Worship different

that_awkward_moment_The praise song was going well. The lyrics, the music, the voices were ushering in a quiet atmosphere of worship to the Father.

But that was about to change.

And I didn’t know what to do.

With my old church, one man up front would lead the singing. He’d tell us what song number to turn to in the hymnal or project the words on the big screen in front of us. We’d all (hopefully) pay attention and sing along with him, word for word in sync. Then we’d wait for the next song, and all sing those words together. When the song ended, we sat silently and passively waited for the next item on the agenda.

But now with my new church, I was discovering things were going to be different.

While we do still all sing together, the worship leader doesn’t necessarily shut down the praise when the song ends. Sometimes he invites us to keep it going. But instead of feeding us lyrics from someone else, we’re encouraged to use our own words. 

Out loud.

Right then.

Okaaay.

The first time, it caught me off guard. I just stood there, maybe eyes closed, maybe peeking, and didn’t say anything aloud. I listened as the rumblings around me grew. Never loud or raucous, but constant and sincere. I could make out words like “Thank you” and “Jesus” and “Father”  from individual worshipers giving praise with their own words.

After a few minutes, the band would move into the next song and corporate worship would resume. And I’d be back in my comfort zone.

A few Sundays of this went by. Then I decided to give it a try.

And oh my. God got my attention.

This new thing helped. My mind wandered less. I tuned out distracting thoughts. I focused more on what Jesus meant to me personally when I was pumping original words from my heart to my mouth. 

It was just a small change—a shift from silent prayer to spoken prayer—and just for a few minutes, but it was a good change. A personal change.

So Sundays are a little noisier now. But that’s okay. I’m no longer awkward with moments of praying aloud with everyone else. I’ve dropped the lie that it would only draw attention to myself, and discovered that it draws my own attention to God instead.

May we never be too old to learn new things, too rigid to embrace change, too comfortable to try different.

Growing in worship is worth it all.

* * *

Have you changed any spiritual habits lately?

15 thoughts on “Worship different

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Yes, I do love how God works like that too, Linda. We can’t predict him. I’m glad he continues to invite us in new ways to discover our joy in worshiping him.

  1. Debbie

    I love how you wrote:

    “May we never be too old to learn new things, too rigid to embrace change, too comfortable to try different.”

    I want to be a life long learner, that’s for sure. I’ve not arrived yet and always have much to learn. Lately I’ve been getting down on my knees to pray. It does make a difference for me.

    Blessings and love,
    Debbie

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Praying on your knees is a great practice, Debbie. I have never done it consistently. But I do find it amazing how our physical posture has the ability to indeed influence us in deeper ways. Thanks for sharing this. Hope you’re having a great week!

  2. floyd

    Good for you, Lisa. It’s not about rituals… I need to step out myself a bit. You’ve encouraged me to. Old habits die hard. I’m trying, sister. Thanks for sharing this. This is a bigger deal than we think and most of us don’t like to talk about breaking old rituals…

    That’s it… I’m raising my hand next Sunday!

  3. Jody Lee Collins

    Lisa, as someone who has the privilege of leading worship twice a month I can tell you it is a joy to worship in this way. We’ve made it a practice for the last few years–the muscians play and we all ‘free worship’–phrases of praise to the Creator. It is so freeing and so beautiful, too. Good job letting go….God is so good to bless us when we ‘try it scared.’

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks for the encouragement, Jody. We need more people like you to prompt us to let go more often. There are a lot of old tapes that I’m still trying to break from years of doing the same thing. I’m definitely enjoying my new-found freedom.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      It is always good for my soul to worship through good praise music too. I’ve been greatly blessed through many songs that both word my praise in ways I couldn’t but also inspire my own words to keep it going.

  4. jdukeslee

    I love God’s flexibility with us as we change our spiritual disciplines and practices as we grow in Him. Those changes really keep my own times of worship and prayer fresh and invigorating. I’ve moved through season of memorization, Scripture doodling, prayer-walking, prayers with beads, silent meditation, journaling, praying the Scriptures aloud and more. Some of them have stuck for years, while others sort of fade, making room for something new. Grateful for your words, linked with #TellHisStory.

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