Pastoral Perspectives

Be Worshipful

What is your understanding of worship? Do you discuss this topic with friends? What constitutes good worship? How can you be worshipful? I love to ask questions to stimulate our thought processes. I believe that questions help us to know where we are spiritually. The thought of writing a perspective on this aspect, “Be Worshipful”, arose from my recent visit to the Living Stones DG via Zoom. This DG is currently doing the DG (7 Jan 2024) Common Curriculum on “I Have Had Enough!” based on Isaiah 1:1-20. I am very encouraged by the enthusiasm they had in studying God’s Word. There was a particular question which stirred an interest in me: “Is there anything that might possibly make God displeased with the kind of worship that we offer in our church?” I am curious how each DG would have answered this crucial question. I will instead put it in another way, that is, this question: “Are you pleased with yourself in the way you render worship to God?” Before addressing these questions, I would like to share two Bible verses for your consideration.

I am reminded of this Bible verse in Psalm 122:1, “I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD!’” In this verse, I would ask myself this question: “Am I glad to go to the house of the LORD?” If I was glad, I would have prepared myself well for worship in church each Sunday. This requires a deep search of myself on my attitude of worship rendered to God. Gladness in my heart should reflect gratefulness in my worship to Him. Am I grateful for the freedom of worship which I have had each Sunday? When I came to Church each Sunday, how did I worship Him? Am I able to focus on His attributes? Am I glad that I am given another opportunity to worship Him? I need to rethink how I render worship to God each Sunday. I do not want to go through the motion. This is no good for us, the children of God, in our attitude towards worship. I do not know how many of us really give God the worship which He deserves and which He desires. We are so easily distracted by too many things and concerns.

Back to the question on whether I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the LORD!” The answer is obvious. I recalled those times when my late mother forbad me to go to church. During those days, I was always looking forward to going to church each Sunday to worship God and to have fellowship with God’s people. It was such a joy which I had had then. Hence, I need to return to that kind of eagerness and enthusiasm which I previously had in worshipping God.

Are we all enthusiastic and excited each Sunday when we come to church to worship the Almighty God? May we, therefore, rethink how we render worship to God each Sunday! To render the right worship to God, we need to have good preparation for worship. The followings are some suggestions, but they are not exhaustive.

If you belong to a Discipleship Group (DG), it would be good to keep each other accountable by encouraging each other to please God in our worship each Sunday. It is good for the DG members to constantly check with each other how their worship of God was each Sunday. For yourself, you may want to prepare properly for Sunday worship by getting ready on Saturday night. On Saturday night, you may want to read the sermon text in advance so that you are familiar with the text before it is being preached. It will be good to sleep early so that you have sufficient rest and sleep in getting yourself ready for worship. I would suggest that you may want to go to church early at least 15 minutes early to prepare yourself for worship.

In the Sanctuary, when you sing each worship song, you can focus on the lyrics of the songs and allow the Holy Spirit to minister to you through them. When the message is preached, you can give undivided attention to it and sense the leading of the Spirit as you listen carefully to be effectively and efficiently taught. “Be Worshipful” is all that it takes to give God the worship which He deserves and which He desires.

I am reminded of another Bible verse in John 4:24, “God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.” How do we worship God in spirit and truth? To do this, our focus must be from the heart and from the way we live our life. The worship we render to God must be sincere and truthful, without pretence or hypocrisy. Let us come with a heart of confession and repentance before God to worship Him. To come early for worship, we will be able to quieten our heart and soul in preparation for worship. It is good to be in a prayerful spirit when we are in His Sanctuary. Commit the worship to God in prayer will help us in our worship. Sing the songs with understanding and concentration, meaning them in our hearts when we sing. I remembered an occasion when the words of the lyrics of a particular song suddenly came alive to me, and I was immediately ministered by the contents and moved emotionally in my heart and whole being. I sang tearfully that Sunday during worship. When I was distracted by many other things and concerns, I knew that I could not give God the worship which He deserved and which He desired on those Sundays.

It is my earnest prayer for each of us to come and worship God sincerely and truthfully. God is here and is present at each Worship Service and each Sunday. May we acknowledge that God is with us and appreciate Him for who He is and what He has done, allowing His Holy Spirit to do His transforming work in our lives as we worship Him and sing His praises each Sunday. May we live a life which is pleasing in His sight, giving glory and honour to His Holy Name. Amen.