Jesus declared, in John 17:2 “This is eternal life that they may know God.” I can know a lot about music, a lot about worship, yet still not really know God for myself. Many of us have become so busy that we miss the great blessing of true communion with our Lord and in doing so we can lose the ability to recognize his voice as He speaks to us.
How do we hear from God? We need to be people who “on purpose” know how to be still, and wait upon him. He speaks through his Word. He speaks as we worship. He speaks to our spirit as we pray and then take time to listen. Some people walk and pray and listen, others, like me, open the Word and worship and play an instrument. Some go to a sacred space they love to meet with God. Whatever and wherever it is, 1 John 2:27 says that the anointing of the Holy One teaches and instructs us—but we have to be listening.
The heart of hearing
The very first time I heard God speak to my heart was during a worship service at my home church when I was 15 years old and a brand new Christian. I had sensed the presence of God many, many times, even as a young child. I have very vivid memories of the assurance of God’s nearness as I stumbled through life looking for answers to my deep heart questions. But hearing him speak to my heart was a surprise and a joy.
God’s Word is always at work, speaking to us, challenging us and defining us. And as leaders of worship and praise, creators of fine arts and literature, or dance and expressed adoration in any form, we simply must be people of the Word, so that his voice is communicated through all we do with clarity, consistency and creativity. As you bring ideas forth and create songs and moments of wonder out of God whispers, ensure that all you do is grounded in his Word, knowing our God never contradicts himself. I have learned to keep a journal, iPad, or at least a phone nearby to record statements, phrases and ideas I feel are God inspired. If we are listening, absolute genius of genius is at the ready just waiting to be breathed in and then shared with care and passion.
Grace Invites listening
My prayer as I have walked out my faith, is that I would “incline my heart” to God’s Word (Ps 119:36), which is life to my body, soul, and spirit. And that I would be a listener and a doer of all he speaks to my heart. In saying that, I have missed it many times, especially the doing part! At times, I have been too timid … and in the end, I knew I missed out on an amazing God story. But I thank God for his grace and that we are all on a journey of discipleship.
Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the one who will keep you on track. (Prov 3:5-12 MSG)
When you really have to trust God, your relationship with him is of the utmost importance, knowing his voice and then following his direction.
The sheep that are My own hear and are listening to My voice; and I know them, and they follow Me. (Jn 10:27 AMP)
Preparing for Worship
Psalm 46:10 encourages us to be still, and know that he is God. Become quiet in his presence, and share with him what is on your heart, and then listen for the words he gently speaks to you.
When I am leading worship, I try to be well rehearsed musically so that my heart and soul are free to listen and follow the Spirit’s leading. Over the years, I find myself to be more “at home” in this space than any other. I assure you that over time, as you start to step out, listen, and pursue, you will find a path of authentic worship that is beautiful, easy for people to follow, and answers our hearts’ cry to please and honor the Lord with all that we are.
With all my heart,
Darlene Zschech also a regular contributor to Worship Leader magazine and will be joining us as a general session speaker at NWLC, KS. Register today!
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Australian Darlene Zschech is acclaimed all over the world as a composer, worship leader, pastor, author and speaker, and became most well known for her involvement in the worship team at Hillsong Church, Sydney, Australia over many years. Although she has achieved numerous gold albums and her songs are sung in many nations of the world, Darlene’s success simply stands as a testimony to her life’s passion for serving God and people with all her heart. Alongside her husband Mark, they are the Senior Pastors of Hope Unlimited Church (HopeUC) on the Central Coast of New South Wales, Australia, which has now grown into India and the USA. As a composer, Darlene is perhaps most famous for the chorus “Shout to the Lord”, a song that is sung by millions of churchgoers every week and has been covered by many other artists. In addition to “Shout to the Lord”, Darlene has written many songs through solo projects: “Kiss of Heaven”, “Change Your World”, “You Are Love”, “In Jesus Name” and “Revealing Jesus”, a live worship album recorded with the Grammy Award winning Israel Houghton. Through the Compassionart project in 2008, Darlene was honoured to have the privilege of writing with some of the most generous-hearted worship writers and leaders of our day.