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The Real Question About Worship Music
There is nothing like the great debate over what style of music churches should be using for worship music. Personally, I’ve been part of churches that are traditional (hymns), contemporary (worship band), and liturgical (mixture of scripture reading, prayers, and music). During my infancy as a Christian I first learned to worship with contemporary worship music thanks to my involvement with InterVarsity during my college years. During my formative years, I was part of a church that thought contemporary worship was entertainment and not worship. During those 7 years, I had to learn to worship holding onto a book. The church that I’m a member of now has two services, one is a traditional worship and the other is contemporary worship. I attended the latter service, because of my preference. I grew up Catholic and so I’m very familiar with liturgical style.
I don’t think our question should be what type of music to use for worship, but rather, why do we worship? And, how does worship help us with prayer? Let’s examine those questions, especially the worship question because answering this question will help us with the question of what type of music.
Build Your Kingdom Here, my main prayer
I worship God to remind me how big he is and what he is capable of doing. Also, I worship because it is commanded by Him. I have heard many times from many pastors that you become what you worship. And isn’t becoming more like Christ the goal for Christians?
So, what about worship and prayer? Is there a connection to both of them? Well, first let’s look at a story from 2 Chronicles, chapter 20, verses 1-30. Jehoshaphat is a great leader. When Moab came to destroy Judah, he prays. He calls the nation to prayer because he doesn’t know how he is going to protect the nation. You see, Jehoshaphat doesn’t depend on military strength, he depends on God. During the prayer meeting, Judah gets a message from God to go out and fight, but - they are not going to have to fight. The response was worship at the moment and, also during the journey to the battlefield the next day. Jehoshaphat appoints people to sing while they are marching. When they get to the Moabites they found them all dead. What an answer to prayer! God had fought the battle for them!
Am I saying that Jehoshaphat was successful only because he worshiped God? No. Worship is our response to God. God had told Jehoshaphat what he was going to do and the response was to worship him. Jehoshaphat worships both when he hears the news and when he is going out to the battlefield.
What style of worship helps you to engage God
What about us today, what is God doing that we are responding to? The first thing I’m going to point out is our salvation. If we are saved, then that should compel us to worship him. God is still speaking - another reason to respond in worship. I’m sure that you can think of many ways that God has provided for you. These are great things to respond to God with worship.
Here are some other ways that I believe that worship is connected to prayer:
It reminds us of who it is that answers our prayers: The more we understand God, the more that we realize how great he is and how powerful. We know that he can provide for our needs. That he is all we need in life.
We don’t worship to twist God’s arm: If this was the case, I would be worshiping a lot so the Red Sox will win more. We can’t make God do anything. He’s is not the great cosmic vending machine. He answers according to His will. We pray to a God that knows what we need better than we do. When we pray, we have to realize that his answer is the best thing for us.
Worship helps get you in the right frame of mind to pray: When I take the time to worship before praying, I’m getting ready. It helps me to realize what I’m about and that I even change how I pray. I allow the worship to shape how I ask and what I’m asking for. I find that I’m asking for things that God wants me to ask for.
How does worship help you to pray?
As I wrap up this hub, I’m starting to think about different ways that you can worship and tie that into prayer. Sounds like a great subject for a later hub. Stay tuned, pray, and don’t forget to worship.