Most of us have heard and sung Matt Redman’s song “The Heart of Worship.” It’s a song that beckons believers to true worship—worship from the heart. What is not well-known, however, is the story behind the song. At the time of its composition, Matt’s home church, Soul Survivor, was “struggling to find meaning in its musical outpouring.” His pastor decided to remove the band and sound system, desiring the church to rediscover worship. After some weeks of awkwardness, the congregation began singing a cappella and erupting in genuine prayer. As Matt describes, “[We] gained a new perspective that worship is all about Jesus, and he commands a response in the depths of our souls no matter what the circumstance and setting. ‘The Heart of Worship’ simply describes what occurred.”
responding to god
So what is worship? It is our human response to “the Father who is the originating Lover, the Son who is the full self-expression of that Love, and the Spirit who is the original and inexhaustible activity of that Love.” It is a posture of praise toward God for all He is and all He has done. We worship Him when we strive to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength (Mark 12:30).
Worship is the foundation of the relationship between God and His people. After leading Israel to the promised land, God gave them ten commandments upon which to ground their lives. They were to worship Him alone, recognizing “no gods before me” and refusing to “make . . . an image in the form of anything” (Exodus 20:3–4). This is a call to exclusivity. God’s people are to worship Him only, to devote themselves to Him alone, to worship Him with all they have. He is to exclusively be their God and receive their worship.
designed to worship
We have been designed to worship. The universe has been designed to worship. In fact, if and when humans do not worship and praise God, the creation will “cry out” on our behalf (Luke 19:37–40)! When we worship, we experience God Himself. One astonishing passage describing the glory of worship is Isaiah’s experience in the throne room of God. He describes the scene like this:
“I saw the Lord sitting on a high and exalted throne, the edges of his robe filling the temple. Winged creatures were stationed around him. Each had six wings: with two they veiled their faces, with two their feet, and with two they flew about. They shouted to each other, saying: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of heavenly forces! All the earth is filled with God’s glory!’ The doorframe shook at the sound of their shouting, and the house was filled with smoke. I said, ‘Mourn for me; I’m ruined! I’m a man with unclean lips, and I live among a people with unclean lips. Yet I’ve seen the king, the Lord of heavenly forces!’ Then one of the winged creatures flew to me, holding a glowing coal that he had taken from the altar with tongs. He touched my mouth and said, ‘See, this has touched your lips. Your guilt has departed, and your sin is removed.'” (Isaiah 6:1–7)
Isaiah experienced God in all His majesty and holiness and forgiveness and grace. He entered the place all believers will enter one day—a place where constant praise is given to our righteous King!
ways to worship
Struggling to worship? Open up the Bible and remind yourself of God’s faithfulness to His people. Get a copy of the classic A. W. Tozer book The Attributes of God and read through a chapter or two on the magnificence of our God. Write a list of how you’ve seen Him work in your life. Go out and look at nature and worship Him for His creation. Enter His presence through prayer and song. Remember that you’ve been designed for this—designed to worship!
How have you thought of worship in the past? Why do you think worship is considered a spiritual discipline?
Sign Up for Enjoying Jesus Emails
get the daily devotionals delivered to your email every morning