I first shared these thoughts in 2011. Today, I needed that gentle reminder from the Holy Spirit. He says, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28. How do we come to Him? With a humble and contrite spirit. With praise and worship for everything He Is, and for everything He has done for us. I thought these words might encourage someone today, so I am re-sharing it (slightly altered from the original).
I have often wondered what I am missing in my personal Bible study and prayer time. Why do I seldom feel that sweet Spirit at home that I often feel in church while surrounded by people, as I struggle to resist the overwhelming desire to weep aloud and praise God with my whole being? The answer came to me quite unexpectedly yesterday morning as I researched and meditated over the life of Matthew Henry.
I was reading that Mr. Henry used to invite his friends over after God answered a special prayer. They would then proceed to worship God together as a group, thanking Him for His recent blessings. Now, I’ve heard of prayer meetings where people get together and petition God for something, but never just to thank Him. The verse was quoted:
O magnify the Lord with me; let us exalt his name together. Psalm 34:3
After reading about this, my mind wandered to several places that I’m having trouble tracking, but a few minutes later, I found myself trying to remember several praise and worship songs that I learned as a teenager.
When I look into your loveliness, when I gaze into your righteousness, when all things that surround become shadows in the Light of You.
I worship you, Lord; I worship you, Lord. The reason I live is to worship you.
You are awesome in this place, mighty God. You are awesome in this place, Abba Father. You are worthy of our praise; to you our hearts we raise.
I worship you, Almighty God; there is none like you. I worship you, Almighty God; that is what I long to do. I give you praise, for you are my righteousness.
I couldn’t remember all of the words to the songs, but you should be thankful, because I would probably sit here typing them out and singing them in my head all day long if I could.
As I sang bits and pieces of songs from my youth, I was impacted by the presence of God in my life. By His incredible love for me, His mercy toward me. I reached a point where I could sing no longer, but merely sit and weep, and try to take it all in.
The missing element:
Singing! When I sing, I glorify only – I’m not busy asking for things or being otherwise selfish. I am bearing my soul to testify of His worth. For the purpose of this post, I am changing the meaning of this old expression by slightly altering the spelling of the first word.
Baring. My. Soul.
When I think of baring something, I think of revealing it, making it naked, exposing it for what it truly is. When I come to Him in humility, worshipping Him for His wonderfulness, nothing stands between me and God. He sees me and understands me fully at all times, but when I sing, I am aware of Him looking back at me. And I don’t quite know how to deal with that.
Something about singing reveals our human qualities; the imperfections of the voice mirror the imperfections of the soul. Singing takes away the façade, stripping us down from how we want to be seen to the nakedness of who and what we really are. To the transparency of our utter dependence on Him.
It is difficult to pretend to be something that you’re not when you are singing, unless one has been highly trained to do so. Even then, if the trained singer once breaks focus and contemplates the message he is yielding forth, he is in danger of losing his composition, becoming that shattered and hopeful spirit once again as he struggles to physically cope with the majesty that is God’s love and grace.