I walked into the dimly lit sanctuary and found a seat near the middle of the congregation. It was the night everyone looked forward to all week. I knew the layout of the night well. We would spend hours singing worship songs as the retreat came to an end. This was my 9th year participating in this annual fall ritual with my church’s youth group.
However, this time around would be different for me. I entered the sanctuary with a heavy heart. This night was not going to be what I wanted it to be. I had always loved to sing. It had always been my easiest and most joy-filled connection point with God. But on this night, I had no voice. A cold had crept in and that mixed with the cheering screams of retreat activities had taken my voice. I was not pleased.
I had always loved to sing. It had always been my easiest and most joy-filled connection point with God. But on this night, I had no voice.
The band came on stage and invited the students and leaders to enter into a heart of worship. We were encouraged to join in when we were ready. We could sit, stand, kneel, raise our hands… whatever we needed to do to honestly focus on and approach God. In my frustration over my limitations, I stood to listen as the band started playing. I couldn’t sing along, but I could at least sing in my head.
I’d known God for as long as I could remember and had heard countless sermons about how worship was not about a band or the best songs. Worship was about encountering God. Worship was meeting with Him. God regularly uses music but it’s not about the music, and yet, for me, music was my way to worship. And in that dark room full of singing voices, God had a lesson for me. He was going to show me what true worship was. God was going to break me out of my comfortable shell. As I stood there listening to the voices of 300+ students, a different song started playing in my head.
When the music fades
all is stripped away
and I simply come
longing just to bring
something that’s of worth
that will bless your heart
I bring you more than a song
for a song in itself
is not what you have required
you’ve search much deeper within
to the way things appear
you’re looking into my heart
and I’m coming back to a heart of worship
‘cause it’s all about you
It’s all about you Jesus
I’m sorry Lord for the thing I’ve made it
and it’s all about you, it’s all about you Jesus.
How beautiful those words are to me, even to this day! My desire to meet with God was real and strong that night, but what I knew in my head had never quite reached my heart. God had to take away my voice to give me something far greater. A heart of worship, not just a heart of singing. While God is blessed by us lifting our voices in singing praises to Him, it is not the only way he wants us to come to Him. Music is one conduit to glorify Him and enjoy His presence. Other conduits are prayer, words of thanksgiving, obedience, reading your Bible and serving others. These conduits are appointed by God for our worship of Him, and they all hold equal value to Him.
God had to take away my voice to give me something far greater.
As I stood in that sanctuary singing a different song in my heart, God brought me to my knees and turned my heart to prayers of thanksgiving. After a while, I opened my Bible and started reading psalms and letting Him pour back into me. At some point in the night one of the other leaders had knelt beside me for her own private worship time. As the night drew to a close she turned to me and with tears in her eyes said “This is what heaven is going to be like. There are saints all over this room.” I couldn’t have agreed more. Each person in that room, meeting with Jesus in their own God-appointed, Biblically rooted way. All of us, coming back to a heart of worship.
by: Nikki Watermolen
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