by Amanda Lewis
“Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” -Psalm 100:2
I have been going to church since before I can remember. In elementary school I sang songs played off a CD player and learned the accompanying hand motions. In middle school I remember the first time I raised my hands while the band played, mostly because I saw others doing it. In high school I began to feel an emotional response to the music, and learned how meaningful those words were and why we sang them. When I began volunteering as a leader for the middle school ministry, I watched as a dozen pre-teens raised their hands on a retreat the exact same way that I had done when I was their age
The concept of worship has always been relatively constant for me. While my understanding of the reason for it developed through the years, I have always known “worship” as singing praises to God. But there is more to worship than what we usually associate it with. Worship is not just about singing songs or hearing a band that makes you want to dance or moves you to tears.
My dad loves the outdoors, and growing up in my family involved a lot of traveling to beautiful national parks like the Redwoods in California, the Great Sand Dunes in Colorado, and the Grand Tetons in Wyoming. I have seen amazing things through traveling with my family, but one moment I’ll always remember happened just outside my grandparents’ house in Colorado Springs. They have some bluffs just a short walk away from their house, and so one morning I decided it would be fun to hike up to the top of those bluffs and read my bible. I have been up there a countless number of times, so the view was nothing new to me. Maybe it was because of where I was in my walk with Jesus, or because I was reading the Word, or perhaps because I was alone at the top of these bluffs, but I remember feeling so overwhelmed with joy and love for all that God had created. I was in the middle of God’s creation, praising Him for the great mountains that surrounded me, the rocks I sat on, all the way down to the leaves of the flowers and the grass and dirt.
When you think about all the things that God created, and how he carefully crafted every aspect of His creation, you can not help but praise him. But what does that look like in our day to day lives? We know that worshiping God is about much more than singing songs on Sunday morning, but what would it be like to worship Him throughout the day?
“My mouth is filled with your praise, declaring your splendor all day long” -Psalm 71:8
I wonder how my life would look if I declared the splendor of God all day long. I don’t think it has to be literally speaking praises constantly, because obviously that would be difficult to maintain normal conversations with people.
Friend: Hey Amanda, how are you?
Me: The Lord is amazing, isn’t he?
Friend: Um, yes… I guess he is.
Me: He created you, and me, and that table, and that pencil…and it is all GOOD!
Friend: Okay….well I will catch you later I guess.
Me: PRAISE BE TO HIM WHO MADE ALL THINGS GOOD!
Okay, so it wouldn’t be exactly like that, but you get my point. I think it it is important though to worship God throughout your day, maybe not constantly verbally, but in other ways. There are times during the week when things get hard. Mondays are tough, and some days you just have a lot on your plate. Maybe your boss is breathing down your neck constantly, or your kids won’t give you a moment’s peace. It is important to take time throughout the day to reflect and praise God for the good and the bad. Maybe this is just writing a few things you are thankful for on a post-it note to keep by your computer, or taking a deep breath and giving up your stresses to Him for just a moment. You can worship God through your actions as well, like giving up some time to help a friend. Worship is not meant to be confined to the thirty minutes at the beginning or end of service on Sunday mornings. We should find times throughout our week to worship Him with not only our words, but our thoughts and actions.