Worship the Lord your God, and his blessing will be on your food and water.
– Exodus 23:25
“Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”
The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.”
Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”
– John 4:21-26
“God wants worshipers before workers; indeed the only acceptable workers are those who have learned the lost art of worship… Gifts and power for service the Spirit surely desires to impart; but holiness and spiritual worship come first.”
– Rev. A. W. Tozer, That Incredible Christian
With yesterday’s exhortation regarding find what God wants of you and then go do it, I felt a little Paul Harvey was in order. For those not old enough to remember, his tagline was, “And Now… for the rest of the story.”
God commanded His people to worship Him as seen in Exodus 23. The second commandment (in Exodus 20) states not to worship anything else, implying God is to be the only thing worshiped. Jesus tells the woman at the well that the Father seeks those who will worship Him in truth.
Yet, Tozer says that worship in this sense is a lost art. Is he talking about the people in the pews that are there to see and be seen? Is he talking about the form of worship? …the order of worship? …the type of music, or the level of participation, or the manifestations of exhortation and Spiritual gifts?
Okay, if you asked 100 people leaving the worship service, more than 90 will say that the choir and the preacher worshiped. They were just watching. No, they were failing to worship. Or they were showing their desire before God to not worship. We worship in church whether we know it or not. Some are into the service. They hear what is being said; they absorb it into their lives; they repent; they learn how to live a good life better during the remaining 167 hours of the week. Others are worshiping what is in their mind regarding their plans for the afternoon.
But even that misses the point. God wants us to worship Him every minute of every day. We have to sleep, but I have noticed that sometimes when I fill my mind with the right stuff, I have dreams that build on those thoughts that night. I must confess that I have also worried about things and had dreams that added to the stress.
This article could go down the rabbit hole of the ‘doing’ church. They don’t know why they do, they just do. In part that is what Tozer is talking about, but in the doing, they should be worshiping God. If not, their labors are to glorify themselves, but enough of our glimpse into that rabbit hole.
How do we worship God all day? We do have to make a living, most of us that is.
We can start the day with Bible reading, prayer, and just thanking God for helping us wake up. I go down and get on the computer. I do some things that don’t require a lot of eye focusing, since my eyes are the last things to become fully awake. Sometimes I squint or pull the devotional book in and out to find the sweet spot in my bifocals in order to read. I then read a portion of Scripture on-line, usually letting the software read it to me for a deeper experience. As an instructional specialist of 30+ years, you retain more (about twice as much as just reading alone) when you hear and read at the same time. (Remember that when the preacher says, “Now turn in the pew Bibles to…” Oh, for best retention, say, read, hear and then DO to retain what you hear in the sermon, 90%+ retention.)
When someone cuts you off in traffic on the way to work, you can remind yourself that the “idiot” is one of God’s children too. As such, you might learn to not call him an “idiot.” Just a suggestion.
When you get to work, you can pray as you walk to your station (office, work location, coffee maker, whatever). Pray that you will glorify God in all that you do. That gets better results than praying that your evil boss will leave you alone, just once.
You can pray on the way home with praise that you survived. Do you listen to Christian radio in the car? Do you have Christian Music CDs or Bible study recordings? I have an audio dramatization of The Screwtape Letters. Whatever it takes, you need to do something to relieve the daily stresses before you greet your spouse and children. If you have been in a state of prayer all day, the stresses will be less, but this is a broken world and God is not finished with us yet either.
Then bedtime prayers are a good thing, maybe another devotional book to set the mind on the right thoughts.
Too many people only pray at the evening meal. Since food and drink are mentioned in Exodus 23 quote above, they forget that prayer and worship are needed all day long.
Soli Deo Gloria. Glory to God alone. This worship thing all day long, every day, brings new meaning to the phrase.