Your Will Done Your Way - Simplicity (Devotion)
But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. When you pray, don’t babble on and on as people of other religions do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him! Pray like this: Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. may your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation but rescue us from the evil one.
(Matthew 6: 6-13 (NLT))
I was reading this passage this week and it got me thinking about a couple of things. The first was the private aspect of prayer that Jesus was alluding to in this passage, and the second was the simplicity of the prayer He asks from us. Our prayers should be heartfelt, succinct, and simple - and to me, this reflects a big aspect of how our worship lives should also be.
There’s a quote from Bill Johnson which reads “If worship leaders only worship when they lead, they are not worshippers. They are mere musicians.” In this regard, we should see our private worship times as, in my opinion, not just equal to our public times of worship, but even more important. If this aspect of our relationship with God only runs skin deep, it will only ever be that. Yet if we spend time with the Lord in private, one-on-one worship, that’s where he can really speak to us, if we tune our ears to it. He loves the secret place - look at Moses throughout Exodus - many of the most powerful encounters came when Moses was one-to-one with the Lord. The public and the private must go hand in hand.
The second aspect could be seen as more difficult to apply across prayer & worship. Many of us are used to singing repeated choruses over and over, and we will all have an opinion on how effective that is. Yet it is easy to forget that this is a fairly modern approach, as churches have sought to bring worship music into a more accessible sphere.
Many of the old hymns have 5 or 6 verses, on something of a progressive theme, and this is also how the Psalms were written. I’d like to put forward the suggestion that the best of songs that have dominated worship sets over the past 20 years, and have lasted the course, have been the simple ones. Songs like “Isn’t He” (John Wimber), “Heart of Worship” (Matt Redman), “Surrender” (Marc James), and “Faithful One” (Brian Doerksen), for me, will always stand this test. As worshippers, musicians, poets, artists, and creatives, we love the intricacies of lyrics (and don’t worry, He does too - look at Song of Solomon), but never underestimate the power of simplicity. If we as worship leaders and songwriters are to feed His sheep, the simple stuff is often the easiest to take in.
Allowing God to minister to us through worship is a crucial aspect of our spiritual formation. We give Him the thanks and praise He’s due and He reveals more of Himself to us. This process cannot be merely reserved for conferences or the stage, it has to be one of our principal disciplines in our daily walk with Him. I’d encourage you to find some time each day in the coming week and worship Him. Thank Him for who He is, what He’s done and continues to do, and then listen as He reveals more of Himself to You. I love how the Message sums it up:
“What I'm trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God's giving. People who don't know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don't worry about missing out. You'll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.” (Matthew 6:32-33 MSG)Comment on Facebook Comment on Twitter
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