Early in my Christian life, I learned a very important key to the heart of my Heavenly Father: whenever I come to Him, I worship Him first. I’m talking about worship without asking, worship without moaning, worship without making another request—just simply and honestly loving Him. When it came to Mary and Martha, Jesus wanted worship first. And you know what? Most often, my prayers and requests change before I utter them. Once you stand in the presence of the King and allow Him access to your heart, He directs your steps, your longings and your desires. Proverbs 16:9 says, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”
When it comes to your day, the mundane actions of existence are necessary, but to live with the oil of His presence covering your life, you’ve got to worship first. I’m not talking about singing; I’m not talking about making sure you’ve got a band in your lounge room every morning. I’m talking about the posture of your soul, the longing of your heart and the song of your life. What is the song of your life? Is it a song that causes others to sing along? Would it be a song that causes others to cover their ears? Would it be in a minor key? Would it cause people to rejoice?
Position of Worship
You can have the greatest band or the world’s greatest choir, but if the heart is not engaged in loving and connecting with your Savior—all you have is a great band or great singers—it’s just reduced to music. There are countless things already brewing within all of us to go out and do, but when the posture of your soul is seeking fulfillment of self, you will find yourself quickly getting tired and frustrated, and your walk with the Lord will suffer. You’ve got to learn to live your life from a position of worship.
- Bring perspective
- Cause your heart to be soft and open
- Give you a chance to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit
- Allow you to be still and know that He is God
- Let you be inspired in His Presence
- Build a relationship with your Heavenly Father that is literally out of this world!
The wonder of worship is that…
- It includes, it doesn’t exclude
- It draws, it does not repel
- It dignifies, it does not judge
- It quickens the spirit
The “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:23) lovers of Jesus are just ordinary people, saved by grace, with hearts longing to express the gift they have found in Jesus. History is full of ordinary people who were trusted with greatness, not only because of the gifts they had been graced with but because their adoration of the Lord opened up a life of blessing. The Word promises that this can be a reality for all of us.
Mary, Jesus’ mother, was truly set apart to be chosen for the most unfathomable mission of all because of her humility, devotion to serve and her adoration of God. In Luke 1:38, after the angel tells her of the things to come, she simply says, “I am the Lord’s servant, may it be to me as you have said.” We get a further glimpse into her life of devotion in Luke 1:46-47. After being overshadowed by the power of the Most High, she declares, “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.” Thus, we learn an important truth—before Mary began in the work of the Lord, she worshiped.
In the late 17th Century there was a great woman, Suzanna Wesley, known for her adoration of Jesus. Her husband was away a lot making a living, so she had to care for their family. Suzanna had 19 children in 19 years with 9 dying before the age of two, and she experienced their home being destroyed by fire, twice. However, this woman made a decision to keep the worship of God at the forefront in her home and filled it with the Word and song while also teaching her children to memorize Scripture.
Two of her surviving children ended up being heroes of the Christian faith. John Wesley founded Methodism, and Charles Wesley wrote over 1,900 hymns, many of which are still sung today. So here we have an example of a mother with too much heartache to bear in one lifetime, yet she had a revelation and an understanding that no matter what, worship first. As a result of her worship and God’s faithfulness, she left a legacy of eternal significance.
I truly believe that worship in the face of adversity releases the sweetest of all fragrances before our Lord. That is why Isaiah tells those of us who are in times of barrenness and drought to go ahead and “sing” and “lift up your voice.” It’s called worship with a price, a living sacrifice—your own Romans 12 spiritual act of worship. The call of Christ is to a radical life of love and service.
All of Me
Salvation Army founder, William Booth, knew about worship with a price. He once said, “I will tell you the secret: God has had all there was of me. There have been men with greater brains, greater opportunities, but from the day I got the poor of London on my heart and caught a vision of all Jesus Christ could do in them, I made up my mind that God would have all of William Booth that there was. And if there is any power in the Salvation Army today, it is because God has had all the adoration of my heart, all the power of my will and all the influence of my life.” He was a radical worshiper, and he knew how to worship first.
So, here are a few thoughts on developing this precious heart of yours…
Learn to praise daily.
Wake every day and say, “I praise You, Lord, and I thank You for this day. Whatever it holds, I commit it to You.” Worship first.
Learn to work with your heart of flesh.Ezekiel 11:19
Most of us are trying to change our hearts of flesh back to hearts of stone. With hearts of flesh we will hurt when we see people hurting, and we will express compassion for others. Yes, it is uncomfortable at times, but the Father needs our hearts of flesh to be beating with His heart—fueled in worship and prayer, strengthened in the Word and ready for whatever is in front of us.
Learn to linger in worship.
My heart has not only been healed in His presence but also challenged and taught. I’ve learned to recognize the sweet familiar voice of the Holy Spirit, I’ve learned how to say, “Yes,” and obey. In fact, let me say that you never know what God will do through just one single act of obedience.
Choose to be a worshiper.
Worship when it’s hard and when it’s easy, wholeheartedly, sacrificially, deliberately, with devotion and passion, with conviction, with reverence, in quietness and trust, with shouting and dancing. For the ones who stand are the ones who are familiar with the secret place and have given their lives away as a living sacrifice. This, friend, is life lived from a position of worship.
What's Your Reaction?
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.