"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.” -- John 4:23-24
"...the kind of worshipers the Father seeks" As usual, when I study or think about a certain verse in the Bible, it leads to more questions. We often talk about how we "find" the Lord, but who is HE looking for? How does one become that kind of worshiper? What is God wanting to hear in my worship?
I have been thinking a lot about worship lately. I have been working with the kids at my church during KidsPraise to help them learn why we sing worship songs and helping them feel free to sing and dance and clap their praises to God during those songs. It is a struggle as many of the kids say they don't like to sing. Some of them don't follow along because they don't want to look silly. Some of my kids are very young and can't read the words to the songs on the screen. Some of the kids are 4th and 5th graders and it is just not "cool."
Maybe I am just going at it from the wrong angle. Jesus is saying in the verse above that we are true worshipers when we worship the Father in spirit and in truth. There are have been many interpretations as to what this phrase means exactly. But for me today, it hit me that you cannot force or coerce someone into worship. It must be coming from inside and be honest and sincere. God is not looking for a "follow the leader" kind of worship, but praise that comes from the heart.
And who says that true worship has to come from songs? Jesus said that God is spirit, meaning that He is everywhere and all the time. We don't have to wait for the praise music and we don't even have to be in church to praise God in worship! The child that learns to thank God for his food before eating is praising God in worship. The little girl who thanks God for her Mommy and Daddy at bedtime is praising God in worship. The little boy who gets excited at the thunder and lightning in a storm and exclaims that God is powerful is praising God in worship!
Knowing that God is SEEKING those who are true worshipers makes me WANT to praise him more and makes me respect those who worship Him in different ways. A friend recently reminded me that he was one of those quiet worshipers who didn't raise his hands and shout and clap and sing loudly. He felt that perhaps I was thinking that those who didn't do those things weren't truly worshiping. You know, he might have been right. Because music moves me and creates an opening in my heart for the Holy Spirit, I just assumed that God works the same in others. That assumption was wrong. God is looking for people who praise Him and honor Him in worship that is real and true and comes from their heart. Only God knows what is true for each person.
Today, I praise and thank God for teaching me and expanding my heart. I want to be the kind of worshiper that He seeks every day. I know that God is real and very much alive everywhere around me! I praise Him in this moment with all that is in my heart.