When it comes to worship, there are many different styles and flavors and types of worship. Everyone has their own “favorite” style and type of worship. And, believe it or not, there is no real “right” way to worship. Even myself, I have my own preferred “style” of worship that I prefer, and there are other “styles” that I can still worship in even if they are not my “preferred” style of worship.
Because there are so many different varieties and styles of worship sometimes it might be a chore to consider going to worship. There might be times in our life when things are not the way they should be, and we don’t feel like worshipping, but we go anyway. There are times when we don’t want to go to worship feeling like “we just aren’t into it” that particular day, but coming away from the service we might feel how God has moved in the service and personally spoke to me.
This is one of the reasons why we can consider worship to be a spiritual discipline. We have to view worship as a discipline in our growing to be like Christ. In part because of our human tendency to our sinful self, we would rather not go. Richard Foster says “One reason worship should be considered a Spiritual Discipline is because it is an ordered way of acting and living that sets us before God so he can transform us.”
Worship as a discipline is a tool that helps to shape us into Christlikeness. One of the biggest things we need to remind ourselves is that worship is not about ourselves, but it is for God. When there are so many different varieties and styles of worship, often people can treat worship as a consumer, “how is it meeting me need?” “What do I get out of going to worship?” Foster reminds us, “What we must see is that the real question in worship is not, ‘What will meet my need?’ The real question is, ‘What kind of worship does God call for?’”
“What kind of worship does God call for?” This is a great question to ask ourselves. We have to remind ourselves that when we come to worship, it isn’t all about me, myself and I. But when we worship, it is all about God. So when Foster says, “What kind of worship does God call for?” His simple and direct answer is, “It is clear that God calls for wholehearted worship.”
Worship is a discipline. There may be times when you don’t feel you are fully there with all of your heart for worship. Yet, you have disciplined yourself to go, and you have opened yourself up to the working of the Spirit so that you can wholeheartedly worship while you are there.
One of the things that I am humbled by in our congregation, is the sense that when we come to worship, we will worship with our whole heart. Last week Sunday to me was a perfect example of what I mean. In that worship service, there might have been newer songs that we weren’t familiar with, and there might have been some of the songs that are our favorites. And it didn’t matter which one we were singing, the whole service was done in such a way that it was God glorifying and people worshipped God with their whole heart!
But worship is not only intended to be done one day out of the week. Worship as a discipline is done corporately, but also individually as we prepare for the main act of corporate worship. As we prepare ourselves throughout the week, we are worshipping God by focusing on him each and every day. Finding ways to do personal devotions, or finding ways to cultivate a life that reflects what Paul calls us to do, to “pray without ceasing.” Our whole lives can and should be lives of worship to God. The worship service on Sunday should be used in such a way, that it shapes us for the week ahead to be worshipping in all we do.