If you want to start a “spirited” discussion amongst Christians, ask them to define/describe Spirit filled worship. For some it is found in the passionate, energetic expressions of worship that bring the faithful to their feet, clapping, singing, even shouting God’s praise. Others find it in the overwhelming sense of God’s presence as one quietly prays in the places of great reverence and stillness that honor God. Some will want to quote the Bible to you. But which passage? Is it one of the many demonstrating exuberance and power before the Lord, like David dancing in the procession of the Ark or the coming of the Spirit to the disciples? Or do we look at the times when the Spirit comes in stillness, as in a whisper in 1 Kings to Elijah or the woman who washed the feet of Christ with her tears? How can we, as worship leaders, know if our encouragement to others to engage the Spirit in worship is effective if the outward evidence of this worship is so diverse?
Here are 10 thoughts and suggestions to focus our hearts on the Spirit in worship so that we can, with confidence, know that our worship is Spirit filled.
10 Ways to Encourage Spirit Filled Worship
Be God honoring
It can be very easy to lose ourselves in the actions of worship and forget the reason for worship. Allow the Spirit to move in your heart so that words sung and prayers prayed are directed at the One who called us to worship and who is worthy to be worshiped.
Be without avarice
Don’t look at the offerings in worship, be it singing, preaching, praying, etc. as needing to fulfill your personal preference “punchcard.” When we set aside what we selfishly desire and accept what God has prepared for us, believing God knows what we need, then our hearts are ready for worship in the Spirit.
Be in relationship
Spirit filled worship is evidenced when we can love God and love others in a community of worship in ways that we could not do on our own.
So many people come to worship and find fault with anything that takes them away from their comfort zone. Yes, God wants to minister to you where you are through your worship. But, the Spirit wants to lead you to where God wants you to be.
In todays culture, the norm has become attending worship only when it fits our schedule. God’s Spirit can especially fill your worship in the times when you sacrifice your schedule to God’s command to be faithful.
We don’t only worship when we are happy. The Psalmist approached the throne angry many times, yet always remembered and worship the One who was worthy of praise. Be honest about your feelings before God and allow the Spirit to shape your words and open your heart and mind to receive God’s words for you.
Last weeks worship experience stirred your passions and your soul like never before and now you want more. This weeks worship is leaving you flat and uninterested. Ask God’s Spirit to awaken your heart and let God stir your soul. Worship is about God first, not you.
Tell God how you think and feel about God and let the Spirit shape how those thoughts and emotions are expressed. This may mean you sing with joy or it may mean you stand/sit in silence before the Lord because no word or action can adequately convey what you need to bring before the throne.
Don’t sing or pray loudly just to hear yourself sing (or just so others can hear you sing). The Bible clearly says we are to humble ourselves before the Lord. Allow the Spirit to give you words to speak and songs to sing so that you can worship God in the power of the Spirit, at whatever volume that may be.
Be contrite and forgiven
No this is not an oxymoron. We come before the throne with a contrite heart so that we may know the forgiveness of the Lord and worship God in that forgiveness. Allow God’s Spirit to open your worship to the power of forgiveness since only the contrite and forgiven can truly appreciate and worship who God is and what God has done.
I am sure you can think of many more. Ask God to let the Spirit lead your worship and your worship will always be “Spirit filled” regardless of how it may look or sound.