By Bill Hall
Improving Our Worship
By Bill Hall
Our lack of fervency and reverence in worship is a matter of grave concern to all spiritually minded people. We have often caught ourselves singing, but not worshipping; bowing our heads, but not praying; sitting through a sermon, but not participating in a study of God’s word. Such action is mockery, bringing condemnation on the “worshipper” rather than God’s approval.
What is the solution to the problem? Some have sought for the solution in spontaneous singing and chain prayers. A group meets for a devotional period. No song numbers are announced: somebody (anybody) just starts a song, and everybody joins in. Instead of one person leading the prayer, all the men take part, each one adding his little bit until the last man in the circle gives the final “amen.” In addition, lights may be turned down and all in the circle hold hands. The purpose behind this practice is to help people feel closer to God as they worship.
I am not questioning the scripturalness of this practice, but if someone thinks it holds the key to our problems of worship, I believe him to be absolutely wrong. Or if such practice lead participants to look disdainfully on “led” singing or “led” prayers, considering such to be an inferior way of worship, they become downright dangerous. Improvement in worship is not brought about by changing the order or externals of worship, but changing the hearts of men. It comes from stronger faith and greater love for the Lord.
When we come to love the Lord and appreciate His sacrifice as we ought, such words as, “I stand amazed in the presence of Jesus the Nazarene, and wonder how he could love me, a sinner condemned, unclean,” will awaken an immediate response in our hearts, so that with genuine fervor we will sing, “How marvelous! How wonderful! And my song shall ever be; How marvelous! How wonderful! Is my Savior’s love for me.” And whether the song is sung spontaneously or is announced and led by a song leader will become a matter of indifference.
When we develop a true consciousness of God—a consciousness of His greatness, His presence, His concern, His love, His awareness, His listening ear—and an appreciation of our own littleness and unworthiness, we will begin praying as we ought.
Spontaneous singing and chain prayers only provide temporary help in treating the symptom. But what we need is to get to the root of our problem, our own lack of faith and love for the Lord.
We shall try, but we will never in this life reach perfection in worship. But one day we will see our Lord. A consciousness of what He has done for us will sweep our souls as never before and awareness of our hopelessness without Him will stir our spirits. And then—and possibly only then—we will break forth in praise with the sincere adoration which He deserves. And we are quite sure it won’t take any artificial form or arrangement of worship to prompt our bursting forth in praise on the wonderful occasion.