Engage in Worship Again

Engage in Worship Again

Engaging in times of extended worship stirs our faith, re-orients our thinking, refreshes our spirit, and reinforces our emotional resilience.
With you, I’m watching the fallout of a wild pandemic year+, where many of us who have previously experienced the presence of the Holy Spirit as we offered abandoned worship in a personal or corporate setting have, let’s say, fallen out of practice.
I’m talking about worship—the kind of worship moments where the music is powerful and beautiful, yes, but also where the worship leader and those creating the space for worship know how to let it open up, let it linger, let it ebb and flow, so the Spirit can work in the hearts of us all as we enter in and offer ourselves to Jesus in intimate communion.
Yes, our local church can be one of those places. I’ve also found joy in being with worshipers in our town for a worship night with many joining in, led by experienced worship leaders. There might be another gathering or space that we draw on. But it’s vital we find those places at this time.
Fill your home, your car with the music of worship. Let yourself go. Sing loud on a drive in the country. Sing all over the house all day with the music up a little louder than usual.
Find your way back to that place of responding to Jesus with love and blessing and acclaim and adoring worship—with favorite songs that move you. We all know how to make a Spotify list; it’s time to leverage that skill for our souls and not just our musical appreciation.
We may not be feeling a desperate need to actively pursue times of extended meeting with God where He is the only audience and we pour ourselves out—in heart, in mind, in song—before Him for a period of time.
I’d offer that sometimes it takes a drink of water for us to experience just how parched we’ve been.
At times I fell out of this practice in the last 18 months, lost my way in the midst of a year of health challenges, pandemic disruption, the hard work, the lingering issues, the noise of life as we know it. My wife kept it going. Our house is always filled with worship music playing. I’m grateful. When I was at my worst, bed-ridden, dark, and low—I’d hear a song in the other room, and I’d begin to sing it in my mind.
Then, I’d wake up in the morning only to find I’d been singing it all night. I’m so grateful for the gift of music. So grateful.
About the seasons I stepped away, I asked myself the following:

How is stepping away from lingering in worship going for your mental state, your emotional resilience, our ability to love and speak with discernment, wisdom, and compassion in the midst of turbulent times, Dan?

How’s that going for living a John 7, Jesus-styled life, where you’re in no rush to gain the affirmation of others, have people affirm and like your opinions, and where, like Jesus, you simply refuse to voice anything that the Father has not spoken to you in your cultivated, intimate, secret life with Him—out of the public eye?

When I found worship in this way, again, personally and with others, something shifted.
Psalm 73:16-17a says,
“When I tried to understand all this, it troubled me deeply till I entered the sanctuary of God; then I understood….”
Some health came back into my bones, and brain, and bloodstream. Some of my wild, unruly emotions stepped back into the quiet of my spirit so I could walk as a listener once again.
I started to feel like I was responding to Jesus again, rather than reacting to every noise, voice, or issue that got my attention.
It was like the lights went back on. Like some shadows in my heart disappeared. Like some areas of deep ache were touched, and healing balm assuaged them.
Meeting with God in worship, experiencing His presence in that way, was righting, clarifying, detoxifying the thinking in my mind.
Emotional resilience followed. Anxiety began to lessen. My spirit took a deep breath of being loved.
While I’ve learned many ways to help my brain and body manage the troubles within, experiencing God in worship, worship that is led sensitively and with an awareness of the Spirit’s moving in the room, is in the lead for me.
Those who do return to meeting with God again in worship, choosing to fill homes and cars and lives with worship music that lifts them in orientation to Jesus for a good, sustained long while, even if it’s just running in the background, have told me they feel like someone who’s just received a cool drink of water when they didn’t realize how thirsty they had become.
I am thirsty. Thank you for Your quenching, refreshing, healing Spirit, Lord.
Friends, find spaces and places where you can spend yourself in worship for a few hours this week. Start again. Then see where it goes.
Set aside some other music and media loves (welcome Netflix and social media to bow before Christ for a few hours each week), as you fill your space and heart and mind and spirit with passionate worship music again.
Sing loud when you can; stop and let the words and joy wash over you when you can’t. Take the long drive. Anticipate everyone leaving the house. Don’t lose this; it’s life and help and strength because the Spirit meets us in it.
And if you’re a worship leader, as you can, create those accessible spaces for us. In person and online. Use songs of joy and intimate surrender. Songs that open us to Jesus, that lead us to surrender and release and tears.
Now is the time. There is something profound that can only happen in that place, on that encountering ground, of worship.
If you’re one of those who has forgotten, lost your way a bit in all the fray, or who has lost the desire to work a little to keep worship music flooding your soul, it’s not too late. Find that Spotify list. Fill that car. Fill that home. It matters, and I believe Jesus will do great things through it, in you, over time.


Sheltering Mercy: Prayers Inspired by the Psalms

Sheltering Mercy, along with its companion volume, Endless Grace, helps us rediscover the rich treasures of the Psalms—through free-verse prayer renderings of their poems and hymns—as a guide to personal devotion and meditation.

The church has always used the Psalms as part of its prayer life, and they have inspired countless other prayers. This book contains 75 prayers drawn from Psalms 1-75, providing lyrical sketches of what authors Ryan Smith and Dan Wilt have seen, heard, and felt while sojourning in the Psalms. Each prayer is a response to the Psalms written in harmony with Scripture. These prayers help us quiet our hearts before God and welcome us into a safe place amid the storms of life.

This artful, poetic, and classic devotional book features compelling custom illustrations and foil-stamped hardcover binding, offering a fresh way to reflect on and pray the Psalms.