Day 34: Extending and Expanding Worship

Center Down

Before we begin today’s spiritual excursion, please take a few moments to breathe!  Take three slow, deep breaths, expanding from your abdomen; try not to raise your shoulders. As you inhale, whisper, “We raise our voice with the heavens… As you exhale whisper, “…to give You glory!”

Slowly read aloud the following Scripture

(Feel free to pause at any time during your reading to reflect on, thank, praise, or acknowledge God’s stirring in your thoughts and emotions.)

The heavens declare the glory of God,     and the sky above proclaims His handiwork. Day to day pours out speech,     and night to night reveals knowledge. There is no speech, nor are there words,     whose voice is not heard.

Their voice goes out through all the earth,     and their words to the end of the world. In them He has set a tent for the sun,     which comes out like a bridegroom leaving his chamber,     and, like a strong man, runs its course with joy. Its rising is from the end of the heavens,     and its circuit to the end of them,     and there is nothing hidden from its heat.Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer. (Psalm 19)

For further exploration:

Video: http://bit.do/Psalm19Marcello      http://bit.do/HeavensRTellingHaydn

Kingdom Prayer

Almighty Father, we thank You for the exuberant praise and worship during our weekend Worship Celebrations.  Thank You for Your Son, Jesus Christ, who makes our worship experience possible.  Holy Spirit, we thank You for Your manifested presence saturating the sanctuary and our congregation as we gather to exalt the Name of the King of kings and Lord of lords.  You are great and perform wondrous deeds.  You alone are God.  We praise You for Your lovingkindness and for Your truth and faithfulness.  Father, through all generations You have been our home!  Before the mountains were born, before You gave birth to the earth and the world, from beginning to end, You are God.

Royal Father, as Kingdom citizens, we shout with joy to You.  We worship You with gladness and come before Your presence with joyful singing. You are the Lord, our God! You made us, and we are Yours. We are Your people, the sheep of Your pasture.  We enter with thanksgiving and come into Your courts with praise.  We give thanks to You and praise Your Name.  Lord, You are good; Your unfailing love continues forever and Your faithfulness to each generation. We enter into Your sanctuary with our thanksgiving and praise.  We declare that our worship and praise will produce spectacular sounds like the Levites who praised You in Your holy temple.  As You inhabit our praises, we declare that salvation, healing, restoration and deliverance will come forth.  By faith, we declare that every member of the Body of Christ will worship You in Spirit and Truth.  By doing this, we will become the true worshipers You are seeking.

Holy Spirit, since our worship is a direct reflection of our relationship with the Father, help each of us to examine that relationship and make whatever adjustments needed so that our praise may be pleasing to our King.  Let Your glory fill us and our churches.  Help us to live lifestyles of praise and not wait until we get to church to begin to exalt our King.  Sanctify and purify our hearts so that our worship is a sweet aroma to God, our Father, as we sing melodious songs of praise to Him.

Merciful Father, forgive us for allowing our emotions and circumstances to dictate the level of praise that we offer to You. Forgive those who intentionally arrive late to service in an attempt to miss praise and worship.  Forgive those who do not actively participate in praise and worship.  Forgive those who are not living lives that reflect their love for You.  Lord, forgive me for (list any sins that you have committed).

 

Holy Spirit, remind us all of those we need to forgive and help us to be quick to forgive. As for me, Holy Spirit, bring to my remembrance those I need to forgive. (Take a moment and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal names or faces of people that You may need to forgive. As He reveals them, say, “I forgive name of person(s).” Now, trust the Lord to heal any wounds in Your soul caused by unforgiveness.)

Holy Spirit, help us not to yield to temptation but deliver us from the evil one.

Sovereign Lord, God Almighty, You are glorious! You are the Rock; Your deeds are perfect.  Everything You do is just and fair. You are the faithful God who does no wrong.  Now to You, the King, eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory forever and ever.  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Scripture References for the Written Text:  Psalm 86:10, Psalm 90:1-2, Psalm 100:1-5,  II Chronicles 5:12-14, Psalm 22:3, John 4:23, Matthew 6:13, Deuteronomy 32:4, I Timothy 1:17 NKJV

Concepts to Consider

Worship as a lifestyle sounds good, but how do we pragmatically take what we experience during worship into the grind of our day?  Like the stars, we were created to “show forth the glory of God” and to extend and expand the worship of God into the cosmos around us. (Think of a small pebble sending out ripples in a still pond. These ripples can have long-range effects that the pebble is not always directly aware of.)   But some days, let’s be honest, we don’t feel nor act very “glorious.”  When we are triggered and pressed by life, it’s in these moments that we have a choice to “present ourselves as living sacrifices,” i.e., take steps to begin to speak the truth of God’s Word over our lives.  Stop, think, and praise.

What if we began to set calendar alerts to get up and take a short walk and pray as we go, or remind ourselves to take a drink of water and thank God for his provision as we sip.  Sometimes we may need to reach out to a Godly friend for encouragement, or just find a few moments to breathe and meditate on God’s Presence and His Word.

As we make incremental efforts to build new worship habits (with the help of the Holy Spirit) little by little we begin to realize we are not who we used to be. Our brain has been transformed to respond with grace rather than to react in fear, suspicion, or hurt.

(Note of caution: Let us learn to be patient and gentle with ourselves in this process of worship-infused transformation. “There is now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus.” [Romans 8:1])

As we grow, we also awaken to the reality that our “life as worship” posture has begun to leave room for God to have life-giving effects on situations and people around us (ripples in the pond). This is worship as evangelism. When we lift up Christ, He will draw people to Himself (John 12:32), slowly, organically through the grace He is able to exude through our lives as we give worth to the One Who gives us life.

Reflection Questions
  1. Personal Reflection. How will you make room for new habits of worship and grace to take root in your life?
  2. Kingdom Reflection. If worship can be evangelism, then how can I “lift up my head” and position myself to be a more effective conduit of God’s saving grace to those around me?

Optional Time of Centering/Soaking

If possible, take some time, perhaps 5 to 15 minutes, to get into a comfortable position and simply allow the Lord to minister to you at a deep level (Psalm 42:7).  Turn off or put down all distractions.  Close your eyes. Hold in your thoughts a meaningful word,  phrase,  or image from the Scripture you read today.  Release all other thoughts and concerns into the Presence of the Lord.  If your thoughts wander, that’s okay, just gently return to your Biblical word, phrase, or image.  You may want to set a timer.

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