How to Fuel Personal Worship in 2022

Photo 90567373 / Worship © Tagtraumer | Dreamstime.com

Nehemiah 10:34 snagged me.

The NIV reads, “We—the priests, the Levites and the people—have cast lots to determine when each of our families is to bring to the house of our God at set times each year a contribution of wood to burn on the altar of the Lord our God, as it is written in the Law.”

What? A wood offering?

In both Old and New Testaments, the fire on the altar in the Tabernacle, or Temple, was to burn continuously (Lev. 6:12-13) to remind the Israelites of their need for continuous worship, atonement, and reconciliation. 

But there was another more important reason. 

God had supplied the fire Himself (Lev 9:24). 

The Israelites were responsible to keep it burning. 

Fast-forward to after the resurrection. The Holy Spirit’s presence marks every believer. The Book of Acts shows Him manifesting at Pentecost as tongues of, you guessed it, fire, one that 1 Thessalonians 5:19 warns us not to quench. 

As I prayed about this, God pointed me to worship. The Israelites offered whole animals to be burnt on the altar. In Romans, Paul tells us we are to be living sacrifices—and what better fuel for a living sacrifice than worship. 

If you’ve never practiced a personal time of worship, I’ll warn you, once you start, you’ll never want to stop. Here are five things to keep in mind.

1. Privacy: Create a secret place. A place where you or your child can close the door and not be interrupted. If that means you need to get out of the house and walk, do it. Help your kids find their own personal space where they can pursue God. 

2. Props: What ushers you into God’s presence? 

3. Posture: What your body does affects your spirit. 

  • Kneel.
  • Dance.
  • Lie face down on the floor.
  • Walk.
  • Stand.
  • Raise your hands.

4. Proclamation: Speak out. Journal. Record His response.

  • Tell of God’s greatness.
  • Speak of God’s goodness.
  • Remember God’s goodness to you personally.
  • Thank Him.

5. Presence: He’s there whether you sense Him or not. 

  • “. . . because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’” Hebrews 13:5
  • “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20
  • “And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth.” John 14:16

He is Emmanuel, God with us. Keep the altar fire burning as you worship Him.

Activities:

1. Fix up your child’s (and your own) secret place: A good place to sit, a good light source, materials, water)

2. What props do you need? Perhaps something different for each day of the week.

3. Experiment with posture. How does each affect you?

4. Take time as a family for personal worship, then report back as a group. How did each family member approach worship and what did they learn?

For more ideas, check out my Pinterest Worship Board.

Worship: Getting Intimate

Worship: Getting Intimate

I’m taking a dance class at my daughter’s studio. I have no dance background. None. Zip. Zero. Nada. We spend half of class time on technique. The other half is spent learning to worship through dance.

And it’s been amazing.

It’s very freeing to just dance. To let go. No one spends time checking out dance moves. The studio transforms into an intimate getaway as we draw close to the Lover of our souls.

No hang-ups.

No inhibitions.

Just intimacy.

And in one such time, I was reminded of Ruth.

If you’re not familiar with the story, it’s a quick read (Ruth). Naomi finds herself in Moab after fleeing famine in Judea. While there her husband and both sons die. Ruth, her Moabite daughter-in-law, accompanies her back to Bethlehem.

Naomi and Ruth face a brutal truth. They need a provider. They need a kinsman-redeemer. The kinsman-redeemer could take several roles. One was to provide an heir for a brother who had died (Deuteronomy 25:5-6). Another was to redeem land an impoverished relative had sold outside the family or even the relative himself if he had been sold into slavery (Leviticus 25:25, 47-49).

Invoking the law of kinsman-redeemer, Naomi sends Ruth to Boaz. Yet, in asking Boaz to provide for them, Ruth is not without obligation. She must offer herself.

Not as a servant girl.

Not as a slave.

As wife.

Have we made such an exchange with God? We come to Him for provision, salvation, redemption—things we gladly and thankfully receive.

But then, do we keep Him at arm’s length?

Friend. Comforter. Guide. Check. Check. Check.

Lover?

Coming together intimately?

Have you been here with God yet?

I give Ruth credit. She really put herself out there when she lay at Boaz’s feet on the dusty threshing floor that night. God blessed her with an incredible husband and an intimacy that bore fruit. These two were King David’s great-grandparents.

So, how about it? You have a Bridegroom. A Kinsman-Redeemer. Are you ready to get intimate?

Your Boaz is waiting.

Questions:

Do you see your relationship with Jesus as a betrothal, a marriage? An intimate relationship?

What do you think about Ruth? Gutsy move or desperate measure?

What characteristics of God does Boaz demonstrate?

Put on some worship music this week and let the Holy Spirit lead.

Tweeetables:

The studio becomes an intimate getaway as we draw close to the Lover of our souls. Click to tweet.

In asking Boaz to provide for her, Ruth is not without obligation. She must offer herself. Click to tweet.

Do we come to God for provision, salvation, redemption—then keep Him at arm’s length? Click to tweet.

Friend. Comforter. Guide. Check. Lover? Click to tweet.

Are you ready to get intimate? Your Boaz is waiting. Click to tweet.

Worship: Let’s Get Personal

Worship: Let's Get Personal

“The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” (Psalm 53:1 NIV)

We know better.

Before there were synagogues or churches, there was worship.

Personal worship.

Altar building. (Genesis 12:8 Abraham)

Memorials. (Genesis 28:18 Jacob)

Sacrifices. (Genesis 8:20 Noah)

Somewhere the concept was lost because the only worship I was taught was corporate.

Choirs. Hymns. Organs.

Corporate worship today is a different animal in my church. Bands and contemporary choruses have replaced the organs and hymns of the churches I once knew.

But personal worship has also re-entered the scene—though for some, it never left.

Corporate worship can be an incredible time as believers come together to lift up the One who is above all things.

But if our worship starts and ends at church—we’re missing out.

Personal worship is just that—personal time between me and God. This is not a time for study, though worship can be sparked by or lead to study. Neither is it time for intercession or meditation, though both may contribute. Worship is giving God His due: Time. Attention. Affection. Honor. Glory.

Worship is intimate.

If you’re concerned about the extra time commitment, don’t be. God will make it up.

If you’re concerned about what others will think if you sing, fall to your knees, or—dance (Gasp!), don’t be. Find a place where you can let go.

If you’re concerned about how worship will change your relationship with God be very, very concerned—because it will.

You won’t be able NOT to worship.

If you skip your personal worship time, you’ll miss it. Really miss it. So much so that you’ll have to stop and make time. Right then.

You’ll notice the little things don’t bother you because God has gotten bigger.

God will be your first resort instead of your last one.

Commit already. Go ahead. Get your phone and make a worship appointment with God. Have your Bible (the Psalms are a goldmine) and a journal handy. Bring along a worship playlist. Scope out your spot and get ready.

Tomorrow, your worship changes forever.

Questions:

Do you have a personal worship time?

If so, do you have any tips? (Please share!)

What’s been your experience?

Is anything holding you back?

Tweetables:

“The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” (Ps. 53:1) We know better. Click to tweet.

Worship is giving God His due: Time. Attention. Affection. Honor. Glory. Click to tweet.

If our worship starts and ends at church—we’re missing out. Click to tweet.

If you’re concerned worship will change you, be very concerned—because it will. Click to tweet.

Worship and Spiritual Adultery

Worship and Spiritual Adultery

Group dates. Purity rings. We parents make a concerted effort to teach our kids to do it God’s way when it comes to intimacy. God elevates the status of physical intimacy by protecting its sanctity with the guardrails of chastity and marriage.

Because intimacy is dirty?

No, because it is precious.

In the little Old Testament book of Hosea, God reveals an unexpected link between worship and intimacy. Physical intimacy is preserved to consummate and bless the lifelong commitment of marriage. Yet God uses word pictures of intimacy to describe Israel’s idol worship.

Words like—unfaithfulness. Adultery. Prostitution.

Sounds pretty strong, doesn’t it?

When His people demonstrated spiritual unfaithfulness, God painted a picture of the worst kind of betrayal. Check out Hosea 2:13, “ ‘…she decked herself with rings and jewelry, and went after her lovers, but me she forgot,’ declares the LORD.”

Could we be guilty of the same thing?

Do we make worship the priority God does?

It’s easy to read a devotional book.

It’s easy to sit and listen to a sermon.

It’s easy to do something in God’s name.

And none of these are wrong—just incomplete.

If I texted, ran errands with, and attended our children’s events with my husband, but neglected our intimacy—I would have one unhappy guy.

How much more precious is worship to God?

So, are we giving God the cold shoulder?

Have our spiritual headaches multiplied?

Worse, are we giving that time and energy to other things instead of giving it to Him?

If your relationship with God seems a little cool, warm things up with some worship.

  • Set some time aside in a quiet place where you won’t be disturbed. (I’m not talking an hour. Five or ten minutes is great. Whatever works with your current situation.)
  • Choose one quality of God or one concept in a worship song. Think on it. Talk to Him about it. Give thanks for it.
  • Use your imagination. Picture your favorite go-to place and get there with Jesus.
  • Keep a notepad handy. When distracting thoughts invade, jot them down then get back to God.
  • Just be still. Rest in His love.
  • Be consistent. The more you’re intimate, the sweeter it gets.

Understand—God wants closeness with you. For Him, that begins with worship.

Questions:

What drives closeness in our relationships with others?

What drives closeness in our relationship with God?

Would you rather your spouse or your children read about you or spend time with you?

Tweetables:

In the book of Hosea, God reveals a link between worship and intimacy. Click to tweet.

With spiritual unfaithfulness, God paints a picture of the worst kind of betrayal. Click to tweet.

Are we giving God the cold shoulder? Click to tweet.

Have our spiritual headaches multiplied? Click to tweet.