Worship is a spiritual discipline as is prayer, fasting, giving and meditating in the Scriptures. I don’t usually put worship on my list of spiritual disciplines. A spiritual practice for sure, but I haven’t listed it as a discipline—at least not in my mind.
I’ve been reading over the Psalms and noticing how often that book puts us in the place of ministering before the Lord with praise and thanksgiving.
The New Testament goes beyond mere ministers and calls us priests. Priests minister before and to the Lord.
Worship is the main ministry we do for the Lord even if all we are is a “gatekeeper in the house of our God.” Pretty big assignment if you ask me.
Worship is work
It is what we will be doing for the rest of eternity future. It is something we are to learn to do well and practice even now, and it doesn’t always come easy. That’s why I think it is a spiritual discipline.
However, something I’ve noticed in my circle of Charismatic relationships is that worship isn’t always regarded as our spiritual work.
It’s been hijacked into being one of our unalienable rights to a good spiritual experience.
Some seem to think that church is not really church unless we have a moving encounter with God during worship. If our emotions aren’t involved then worship doesn’t cut it. If one is not emotionally stirred then the service isn’t spiritual enough.
Some people even change churches because their expectation of good worship isn’t being met at their current place “of worship.”
Gatekeepers of worship
I wonder how many worship teams believe that their job description is to provide a time for people to experience God or that they are to set an atmosphere where people can encounter Him.
I hope they understand that their job is to minister before the Lord and to do so in front of all of us in the congregation so that as a community of worshipers we can follow their lead in worshiping the Lord of Heaven and Earth.
I’m not against having good feelings or an awesome experience when I worship. I especially appreciate it when I encounter God during worship.
Worship without cost isn’t worship
But a gatekeeper, or a worshiper, doesn’t always encounter the Lord of the Manor. Gatekeepers, or servants, are known for how unnoticeable they are. They blend into the background and not the forefront.
Good feelings, awesome experiences, and encountering the Living God are not the purpose of worship. These are byproducts. Good byproducts, but byproducts none the less.
It was King David who said that he would not offer to God that which had cost him nothing.
One reason the Scriptures call us to give ourselves as a living sacrifice and to offer the sacrifice of praise is because sacrifices can only be given when we have to forfeit something.
A sacrifice will cost you. Bottom line–we are not on the receiving end when we worship. We are on the giving end.
When we gather together as the church, we assemble to minister to the Lord.
Our job description, every one of us, is to bless Him and minister to Him. Not the other way around. Sounds like work to me!
So the work of worship deserves more study, practicing, perfecting, and performing. I’ll let you know how my musings on this spiritual discipline go.
In Him together, Susan Gaddis
This post is a reprint of my May 7, 2009 post from my Sabbath and Sabbatical blog.