Every Friday, I go to iTunes to listen to the latest worship song. I get oddly excited about hearing what’s coming out of the hearts of today’s worship leaders and discovering what will hopefully be my new favorite anthem! As worship music gains popularity and more and more worship artists and church worship bands are regularly releasing new tracks, I think it can be easy to confuse what worship really means.
Through 20-years leading worship in the local church, as well as in larger, conference and event settings, the Holy Spirit has shaped my understanding of what it really means to worship. Worship is more than a song or an event…it’s more than Sunday mornings. Worship is about the intention behind your words, and the posture of your heart.
Worship is connection.
More important than anything is the moment during worship where it’s just you and Jesus. The distinction between knowing about Jesus and actually knowing him intimately is the difference-make in our lives. We were created to be in relationship with the Father. We were made to be connected to him, and one way to do this is through worship. This can be done anytime, anywhere. We invite this beautiful connection when we set aside whatever else we are doing—whether in the shower, the car, doing laundry or dishes—and take time to sing to God. Staying connected to him is how we grow and how we can thrive every single day. We are the branches and He is the vine (John 15:5), and everything we do flows smoother when we are connected to the Giver of life. When we make the choice to worship, we tap into His power source, and He connects us to peace when we’re worried, joy when we’re brokenhearted, and strength when we are weak.
Worship is a lifestyle of obedience.
It’s safe to say that without the grace of God, we would all be unqualified. Coming into the presence of God has a way of cleansing my heart and mind any time I feel I’m off-track spiritually. It’s like hitting a reset button. The clutter starts to disappear and my perspective shifts. I am reminded of the phrase, “we become like whom we behold,” as I have experienced that the longer I sit at the feet of Jesus, the more He shapes me into who He created me to be. In spite of being made in his image, sometimes we forget what we are supposed to look like. But when we look at him, we are reminded again and again of who we are. As our Good Shepherd, when we wander, He is always wooing us back to himself with his kindness.
Worship is warfare.
When we worship, we are making a declaration in the heavenlies. We are sending out a reminder that we belong to God and that He is fighting our battles for us. The enemy hates the sound of our praise, and at the name of Jesus every knee has to bow (James 2:19). So, when we sing out His name, the demons literally have to flee. When we choose to worship God in the midst of our greatest battles, we do immeasurable damage to the kingdom of darkness. When we worship, God goes to battle on our behalf! We can praise our way out of brokenness, we can worship our way through the storms.
Corporate worship is beautiful. I love when people gather together to sing songs to God and to declare truth about who He is and what He says about us. Anytime we come to Him with our hearts engaged and our lives surrendered, He is pleased. The Bible says He dwells in our praise (Psalm 22:3), that He literally lives in our worship. God is moved by our genuine, faith-filled praise. The creator of Heaven and earth wants to sit and commune with us! He comes closer and closer every time we lean into Him. This is our right and privilege as sons and daughters of the King. What a powerful truth!
Michelle Schorp is a worship leader at The Exchange in Nashville, TN, and a member of The Arise Gathering, a women’s event meeting in cities around the country for prayer, worship and prophetic ministry. Her song “Fight for Me” is currently available on iTunes. Michelle lives in Nashville with her husband and three children.
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