My first worship experience was at the age of thirteen or fourteen when I had no clue what praise and worship was all about. Having been brought up in a Brethren church that does not believe in such things as praise and worship, it was an extraordinary experience for me. I had never until then been at a praise and worship service, much less been taught about the works of The Sprit. All I knew was that I loved to sing and that was it. But the way The Spirit moved in my heart was awesome.
I had stayed back at home on a Sunday morning, as I had become accustomed to doing, because I so loathed going to church. However, I was in the habit of spending my own quiet time, seeking the Lord and reading the Bible. On that particular Sunday I had made up my mind to start a prayer journal simply because I found it very hard to pray, and somewhere I had read that prayer journals are a good way to have a consistent prayer life.
So I took out a new book and began writing out my favorite scripture on the front page – Philippians 4:6, 7. And then I thought I had to add something more about prayer before I began writing down my prayer points… but then a deep conviction gripped my heart that before offering my petitions I ought to first be cleansed in my Spirit.
It was then that I began singing and praying at the same time, tears streaming down my face every now and then (‘cause that is what happens when I am overwhelmed by His presence) and one song lead to another, and every song meant so much… every word was so apt, so powerful that the experience has left a lasting memory in my mind.
Looking back now I realize that I had not been imitating any worship leader or allowing smooth words roll off my lips simply for the effect… but I had truly been worshipping in Spirit and truth… and that is what The Master loves to hear… a sweet sound in His ear… not mere lip service, but a heart that is poured out to Him in surrender…
Since then I have attended other churches, learned to worship and experience His Presence through song. And now to be able to lead worship myself – though not at church, but at my work place – is truly an honor and a privilege. It is good to look back and see how far I’ve come from where I first began. But more especially, what I find important now is not only to offer a pleasing sacrifice unto God (for that is the only priority when we worship individually), but to also minister to the needs of people through worship (for that is the work of a worship leader) and to lead the people to worship at the same time being able to use worship to touch people at their point of need and encourage them – which is the core of my calling.
And O, the joy you get when people come up and tell you how they were moved! Nothing feels better than to know that not only have you been able to touch The Father’s heart, but also that others were able to do the same!
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