Thursday, June 5, 2008

Worshipping Together

    (Clifton Davis)

    Would you invest your energy in prayer for the times we worship together?

    If, as individuals, we are building patterns of connection to God through the spiritual disciplines, then we have an expectation that God speaks to us regularly. We are learning a perpetual openness to the Holy Spirit teaching us moment by moment. This “practicing the presence of God” can overflow when we come together at prayer meetings, or Sunday mornings, or small group meetings.

    What would it be like if a group of us expected God to speak to us on Sunday mornings as well? Would our holy expectancy change what happens for others in the room? Could people who enter bothered and rushed begin to be still and know the Lord is God? (Psalm 46:10)

    I would be interested in several of us conducting the experiment that Richard Foster suggests in his book “Celebration of Discipline:”

    Live throughout the week as an heir of the kingdom, listening for God’s voice, obeying God’s word. Since you have heard God’s voice throughout the week, you know that you will hear God’s voice as you gather for public worship. Enter the service ten minutes early. Lift your heart in adoration to the King of glory. Contemplate God’s majesty, glory and tenderness as revealed in Jesus Christ. Picture the marvelous vision that Isaiah had of the Lord “high and lifted up” of the magnificent revelation that John had of Christ with eyes “like a flame of fire” and a voice “Like the sound of many waters” (Isaiah 6 and Revelation 1). Invite the real Presence to be manifest.

    Next, lift into the light of Christ the pastor and other worship leaders. Picture the Shekinah (immediate Presence of God, not a God who is far off) of God’s radiance surrounding them. Inwardly release them to speak the truth boldly in the power of the Lord.

    When people begin to enter the room, glance around until you see someone who needs your intercessory work. Perhaps their shoulders are drooped, or they seem a bit sad. Lift them into the glorious, refreshing light of God’s Presence. See the burden tumbling from their shoulders as it did from Pilgrim’s in Bunyan’s allegory
    The Pilgrim's Progress.

    [Or, click here for a free, downloadable, digital e-Book copy of The Pligrim's Progress.]

    Hold them as in a special intention [prayerfully remember them] throughout the service.
    Feel free to join people at the communion window at Trinity before each service to pray for that service. Feel free to pray with people after each service at Trinity by the pulpit.

    Let us know, here, at the blog how it goes in worship on Sunday!


    Sister Cindy said...

    In the church I grew up in, we always entered the sanctuary on a Sunday morning to utter and complete silence. A majority of the people would come 5-10 minutes early to sit and pray in the quiet of the sabbath. Occasionally someone would glance around and smile if their eyes connected with yours, but then they would bow their head once again and continue in silent prayer or meditation.

    I loved that aspect of worship. It prepared my heart to listen. It also made 'coming into the presence of God' mean something. I like the idea of lifting the people around you in prayer, and especially the pastors.

    Great thoughts, Clif. Thanks!

    Rose said...

    It is easy for me to go up to a child or teenager who seems down trodden and ask them what is bothering them~listen to them and with Jesus' guidance try to help. I can not seem to go over to an adult woman~I need to really pray about that~maybe i am afraid that the woman's problems will overwhelm me or I just do not think I can help her. I know with the holy spirit's guidance I will be able to have a little bit of the courage that Peter and Paul had. Blessings, Rose

    amy said...

    When I was in Guatemala doing my DTS (Discipleship Training School), one of the big things they had us do was "intercession". We would break up into small groups of about 5-6 people and wait on the Lord in silence to speak to us, and then share with the rest of the group what we felt God was speaking to us. At first, it seemed a little crazy, because I wasn't used to doing something like this, but it was amazing sometimes. Often times, we would say, "I don't know if this is just my own thoughts, or if God is speaking to me." But many times, several of us were sensing the same thing, so this confirmed to us that it was the Lord. Then we would pray together for these things.

    Before we would go into silence, we would prepare for this by praying that God would remove any distractions from our minds, that we would be able to completely focus on Him, and that the enemy would have no place there.

    When we do this at Trinity, I don't get as much out of it, because I feel like we aren't given enough time to listen for God to speak to us, and I felt like it worked better in a small group, and sharing with one another what we sensed God was putting on our hearts. When we did this during our DTS, we probably spent about 15 minutes in silence each time, maybe more.

    Clif Davis said...

    I really appreciate your feedback. I know the times that I have received the most from listening prayer it was more like you describe (Small group, at least 10 minutes). Do you think that would actually work at Trinity?