Thursday, May 31, 2012

Deep Worship

"Deep calls to deep in the roar of your waterfalls; all your waves and breakers have swept over me."  Psalm 42:7.
I have had several conversations recently with Friends who are longing for deep worship.  In my experience, deep worship is a rare and powerful thing, impossible to fake. It is a gift from God, which can be nurtured by Friends who live deeply in the Spirit, but is not something you can manufacture.

Many Friends say that they want deep worship, but we are not always good at saying what that means.  For me, it is a corporate experience of the presence of the living God―a time of worship that is so drenched in the Spirit that everyone can feel it and we are all changed by the experience.  

I have most often experienced deep worship in silence, but unprogrammed Friends do not have the monopoly on it.  Sometimes the singing, prayer, and prepared messages in semi-programmed or programmed meetings for worship bring all of our hearts together so that we can better listen to the voice of God out of the silence.

Expecting to have deep worship every week at meeting may lead to disappointment, but we can always hope for it.  Here are a few of the things I have learned that can encourage deeper worship:
  • Keeping a daily spiritual practice.  There are many spiritual practices and it is important to find the right one for you―one that you can do on a regular basis.  Spiritual practices keep the embers of worship alive throughout the week.
  • Worshiping regularly with others who are seeking the same depth of worship.  In the School of the Spirit residencies, we spent an hour each morning in worship together.  On the first day, the worship was good, but could be a little superficial.  By the fourth or fifth day, the worship was deep and rich.
  • Coming to worship with the expectation that you will hear from God.  In our meetings, God speaks through us, directly and through the vocal ministry of other Friends.  We must prepare for that possibility each time we gather together and know that we may be changed by it.

When have you experienced deep worship?  What have you learned about how to encourage and prepare for it?

1 comment:

  1. I've been thinking about this a ton. Bearing in mind that I am an unprogrammed Friend, for me a frequent practice of silent, contemplative, prayer (not only of reading Scripture or of spoken prayer, although both of those can lead into contemplation) is essential. I've worshiped most deeply with a group that shares the same intent as I do--either that gathers in the same spirit, or that is holding the same concern.


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