Worshiping God for who He is represents God-centeredness. Self-centeredness can creep into worshiping God for what He does for us. We love to have Him bless us, give us good gifts, protect us, honor us, and heal us. When He does such things, we are inclined to worship Him on deeper levels because He has shown up supernaturally in our lives and has acted on our behalf in a very favorable way. If the vast majority of worship is for what He does, then we are missing out on knowing Him as the majestic God of creation who resides inside of His people, as the God whose thoughts and ways are infinitely above our thoughts and ways.
Public or corporate worship and private or personal worship need to be interconnected in our pursuit of Him. Here are some thoughts on public worship and private worship:
• Private worship is attributing worth to God one-on-one with God. The focus is on Him completely. It does not include asking Him for anything, but simply directing our thoughts on Him while enjoying His presence.
• Public or corporate worship is worship with other individuals. Private or personal worship is worshiping by ourselves.
• Public worship was never meant to be an external event, but rather an internal drawing to a lifestyle of worship of God.
• Satan attempts to cheapen, formalize, and externalize our pursuit of God. In worship, Satan desires that we focus on the worship leader or our co-worshipers or our style of worship.
• We are not invited to love worship but to love God through worship.
• Public or corporate worship is meant to enhance our private worship, and our private worship is meant to enhance our corporate worship. They feed one another.
Lord, I desire to worship You for all that You are and not for what You do for me. Teach me to love You and not the methods of my worship. Show me how to worship you in my every day life, apart from the corporate worship I experience at church. Draw me into a deeper knowledge of all that You are so that I may sing to You all the days of my life!
–Adapted from The Path toward Passion (Nine Disciplines that Connect Your Heart to God’s) by Dean Trune.
Express your praise to God as the compassionate Father (Ps. 103:13). Thank him for desiring only good things for his children, including you (Lk. 11:11-13). Confess those times when you have not wanted what God wanted for you or others. Commit yourself to seeking first God’s desire—his kingdom and his righteousness (Mt. 6:33). Ask God to “fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding” (Col. 1:9).
Pray that your own heart may be set on fire with God’s passion to bring all people into his family.
–Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend