Worship is a word, a concept, a lifestyle I began studying over 25 years ago, and I still consider myself a novice.
The blessings of worship are infinite like the attributes of the ONE we worship. As example, Worship sharpens our focus on what God is doing! It brings us to a place of seeing more clearly what God is doing, of hearing His voice more acutely, knowing more fully His purposes in our lives, tasting more fully His goodness and mercy, experiencing more fully His signs, wonders and miracles, enjoying more fully His pleasures and plans, resting more fully in His perfect peace and trusting more fully His overt love for us! Whatever you give yourself fully to is what you worship. Your lifestyle, behaviors, actions, choices define what, who, when and/or why you worship. Another person does not determine what or who you truly worship. Two individuals may attend the same church yet possess completely different worship values. As a Christian, my worship has one focus…if you will, a single agenda: Jesus Christ, the Messiah.
Worship is the absolute trust of God’s timing in the development of the different aspects of an individual’s life such as spirituality, family, personality, relationships, education, and career. It is the perpetual attitude of trusting the Holy Spirit in all circumstances and responding with trustworthiness in the same light. The Creator of the Universe is seven-dimensional not two-dimensional like humanity. As humans we are confined to time, height, depth, width and light. God’s dimensions include height, depth, width, soul, spirit, time, and light. To fully embrace the super naturalness of God is to intentionally function in a seven-dimensional mindset.
Before I was called into full-time ministry, I worked a very successful 35-year career. Daily, I asked the LORD to bless my agenda, bless my day, bless my plans and bless my family. In ministry, it is the opposite, now each day I ask the LORD to bless His agenda, His day, His plans and His family. Experientially, I have found that it is essential to be intentionally purposed to trust the Holy Spirit with the outcome of each day. A Biblical example of this is in Genesis 22, which is also the first reference in the Holy Scriptures to the word worship. The Old Testament story is familiar when Abraham took Isaac to the wilderness altar to sacrifice him and then the LORD provided a ram on the third day. To fully possess a heart of true worship unto the LORD, then one must completely and fully trust the LORD GOD in all circumstances, especially the difficult situations, the challenges without ready answers and the life events causing the greatest emotional, physical and/or mental pain and trauma. Trust is to tenaciously believe with an expression of hope and faith when there is no logical reason to do so.
There are obstacles that arise in each person’s path in their expression of worship. It is difficult to enter an atmosphere of worship when one is confused, disoriented, and discouraged. The enemy’s tactical plan against those belonging to ABBA ADONAI might look something like this:
1. Discouragement 2. Confusion 3. Depression 4. Loss of Vision 5. Disorientation 6. Withdrawal 7. Despair and finally 8. Defeat.
The single most effective way to reverse the enemy’s curse is through the fullness of worship, praise, adoration and exaltation to the LORD GOD! Psalm 100 exhorts us to “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courtyards with praise, Give thanks to Him, and Bless His name” (v 4 TCJB). Perhaps one of most obvious antonyms of worship is complaining. It is impossible to complain and worship at the same time. These two forms of communication require opposite sources of energy and value. Simply put, the new wine that Jesus Christ spoke of in the Gospel narratives, did not mean new and/or more whine.
Additionally, to facilitate a lifestyle of worship one must overcome the inward battles as well as the outward battles, which often requires walking forward in humble faith and immediate obedience. I am convinced that when I am in HIS perfect will, worship is a natural response. My heart, mind, will, emotions, and spirit will automatically respond to Him in one of the various forms of worship.
Every individual is created with unique gifts, anointing, talents and personality. Therefore, we each have preferences linked to our style of worship. When the worship is Trinity (Father God, Jesus Christ and Holy Spirit) centered and not self or other-centered then it is honoring to God, although it may be expressed differently. There are those that prefer to worship their Creator by walking along a sunlit mountain trail and for others it is participating in a traditional Sunday morning Church service. There was a season in the early years of my life that Praise and Worship only occurred on Sunday morning between 10:00 AM and 12:00 noon. Now, of course that has changed, and my heart is that my life would be a continual expression of worship. Other facets of worship are the differences in liturgical offerings that might include prayer, music, Scripture reading, silence, meditation, dance, repentance, and communion.
One relevant question is what does it take for you to enter His presence? The emphasis is not about the tradition or the ritual it is about the individual’s covenantal communicative relationship with the Trinity. In Revelation 4:2, John writes, “…Immediately I was in the spirit.” The word immediate actually means just that…. Immediate! Sometimes, we hear Christians saying they are waiting for God to ‘show up’ or ‘manifest HIS presence.’ If God travels at light speed, then who is waiting on who?
Just as there are many expressions of worship, there are many positions or postures for worship. Each posture is simply just that…a posture. One is not more holy or righteous than the other. God looks at the condition of our hearts while we worship Him! The following limited list of postures is taken from the Scriptures:
Please note that the wordsit is not one of the positions listed because sit did not refer to worship in the Old Testament. The word sit referred to elders sitting at the gate or Moses sitting before the people as council. In some churches today, sitting is all that is done, and in other churches sitting is not allowed. It remains a matter of the individual’s heart toward worshiping in spirit and in truth.
Briefly, I would like to introduce five essentials for spiritual intimacy relationally as relates to worship of the Trinity. The essentials of Spiritually Intimate Worship will most likely include:
1. Hearing the voice of the Holy Spirit which might mean learning more than one of God’s languages such as tribal, foreign, verbal, music, color, structure, symbolism, relational, signs, universal, mathematical and/or wonders. There are over six thousand written languages on the planet earth and our Creator knows them all. Generally, when there is an issue with communication, one might conclude that the weakness is not on the side of God. (Mark 4:24; James 1:19; Malachi 2:1). 2. Obeying Immediately (Matthew 4:20-22; John 14:23-24) 3. Seeing from HIS perspective (John 5:30) 4. Trusting Implicitly (Psalm 22:4) 5. Worship in Spirit and in Truth ~ The Spirit of God expressing the continuous eternal and The Truth expressing the revelatory relationship (John 4:24).
A reflection of Spiritually Intimate Worship in our lives is often expressed by a lifestyle of perseverance(Philippians 1:29-30), chastening (Hebrews 12:6), faith(Hebrews 11),sacrifice (Hebrews 13:15-17and 1 Peter 2:4-5), service(Hebrews 12:28), persecutions (2 Corinthians 12:10),holiness (Romans 12:1), fear and reverence of the LORD (Deuteronomy 10:12-13) and integrity/dignity(2 Samuel 6:14-23).
One revelation that I received in studying David’s dance before the LORD GOD in the book of Samuel is that David was wearing three garments: 1) The King’s Robes 2) The Priestly Garments 3) The Priestly Linen Undergarments. When he danced, he laid down the King’s Robe and worshipped the LORD GOD in His priestly garment. This is the reason that His wife ridiculed him because she believed the title of King was of much higher value than the office of Priest. Yet, David willingly laid down the title and the robes of His Kingship to worship unashamed before the LORD GOD. Unfortunately, Michal’s criticism left her barren. Sadly, I have observed those with critical spirits like Michal’s that speak harshly against passionate worshippers are often left with barren ministries and lives. (As a note of reflection, unfortunately the concept of tithing is often joined to worship as a New Testament Statement of Faith and I have wondered how would life be for any of us if Jesus Christ only tithed on the cross? Since He willingly gave His whole life for each of us, how can we do less?)
One of the most common questions asked regarding worship is: Why?
1. Worship releases the manifest presence of the LORD. God inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3; Job 36:27; Ecclesiastes 11:3; Hosea 6:3; 2 Chronicles 5:11-14; Exodus 29:41-46). 2. Worship connects us with our true purposes and gives us wholeness and identity with Jesus Christ (2 Peter 2:9). 3. The third benefit is that it releases a prophetic anointing in the body of Christ both individually and corporately (2 Kings 3:11-27; 2 Chronicles 29:27; Colossians 3:16; Ephesians 3:19). 4. The fourth effect is the release of the Supernatural Power of GOD (Acts 16:25-26; Jonah 2:9; 2 Chronicles 20:21-22; 2 Chronicles 13:14-15). 5. The fifth purpose is that worship opens us to the Holy Spirit’s revelation (Acts 13:2,3; 2 Kings 3:15-16; Zechariah 10:1; Psalm 65:9; Deuteronomy 11:10-1; Job 36:27-29). 6. The sixth blessing of worship is that it brings deliverance from satanic influences and tormenting demonic activity (Psalms 32:7; Psalm 106:47; 1 Samuel 16:23; Acts 16:25-34). 7. The seventh effect is that it brings unity and spiritual intimacy (John 12:32 is the answer to Jesus’ prayer in John 17:21; Psalm 133). 8. The eighth purpose is that worship provides an atmosphere for salvation of the lost and restoration of the saved (Acts 16:25-34). 9. The ninth benefit of worship is that it defeats the enemy (2 Chronicles 20:3). In verse three, one of the most remarkable things occurs in the History of Israel – all 1,160,000 valiant warriors bowed down and worshiped the LORD. 2 Chronicles 20:18 is the essence of my prayer for America because all of Judah and her inhabitants bowed down and worshiped the LORD. Wouldn’t that just be something? ALL of AMERICA bowing and worshiping the LORD GOD! The simple truth is that the manifest presence of GOD changes people, not because of who they are but because of who HE is!
The final portion of this reflection on worship will be about different types and styles of dance noted throughout the Scriptures. Humorously when the LORD called me to dance I was crippled from car wrecks, without rhythm (born that way), and knew nothing about movement or dance. I was the least likely candidate to teach Worship Workshops on Prophetic Intercessory Dance. It has been at best HIS perfect strength through my overt weakness.
Through my research of Scriptures, I have found five different categories of dance:
1. The first is Praise Dance which includes the Hebrew Words: a. Barak which means to bless, to praise, to kneel, to bless God as an act of adoration, to salute, to declare God’s power and is used in Psalm 18:6; Psalm 103:1-2; Psalm 96:2; Job 1:21; Psalm 95:6; 1 Chronicles 16:35; 2 Chronicles 20:22; Deuteronomy 10:21; Exodus 15:11; Judges 5:2; 1 Chronicles 29:10; Psalm 104:1. b. Halel which means to be grateful, to confess, to brag or boast about GOD, to declare GOD’s character, to shine, to be clamorously foolish, to rave, to celebrate and is found in Psalm 113:1-3; Psalm 150:1; Psalm 149: 3; 1 Chronicles 16:4; Psalm 119:164. c. Towdah comes from the same principle root word as Yadah, but is used more specifically. Towdah means an extension of the hand in adoration or acceptance, sacrifice of praise, choreography, processions, offerings, thanksgiving, worship and is noted in Psalm 50:23; Psalm 42:4; Psalm 50:14; Psalm 56:12; Psalm 95:2; Psalm 100:4; Jeremiah 33:11; 2 Chronicles 29:31; Jeremiah 17:26. d. Zamar means singing praise, pluck the strings of an instrument, and praise with instruments and is found in Psalm 66:2-4; Isaiah 12:5; Psalm 27:6; Psalm 149:3; Psalm 30:4; Psalm 21:13; Psalm 57:7-9; 1 Chronicles 15:16; 1 Chronicles 16:9; Psalm 147:7. e. Almos (Greek) which means to celebrate with praises and thanksgivings, to laugh and is found in Matthew 21:16; Acts 2:47; Romans 15:11.
2. Warfare Dance is the second type of dance that includes three Hebrew words in addition to other Scripture references. a. Shabach means to shout, to triumph, proclaim victory over an enemy, to raise loud noise, to give forth a war cry, to command, to triumph and to glory and is found in Psalm 63:3; Psalm 132:9; Psalm 147:12; Psalm 47:1; Psalm 35:27; 2 Chronicles 13:14-16; Joshua 6:16; Joshua 6:20-21; Zechariah 4:7; Isaiah 12:6; Psalm 145:4; Psalm 63:1-4; Psalm 117:1; Psalm 35:27; Psalm 106:47; Psalm 132:16. The New Testament counterpart is Luke 19:37-39. b. Tehillah, which is the Hebrew word for Psalm and is used over 300 times in Scripture. It means to sing a word, hymns of the Spirit, war praise, high praise and is about GOD’s response to our Faith and is found in Psalm 22:3; Psalm 33:1; Psalm 61:3; Psalm 34:1; 1 Chronicles 16:35; 2 Chronicles 16:35; Deuteronomy 10:21; Exodus 15:11; Psalm 147:1-2. c. Mechowlah, which refers to a company of dancers. The word company is defined as machaneh, which is an army of dancers. Other Scriptures references for Warfare Dance might include Romans 16:20; Romans 6:13; Ephesians 6; Psalm 18:29; Psalm 33; Psalm 34; Psalm 37; Psalm 50; Psalm 149:3; Psalm 7; Psalm 8.
3. The third type of dance is Intercessory as defined by the following Hebrew and Greek words: a. Chuwl, khool (pronounced “Cool”) which means to twist or whirl in a circular motion, to dance, to bear, to wait, to tarry, to writhe in pain (as in child birth), to bring forth, to rest, to shake, to trust, to be wounded, to tremble, to be sore or in much pain, to fall in pain from grief and is found in Jeremiah 51:29; Hosea 13:13; Isaiah 26:17-18; 42:13-15. b. Yadah which is defined as worshiping with extended hands, to throw your hands out or up, to express thanksgiving, to sing a song of love to GOD, to use your hands to cast out and is found in 2 Chronicles 20:19-21; Psalm 134:2; Nehemiah 8:6-7; Psalm 63:1-5; Psalm 107:15; Genesis 49:8; 2 Chronicles 7:6; Isaiah 2:4; Jeremiah 33:11; 2 Chronicles 8:14; Ezra 3:10; Psalm 22:22; Psalm 69:30; Exodus 17:8-12. c. Megaluno (Greek) means to make great, large or long, to magnify and is noted in Luke 1:46.
4. The fourth type of Worship Dance is Prophetic which is taken from 1 Samuel 18 and the Greek words psallo and psalmos which mean to sing praise in spiritual ecstasy or to make melody, a song of praise, to sing spontaneous words unto the LORD and is found in 1 Corinthians 14:15; Colossians 3:16; and Ephesians 5:19.
5. The final dance is the Celebration Dance which is taken from the Hebrew word Chagag which means to move in a circle, to march in sacred procession, to observe a festival, to be giddy, celebrate, dance, keep or hold a solemn feast or holiday, to reel to and fro and is found in 1 Chronicles 15:19. Other Celebration Dances are found in Jeremiah 31:13 where the men danced, in Exodus 15:20 where the women danced, and Zephaniah 3:17 where God danced.
When Moses worshiped ELOHIM, we learned more about obedience. When David worshiped ABBA ADONAI, we learned about repentance. When Miriam worshiped the LORD GOD, we learned about corporate worship and dance. When GOD danced our lives were changed and we understood more fully what it means to be celebrated as we honor HIM through worship.