“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.” John 4:23
Seeking: “To go in search or quest of.”
The Father is literally searching for worshipers. As followers of Him, when He says He’s “seeking” something in His people, it is important that we do all we can to understand, study, and become what He is seeking.
In today’s culture we often hear the words “praise” and “worship” used together. While they are similar and both of great importance, they are not actually one in the same.
Halâl: “To raise, to boast, to shine, to be foolish.”
The Hebrew word “halâl” comes from the word “hallelujah”, a word that is used 165 times in the Bible and always refers to the idea of praise. The word “praise” means “to express admiration for someone or something.” With music, in song, using instruments, and often in a joyful manner, we see over and over again that the people of God praised.
2 Samuel 6: 20-22 (NIV)
“When David returned home to bless his household, Michal daughter of Saul came out to meet him and said, “How the king of Israel has distinguished himself today, going around half-naked in full view of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!
David said to Michal, “It was before the Lord, who chose me rather than your father or anyone from his house when he appointed me ruler over the Lord’s people Israel—I will celebrate before the Lord. I will become even more undignified than this, and I will be humiliated in my own eyes. But by these slave girls you spoke of, I will be held in honor.”
David praised the Lord in the streets for everyone to see. He was not ashamed. He was not too prideful. He knew the Lord was worthy of his praise. So, despite what culture told him, he danced undignified before the Lord. Time after time, we see David praised God for being good, holy, and worthy. It is these same characteristics of the Father that caused him to bow down. We see so often in the Psalms that praise is necessary for our hearts to be able to enter into a time of worship.
Psalms 100:4 says to “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.”
In order to prepare our hearts for intimate worship, we must first bring our thanks to Him. The act of praise allows us to go deeper into the place of reverence, awe, and humility before the Father.
Worship goes beyond the surface and is to be kept sacred for the Lord. In Hebrew, the word “worship” (לִסְגוֹד) means to adore, bend, to prostrate oneself. While praise is a beautiful thing, when I read that definition of worship, something in me just knows. I have this overwhelming feeling of familiarity. It’s as if my heart remembers it was created for this very thing: to fall flat, to bend in adoration to my maker. Maybe I feel this way because this is indeed, EXACTLY what I was created for.
“Because of your great love I can come into your house. With deep respect I bow down toward your holy temple” Psalm 5:7 (NIRV)
The same David that danced unashamedly in the street bowed in reverence in the house of the Lord. Throughout the Psalms, we see that David’s life was not easy by any means. No matter his circumstance, he glorified. In the valley, he worshipped. In the midst of evil, he praised. In the mourning, he exalted. He knew the Lord to be the great comfort of his soul.
David was confident that even during the hard days, weeks, or years, the Lord would never leave his side. He didn’t only come before God with a smile on his face, but when he was tired, when he was hurt, and when he was angry. He also came before God when he was joyful, when he couldn’t help but dance, and when he couldn’t help but sing a new song. He understood that his God had never been and would never be about perfection… The Lord isn’t waiting for our practiced prayer, He just wants an honest one. He doesn’t want a perfect heart, just YOUR heart.
If we let our willingness to worship the Lord depend on feeling, we will find every excuse not to make it a priority. If we would allow ourselves to truly see the integrity, beauty, and character of God and allow our worship to depend on that, we would never cease to give it to Him. We must never let our worship hinge on the things God can do FOR us, but rather, who He has been TO us.
Because He is good, we worship.
Because He is kind, we worship.
Because He is ever faithful, we worship.
Because He is listening, we worship.
Because He is GOD, we worship.
What sets Christianity apart from every other religion, is that the God we kneel to is not dead. He is beautiful and perfect and very VERY much alive. The beauty of Christianity is that every day for the rest of our lives, we have a non-expiring invite to commune with the God of the universe. To ask Him questions, to lift our hands and cry out to Him, to just simply be with Him. God invites us into this holy place where the creature is able to communicate with its creator. Though we have absolutely nothing to offer Him, He asks us to come.
Let’s think of it this way… the polite thing to do when a friend invites you over for dinner is to ask if there’s anything you can bring (side dishes, drinks, desserts). It only feels right, if we have been invited somewhere, to bring some sort of contribution, gift, etc. In most earthly situations, we contribute either to feel less burdensome or because we simply want to help carry the load. However, in our relationship with the Father, we have nothing to bring. Not ONE good thing. We bring no food for the table, but He has a chair waiting with our name on it.
We come with broken hearts – He mends them.
We come with empty hands – He fills them every time.
Oh, what a gracious God!
I’ve come to realize that the time I feel the most human, the most whole, the most myself is when my face is pressed against the ground, my hands stretched out, my heart fully open to Him. No agenda, just a soul yearning to be in His presence. When I have nothing to say (neither in a grieving or a joyful sort of way), no fancy words, no dazzling phrases, no brilliant song. In this secret place with the Father no facade is possible.
He hears my thoughts before I am even aware of their existence. I know He sees everything inside of me… the dirt, the selfishness, the pride, and yet, He asks for my company.
I am fully known by Him, and still fully pursued. The creator of the universe doesn’t look PASSED me but instead never stops looking AT me. And when He sent His son to hang on the cross, He saw you, and me, and every human being that’s ever walked the face of the earth. We were worth it to Him. Not because anyone of us is worthy – He really just is that good.
THIS is why we worship. Not because God can give us things, but because of who He’s proven himself to be – there is no alternative.
There will never be a day that He isn’t found worthy of our worship… and we should never cease to give it to Him. I pray that we would be a generation that moves the heart of God. A generation of worshipers, the kind the Father seeks!
Hope Freeman is a worship leader from Sugar Land, TX, a music connoisseur, & a lover of Jesus. She is passionate about this generation of Christ followers showing the world a fierce, immeasurable kind of love like they’ve never seen. Hope loves any kind of hot tea, talking enneagram with anyone & everyone, and writing music!