The Simplicity of Praise

by | Jan 31, 2003 | Spiritual Growth

God isn’t looking a perfectly sung worship chorus but for the simple expression of our hearts.

Hagan-Worship FILLER It always seems to begin and end the same–a torn envelope, then a tearful stream.

Birthday rituals, especially those between a papa bear and his cubs, have a way of doing that. I’m as normal, I suppose, as any papa bear at the moment when, just prior to the cake and candles, I begin the jubilee by accepting my birthday cards from the kids. Responding joyfully to their eager offerings, I quickly thumb open the cards with heartfelt surprise. Then, without trying to look unappreciative for the coins spent, I swiftly glance past all the artwork and poetry.

You can always tell if the cards were a last-minute afterthought. If the spit on the envelope flap is still wet, then you know there was some fancy scurrying going on in the back bedroom only moments earlier. But after opening the cards, my chief aim as a papa bear is easy–to unscramble the mysteries of “cub scribble.”

If you’re a parent like myself, you’ve probably nodded through the toddler years and mumbled “How sweet!” while reading your cards, only to suddenly find yourself wordless and watery-eyed at the first sight of “I LuVV U dadee.” Few things in life strike the mute button inside a parent’s heart like the homespun birthday scribble of an offspring.

Curiously enough, I’m now discovering that the intrigue of scribble is the route to deeper and more pregnant worship! My recent awakening came during a wonderful worship service at the church where I serve as pastor.

Our music associate was introducing the congregation to a magnetic new chorus that was truly bravo. It seemed to proclaim an added sense of majesty. It had it all–catchy phrasing, masterful orchestration and sound doctrine. It was the kind of new song you wake with, shower with, drive with and sleep with.

But instead of singing, I stood there with my hands in my suit pockets. Instead of becoming enthralled in Jesus, I was lost in a drift. I thought to myself, How can anyone write a song as beautiful as this?

I felt again those jealous and cheated sentiments that come from not being able to fulfill my secret desire of writing worship songs the world would sing. My dilemma is that my private praise compositions tend to be nothing but nonharmonious humming underscored by repetitious words such as “hallelujah” and “Thank You, Jesus.” Most of the time, my worship and praise vocabulary feels at or below preschool level.

Standing there among hundreds who were lost in fervent worship, I felt embarrassed before the King of kings. After many years, I was still living in such immaturity of worship utterance.

Then, almost mysteriously, I began feeling nostalgic about my last birthday party. For several moments I just stood there saturating myself in the emotions I had experienced when my little children presented me with their birthday cards. I had appreciated the professional script purchased from their limited allowances, but it was their own words–no matter how crudely inscribed–that unleashed the core emotions of my fatherhood.

In that moment, my worship journey altered dramatically–not because of an inspiring new discovery of worship language but because God unveiled something very simplistic about our relationship as son and Father–that He as my Father longed for that same informality of expression. Jesus said, “‘Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it at all'” (Mark 10:15, NASB).

When it comes to worship, the simple scribble of our adoration is what the Father desires. It is not the high-priced choir leader, the costly chapel carpet or the hired symphony that invites God to be “enthroned upon the praises of [His people]” (Ps. 22:3).

That invitation for habitation is extended as each person who loves the Lord offers with abandonment his spiritual and true affections toward His creator. The kind of worship that reaches beyond the steeple tip and meets with the Father’s delight is the very kind I had been ashamed of offering–the kind that is like the undisguised and naive expressions of a child.

Worship is about relationship, and relationship is about discovering refuge and refreshing from life’s spiritual fires. The Bible tells us that the Father’s presence brings this refreshing. “Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19).

The word “worship” comes from two Greek words, pros and kuneo. The word pros means “to move forward.” The word kuneo means “to kiss with a sense of awe.” Earnest worship involves both a physical action and a loving intent, both a leaning forward with the body and a reaching out with the soul to touch with both life and lyric the divine magnificence of the Father.

Now each Sunday, I see my Father tearing open envelopes, thumbing beyond all the professionalism and seeking to locate the simple worship scribble of each childlike saint. Though at times they are sour-noted and half-articulated, these gestures of love, I know, are categorically connecting with His beauty and heart.

The kind of worship that delights the Father is like the naive expressions of a child.

CHARISMA NEWSLETTERS

Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


MORE FROM CHARISMA

How to Operate in the Power Gifts of the Holy Spirit

How to Operate in the Power Gifts of the Holy Spirit

Before Jesus ascended to heaven, He told the apostles in Acts 1:8 (NLT), “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.” Jesus promises a gift that would give them comfort, power, strength and encouragement. That gift is the Holy Spirit, and that...

Messianic Rabbi: Make the Choice to Be an Outsider

Messianic Rabbi: Make the Choice to Be an Outsider

One of the wonderful things about reading through the Bible is that the more you read it, the more things you find within its pages. No matter how many times you read a verse or a series of verses, because the Bible is a living document, there will always be more to...

Kingdom Economics: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

Kingdom Economics: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness

On July 4, 1776, the Continental Congress unanimously voted to pass a declaration of independence from Britain. Each signatory was facing death by hanging if the bold experiment failed. The Declaration of Independence declared that all men were created equal and that...

Consider This Unsung Hero of the Bible

Consider This Unsung Hero of the Bible

Sometimes, I think Martha in the Bible gets a bad rap! I am not saying that Jesus labeled Martha at all. Please hear me out. But I think we would be wise to avoid picking up and holding onto some of the dynamics in this potential sibling rivalry between Martha and...

Prophetic Word: We Are Entering the Books of Acts

Prophetic Word: We Are Entering the Books of Acts

On the morning of June 5, 2022, I was praying in preparation for the Arise Women’s Summit I was hosting near Knoxville, Tennessee, when the Lord took me into an encounter. I found myself in the library of heaven standing before a giant staircase made of extremely...

The Church Revived: 3 Keys to the Emerging Move of God

The Church Revived: 3 Keys to the Emerging Move of God

During the past two years, I believe the church at large has been in a season of returning to God. Repentance is crucial when it comes to revival. Scripture shows a clear pattern that repentance precedes the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (see Joel 2:12-28 and Acts...

RECENT ARTICLES

How Divine Wrestling Changes Our Identity

All of us at some point will hit a place of getting the wind knocked out of us. We all experience unexpected detours and times when there seems to be no way out. But there is One who lives in us,...
Spirit-Filled Pastor: How Does God Lead Us Today?

Spirit-Filled Pastor: How Does God Lead Us Today?

Whether it is the Spirit leading or forbidding in the book of Acts, or the Spirit leading throughout Christian history, it’s clear that the leading of the Spirit is important. In the Old Testament, it appears that the Spirit of God could be withdrawn completely from...

Joyce Meyer: Keys to Winning Your Race in Life

Joyce Meyer: Keys to Winning Your Race in Life

Everyone has a race to run. That just means we all have a life to live. The apostle Paul says in Hebrews 12:1 (NIV), “Therefore...let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for...

What Is ‘The One Thing’ God Wants From You?

What Is ‘The One Thing’ God Wants From You?

In 1971, I was invited to spend one month in Singapore at a new institute that had been started by John Haggai. It was still in the formative stages then—a place where Asian church leaders would be trained and challenged to witness for Christ. Today, more than 40...

37 Prayers for the Suffering Persecuted Church

37 Prayers for the Suffering Persecuted Church

It was a Pentecost bloodbath and most Christians never heard about it. More than 50 Christians were killed in one of the deadliest terror attacks on Nigerians this year. Scores of gunmen rushed in to kill Christians in the midst of worship. All told, over 360 million...

Pin It on Pinterest