernment.

This brings me to the most important characteristic my husband and I were looking for in a church: expository preaching of the Word of God. This means a verse by verse explanation of Scripture. Ideally we both enjoy exposition combined with exhortation, so that we walk away convicted to become more holy people. (But pure exposition also causes conviction.) A high view of the Word of God and of God Himself are vital. Both my husband and I want to walk in holiness. If the preacher gives 20 illustrations that are disjointed and finally throws in a verse at the very end as an afterthought, the Word of God is not preached at that church. My husband said he felt like putting police tape around those churches to prevent more people from being led astray.

The second-to-most important factor in our search for a church was friendships. Childhood friendships are crucial for walking in holiness as an adult. That’s because childhood friends understand you like no one else can; you can’t fool them. They can remind you of a time in your life years prior when you were in a similar situation, and how you handled it well, and you can do so now. In other words, friends who have known you forever are irreplaceable as far as rebuking effectively or encouraging in a way that is real. This is no small matter. There’s something about my best friend choosing to remain my friend over the years, even though she isn’t related to me. It makes me feel valuable as a human being. “There is a friend that sticks closer than a brother,” says Proverbs, so even Scripture acknowledges that people ought to have friendships outside their family. There are also blind spots in families that only an outsider can point out; it helps you to gain wisdom to see something from another person’s point of view.

The quality of the adults at a church influences the quality of the children. Are they striving after holiness? In one of the churches we attended, the adult Sunday school was talking about personality types and only mentioned Scripture for five minutes. When prayer requests were taken, the requests were trivial. At another church, the prayer requests mentioned in the Sunday school indicated that the adults had a deep walk with God. People talked about sanctification issues, adopting an orphan from Haiti, and for God to help them on a missions trip to India. Even the comments during the Sunday school in that second church showed that people cared about obedience to God, and they weren’t afraid to speak the truth.

The style of worship didn’t even factor in, although my husband had an opinion about the depth of the words of the songs. He doesn’t enjoy songs like “Kumbaya” that have no substance. In one church, people were actually dancing during the songs. Oddly, I felt like everything was out of control, even though I love raising my hands during worship music. To be honest, I would rather be in a church where no one is raising their hands, so that I can raise mine and free other people to worship God. (I see in my peripheral vision other people raising their hands because my action freed them; they just didn’t want to be the first person to do it.) Forty years of being in churches where almost no one raises hands makes me feel weird when the entire church is moving. It makes me feel dizzy. I was surprised because I’m a closet charismatic at heart. I want to worship God with wild abandon, and I’m always holding back for fear of distracting others. Now I had a perfectly good chance to go to a church that was more charismatic, and I found myself backing up.

Finally we found the right church. We both knew as soon as we heard the pastor preach. He exposited the Word of God with scholarship and with a passion for truth. My husband later said to our pastor, “As soon as I heard you preach, I knew that I was home.” I felt the same way. At last we were served a feast of spiritual steak, and our souls could rest.