Are we taking it for granted?
It struck me during a time of worship while in Brazil that I think I have started to take the presence of God for granted. I am well used to experiencing the peace that is available to us when we find ourselves somehow caught up in that place, but as I was looking out on the congregation worshipping and praying for one another, I suddenly had a thought. It was a simple thought (because God knows how to talk to me), but it was as clear as crystal, and it has changed my view on what the sung worship portion of our services should look like. Why do we not utilise the power that is available to us when we find ourselves in that place? His presence brings freedom, His presence brings power to heal, power to overcome the darkest places in our lives and pour light into them. I knew that God wanted to take us to a deeper place. I knew that He wanted to heal broken hearts. So I did something that I don’t do enough, I started to sing out an instruction. I kept it simple because of the language barrier, but i simply started singing out that there was healing in that place, and that there was joy to overcome troubled minds.
I wish I could have taken a snapshot of what happened next, because something heavenly was unlocked and the atmosphere truly changed. It was almost like everyone’s faith levels kicked up a few hundred notches, and the sound levels went through the roof. I was blessed to witness several people who suffered from depression be filled with God’s joy, and be freed from their darkness. I witnessed people being healed of sicknesses. I saw people turn from their old lives and take the first steps of accepting Jesus as their saviour. How much more power is there than when God grants us the grace to believe and trust in Him!
As worshippers we shouldn’t go into our sung worship or indeed or lives of worship thinking ‘what can i get out of this?’, because as we know worship is always about God. We focus on His beauty and give him the glory and the praise and the admiration that He deserves. But He is an awesome God who loves to bless us, and so we often find that in our times of worshipping Him and directing our attention and affections towards him, God by his holy spirit truly shows us what is meant by God Emmanuel. He is with us, He moves among us and ministers to us.
The challenge that I believe God was laying on my heart as I looked out across that room, was to go deeper with him in those times. Not to just bath in the shallows of his presence, where his peace is, but to fully submerge and explore the power that he offers us in that place.
As worship leaders we have the responsibility to obviously lead our churches into his presence, but more than that, we need to guide them while we are there too. The Torwalt’s tapped into this in the bridge of their song Holy Spirit. It says ‘Let us become more aware of Your presence, let us experience the glory of Your goodness’. We need to become more aware of what His presence holds within it. Yes He brings peace, and I love Him for it, but I have realised that I can sometimes think that’s all I need, and that it’s all that is on offer!
I love His peace, I truly love it, and if that were all that was on offer it would be enough, but I believe it is just the edge. That it’s almost like the surrounding aura or residue of His presence. When our spirits meet His, and they overlap and mingle we first experience that peace. But the invitation is to come in deeper, to draw up face to face with Jesus and hear His voice speak the words He wants to speak over us.
We know as worshippers and worship leaders that our private times of worship are so valuable, because there we learn to paddle in the shallows of His presence and slowly swim out into deeper waters.
So the challenge that I believe God has offered me and that I’m passing on to whoever might read this is to explore the depths of his presence. And to learn to step out and instruct others that we lead on a sunday or whenever, to go deeper, to seek with boldness, and to press into and use the power that is available to us when God is in the room!