June 29, 2020 | Prayer Guides by Various Authors
Love God In Our Worship
Day 1: What Is Worship?
Psalm 145:3 Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised, and his greatness is unsearchable.
In his sermon series Come Live The Church’s Vision, Dr. Ewart reminded us that all the words in the Bible for worship refer to both an action and attitude. Action is doing something. Attitude is an inclination or posture towards someone or something. Fundamentally, worship is recognizing and declaring God’s worth through our hearts, words, and deeds (Psalm 29:2). True worship requires that I take the focus off myself and place it where it belongs—on Him! One pastor sums it up well, “Worship is seeing what God is worth and giving Him what He is worth.”
However, we are a fickle people. We love to love. In fact, we were created to love and worship God. But our love has gone awry. Consequently, we love to love people, positions, possessions, prominence, privilege, power, pleasure, and prosperity—more than God. We are continually giving ourselves away to a person, cause, experience, achievement, or status. Although these can be good things, we often make them “great” things and elevate the gifts above the giver.
To be sure, who (or what) we love is who (or what) we worship—which ultimately controls us. Friend, beware: whatever you love and worship in this world is fragile and fleeting. Conversely, giving ourselves over to the love and worship of God secures for us indestructible and everlasting life, joy, and peace.
Our church has identified two primary goals born out of biblical commands: Love God and Love Others. Even though sin hampers our mandate, we are still called to love upward (Godward) and outward (people). Our church discipleship goals state: We will love God in spirit and truth by exalting and praising Him in everything that we do both corporately and individually. Moreover, everything we do should be an act of worship in response to God’s love for us and an expression of our love for Him.
Questions to Consider:
What actions are you taking to worship God on a daily basis? Is there someone or something that you value or love more than God? Do you praise God in everything?
- Father, I praise you for your immeasurable love towards me. Incline my fickle heart towards steadfast devotion to you. Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things and lead me in the way of faithful worship.
- Read Psalms 145–150 and offer these up as praise in your prayer time.
Day 2: How Do We Worship? In Spirit and Truth.
John 4:24 God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.
The world was designed to be filled with worshipers of God. As an act of worship, image bearers of God reflect the glory of God to the ends of the earth. “The earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 2:14).
God’s design for the world has not changed. In our passage from John, Jesus tells the woman at the well that we are to worship God in spirit and in truth. But how do we worship in “spirit” and “truth”?
One element of right worship of God is the “spirit” of man, or from “within your being.” Internally, or from the heart, is where sincere honor, value, and worth are attributed to God. Worship wells up from a heart motivated by gratitude and love of the God of the Bible, and what He has done. But how do we know this God?
Not only does the spirit within man guide worship, but the Holy Spirit also. Paul writes, “Worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh” (Phil 3:3). The Holy Spirit opens our spiritual eyes and ignites our understanding to right knowledge of God. The Holy Spirit guides to all truth, to knowledge of God.
True knowledge of God is found in Scripture, “Your Word is truth” (John 17:17). Jesus said we are to worship in truth. Our worship must be informed by the truth of Scripture. By understanding God as He has revealed Himself in Scripture, we are “truthfully” informed as to how to honor, value, and give weight to God. We are then able to worship in spirit and truth.
Questions to Consider:
Does Scripture inform my worship of God? Do I have indwelling sin that impacts my worship of God?
- Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.
- Incline my heart to your testimonies and not to selfish gain.
- Reveal to me whatever interferes with my worship of you.
Day 3: Do You Know The God You Worship?
1 Thessalonians 5:16–18 Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
We were created in the image of God to worship God. Yet, we all worship something else: our jobs, our spouses, our children, our money, creation and more. Are these your gods? We worship what we love most. Worshiping to Adam and Eve was as natural and instinctive as breathing. They did not have to think about it; they just lived a life of rightly ordered love. Once sin entered the world through Adam’s disobedience, everything good became distorted. Romans 1:25 tells us “they exchanged the truth of God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator.” Worship has become distorted because man has lost sight of the God of the Bible.
We worship what we know and love. Do we know the God of the Bible? How do we worship the God of the Bible if we do not know Him? Furthermore, how do we get to know the God of the Bible? We must learn who God is by learning about Him in the place He revealed Himself—His Word. Moreover, we must pray without ceasing and sit under the sound teaching from our church leaders. Without studying God’s Word, you will not know the God of the Bible. How often do you study your Bible? Many say they just do not have time, but how often do we watch TV? Or browse through Facebook? If you are not taking the time to learn about God, then you are worshiping an “unknown” god. God has clearly revealed Himself in His Word. Without Bible study, you will not know the God of the Bible, because you cannot love a God you do not know. If you do not know how to study the Bible, our church has resources that can help you.
Questions to Consider:
How often are you in prayer and Bible study? Do you need help in these areas? Contact our church office and ask to speak with Pastor Jim. Are you spending more time with the TV or computer than you are with the God of the Bible?
- Thank you, Lord, for revealing to us who you are in your Word; thank you for providing us with godly pastors and teachers who want to teach us your Word.
- Create in us a clean heart and renew a steadfast spirit within us that we would want to learn more about you and grow to look more like Jesus.
Day 4: Family Worship, Part 1
Deuteronomy 6:6–7, And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise.
Gen Z (children born after 1996) is the largest generation in America, comprising 27 percent of the population. A recent Barna research report disclosed Christianity Today has less influence on Gen Z than on any previous generation. That’s alarming. Thankfully, that same research also revealed Christian parents want to participate in the development and longevity of their children’s faith. To be sure, God calls parents to lead the family in the worship and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4). For this reason, parents must model worship within the home visibly demonstrating God is worthy of our love, devotion, and time.
Yet, many parents did not grow up in a Christian home and, therefore, have no experience with family worship. Moreover, family worship time seems to carry with it an aspect of reluctance and disinterest, no matter if the children are young or old. Perhaps you’ve been down this road and experienced some discouragement. When asked what encouragement Don Whitney had for families about family worship, he said, “Cheer up, you’re normal. I have never come away from a family worship time saying, ‘Boy, the Spirit of God was there in great power tonight and we were almost on our faces before God and revival almost happened. Never.’”
It would help to remember the fruits of our labors are often seen over years, not days or months. So, decide today to be faithful in the responsibilities God has given us. Tomorrow’s prayer guide will focus on practical “how to” and useful resources for starting family devotions in your home.
Questions to Consider:
What is preventing you from having consistent family devotion time in your home? What actions can you take today to begin fulfilling your role as leader of your family?
- Lord, grant me strength, wisdom, and patience as I lead my family to know, love, and treasure you.
- Father, I want my family to grow strong in their love for Christ. Let them see my example of worship and love for Christ and know you, Lord, are worthy of praise, honor, and devotion.
- Pray for God to grow you in your relationship with Him as you lead your family to do the same.
Day 5: Family Worship, Part 2
Family worship is simply gathering the family together to worship God. When we worship we turn the family’s hearts and minds towards Christ. You don’t have to know everything to lead. God will honor your willingness and obedience. So lead! Here’s how:
Keep it simple and short. The main reason we struggle with family worship is we make it too hard. Keep the goal achievable. Get together, sing, read a short passage, and pray. Pick days and times that you can gather. Also, better do it for ten minutes regularly and keep it up, then aim longer and make it impossible for your kids and yourself.
What to do:
Sing: sing along with favorite hymns. If anyone plays a musical instrument, have them lead a song or two.
Read the Bible. Read a portion of the Word together. Talk about what you read.
Involve the kids. If they can read, give them a verse or passage to read.
Ask a simple question about the passage.
Pray! Make prayer a part of your family devotion time. See volume three of the Creek’s prayer guide for more help and ideas in praying.
Persevere: Not every family devotion will feel or appear fruitful. Just keep going. Be faithful in leading your family.
Book: Family Worship by Don Whitney. Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Family-Worship-Bible-History-Your/dp/1433567229/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=
Video: How Do You Do Family Worship. YouTube https://youtu.be/v9SUYzSLmrE
Books: New City Catechism. http://newcitycatechism.com/books/
App: The New City Catechism mobile app.
Music: Songs For Saplings https://songsforsaplings.com
Family Worship: Seeds Family Worship https://www.seedsfamilyworship.com/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_
Day 6: Misconceptions of Worship—Sacred Or Secular?
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
Many are the misconceptions that can corrupt our worship. Perhaps the most common misunderstanding is that worship is a particular day, time, place, or activity. Without question corporate worship is a biblical mandate (Hebrews 10:24–25) and vital to the life and development of every believer. Once a week we come together to publicly profess our faith, build one another up, study God’s Word, pray, and so much more.
Yet to think the other six days are somehow different in offering God what He is worth (through our hearts, words, and deeds) is to make a grave error in our worship. In truth, all of life is worship (Romans 12:1)—more on this in tomorrow’s post. Inevitably, we struggle to remember this. Monday rolls around, and worship fades from our sights as the week ahead unfolds. Why is that? Why do we struggle to see that worship encompasses “all of life”?
Perhaps, one reason the other six days are so disjointed from Sunday morning is that we see our lives in categories or compartments—most of which we believe have nothing to do with God or our faith. We section off parts of our lives into work, home, sports, leisure, and social as if they are in some way disconnected from God. In truth, weekday life ought to look just like Sunday morning life (Col 1:17). Friend, God does not see our life in parts (1 Cor 10:31). Nor is God a one day a week God. He sees every part of our life as one—all of which is to be devoted to Him (Rom 12:1; Psalm 146:1–2).
Corporate worship is a command and is vital to the practice of our faith. But truth be told—our private worship occupies the majority of our day to day lives. Paul Tripp writes, “We must expand worship to everything we say and everything we do.” If we view our lives in compartments and categories divorced from God, we will view our Monday through Saturday life as secular, and Sunday life as sacred. Maybe this is the reason why we view worship as a day, time, place, or activity on Sunday but not on Monday.
Questions to Consider:
Is your worship primarily songs, sanctuaries, and sometimes (once a week)? Are you exchanging the worship of God for the worship of created things?
- Meditate on Romans 1:25 and pray for God to give you greater awareness of the things or people you worship? Pray to worship the Lord with the right heart.
Day 7: All Of Life Is Worship
Psalm 103:1 Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
For many years, I saw worship as something you did in church on Sundays. I now know that worship is all of life, not intermittent. What’s more, worship is not optional—it’s an obligation. True worship requires I shift the focus from me to Him. This awareness is what helps us make our day to day lives worshipful.
Think about all the blocks of time you have in a day—driving from place to place, sitting in the carpool line, lunch breaks, feeding an infant, mowing the grass, sitting in traffic, and waiting in waiting rooms. What do you usually fill that time thinking about? Begin to see those times as opportunities to worship. For example, worship Him with scripture reading and meditation, or thank Him for the ability to do what you are doing at that moment. Transform social media time by reading through a Psalm on your phone.
Likewise, before you get up each morning ask God, “Can you receive worship from me today?” If the answer is no because of unconfessed sin, confess to Him those things that are keeping you from true worship. Also, as you start your day, ask yourself, “How can I worship God in the things on my schedule today?” Don’t overlook even the most mundane tasks of your day as worship time. Spend a few minutes giving your schedule over to God, laying all of your day on the altar before Him. Think of all the different roles (spouse, mother, father, grandparent, employee) as a means by which to worship the Lord. Other acts of worship that can be incorporated into your day include memorizing Scripture and serving the body of Christ.
Most importantly, worship must begin at home spending devoted time in Bible study and prayer. Review our church’s discipleship goals—they are created to help worship God by loving Him and loving others. These goals place priority and importance on God.
Questions to Consider:
Do you make worship a part of your day or an afterthought of your day? Throughout the day, do you check your thoughts and motivations and confess sin to God?
- Lord, I desire to worship you all day every day. I lay my schedule before you today and ask that you show me areas where I can spend time worshiping you.
- Ask God to give you a hunger and thirst for Him in every area of your life.
Day 8: An Example Of Worship
Luke 7:37–38 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them, and poured perfume on them.
When I read the account of what this woman did to worship Jesus, it helps me see how far short my worship falls. First, a woman sinner, walking into a group of men was unheard of in those days. Yet, her desire to worship her King was greater than her fear of death.
Secondly, she brings a very expensive jar of perfume. God’s Word doesn’t tell us where she got it. Perhaps it was a family heirloom—the cost of about a year’s wages. However, she wanted nothing but the best for her Savior.
Next, without a thought of what those around her would think, she begins to weep. I imagine she was weeping because she was in the presence of Holy God. She laid out her sins before Him to the point her tears were so great she had to wipe them from His feet. What a cleansing that must have been. Without another thought, she takes the perfume and pours it on Him, giving all she had to Him. Wow, what a picture of worship! I want to weep with her every time I read this story.
When was the last time I worshiped like that—totally forgetting everything going on around me and solely focusing on my Lord and Savior? Do I come into worship offering Him the best of me or do I give Him what’s left over after worldly things have demanded so much of me? Do I weep over my sin in the presence of His holiness or am I even aware of His holiness? Do I come into worship in an attitude of service to Him or an attitude of expectation, thinking only of what He can do for me?
Questions to Consider:
What does your worship look like? Do you come into worship as boldly as she did, forsaking all else to spend time with your Savior? Are you so in love with Him that you can worship in tears, in joy, in sorrow, no matter the trials of life? Do you worry more about what the person sitting next to you may say if you worship openly?
- Lord, I want to worship you with everything I have.
- Forgive me for the times I’ve offered half-hearted worship.
Day 9: Perverted Worship—Idols
Exodus 20:3 You shall have no other gods before Me.
Think back over the last twenty-four hours. To what or whom did you devote your thoughts, love and actions? What we spend our time thinking about and acting on tells a lot about what we deem most important in our lives or, in other words, what we worship.
In the above verse, God says we shall have no other gods before Him. This is a command in Scripture and one we need to take seriously. What does this verse mean? It means God will not tolerate any other gods. This is idolatry. Idolatry misdirects worship from the true God to some kind of substitute, in other words, a fraudulent deity. All false gods stand in opposition to the true God, and the worship of them is incompatible with the worship of God.
For a long time, I thought worshiping other gods meant bowing down to a little statue. I felt good about the fact that I was not an idol worshiper. When I grew in the spiritual discipline of Bible study, I soon realized there are many forms of gods or idols—worship of myself being the most prominent one. When I seek to glorify myself, I take God off the throne and erect my own golden calf and ask it to satisfy me in ways that only the one true God can. This golden calf can be any number of things such as work, success, money, spouse, children, grandchildren, friendships, drugs, alcohol, food, time spent on social media, you fill in the blank. Anything that takes your affection off of God and puts it on something else is an idol in your life.
Pastor A. W. Tozer (1897–1963) once said, “True worship is to be so personally and hopelessly in love with God, that the idea of a transfer of affection never even remotely exists.” Are you worshiping the one true God or are you violating His command and sharing Him with other gods?
Questions to Consider:
Who or what are the golden calves (idols) in my life? Is there a sin that is blocking me from worshiping God with all my heart, soul, and strength? Whose glory am I seeking? Do I present the God I claim to worship in what I do and say?
- Lord, cleanse my heart in preparation for worshiping you.
- Lord, I confess and repent of the idolatry in my heart that is often disguised as a good thing.
- Lord, because I love you, I long to keep my focus on you and you alone. I don’t want to transfer my affections anywhere else.
Day 10: The Test of Worship
Habakkuk 3:17–18 Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
True worship bends the knee no matter the circumstances. But let’s be honest; sometimes life is painful. How do we worship amidst loss, deprivation and grief? It’s one thing to worship when the good times roll. Praise pours forth for the One who blesses abundantly. Yet, it’s quite another thing to worship when the rains come and the tears flow. Still, Job rightly asks, “Shall we accept good from God, and not trouble?”
Recall from day one of this journal that worship is “seeing what God is worth and giving Him what He is worth.” One pastor writes, “Life is hard. But life is not God. God is God. And God is good all the time!” Indeed, He is. All the Bible is a testimony to God’s goodness (Psalm 107:1; 1 John 1:5). This is what we must remember when trials ensue. This is why we worship in all seasons—because God’s goodness does not fluctuate with circumstances. He is worthy even when we suffer. In truth, Jesus told us we would experience trials (John 16:33).
I recently read, “God must be more beautiful to us, more glorious to us, and more valuable to us than whatever it is suffering threatens to take from us.” To Job, God was more beautiful. Job 23:12, I have not departed from the commandment of his lips; I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my portion of food.
Lastly, it would help us to have perspective about the short and long views of life. Perspective is the ability to see the end from the beginning. It is bifocal vision—the ability to see what is directly in front of us in light of the long range. This isn’t to say we don’t hurt, mourn and lament now. But, our eternal perspective is life, hope and peace in Christ. Without the long view, the short view is overwhelming. Keep the long view in sight at all times and worship—even in trials.
Questions to Consider:
Is your fig tree barren? Are your fields empty? Do you worship the Lord anyway because He is good and worthy of praise? Or are you a fair-weathered worshiper?
- Pray 2 Corinthians 4:16–18.
- Lord, help me suffer well. Let me not withhold worship from you even when life is hard and troublesome. Instill in me a steadfast spirit that recalls Christ’s sacrifice and leads me to trust you no matter the trial.
- Offer up Psalm 91 as a prayer and a praise.