Heart of Worship – “When All is Stripped Away”

“O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is.”
~ Psalm 63:1

This point in history with its craziness surrounding the Coronavirus and quarantines has greatly reminded me of a true story I was told years ago as I served on our youth group’s worship team. We were told the story behind the moving song, “The Heart of Worship”. The writer of this hit song, Matt Redman, attended a church in England. His church was struggling for a period of time with apathy during their music services. Have you been there before?

I’m a pastor’s wife and I have struggled with this many times! The pastor of Redman’s church made an executive decision that he prayed would help curb the sad worship services taking place. He decided to do away with the sound system, all of the instruments and to have everyone sing with just their voices. This was a huge change, as it would be for most of us. They began to study true worship. They were reminded to not just be “consumers” during the worship time, but to be “producers”.

One Sunday, the Pastor openly challenged them to think of what they were offering God when they entered the doors of the sanctuary. This last thought greatly convicted the church people and after an awkward silence, they started breaking out in song. Just their voices lifting sincere praises to our God. Taking away the extras worked greatly! It was from this impactful experience that Matt Redman penned the words to, Heart of Worship”.

Do you see this time of “quarantine” how I see it? Do you think, perhaps, God is doing exactly what this pastor was doing? Do you think He could be stripping away the extras and trying to get us back to a true heart of worship?

Have you experienced apathy towards the things of God? Have you dreaded Sundays before or skipped church because of a host of insignificant reasons? Have you had a bad attitude during the worship time? I know I have! Pastor’s wives are not exempt from spiritual apathy, just in case you thought otherwise. I’ve sighed when we “had” to sing the “4th stanza” or when I felt that the music service was going lengthier than I judged the “best length” to be. Wow. I have often been a “worship critic” rather than a “worship giver”. Have you been there? Perhaps God was tired of our pathetic excuses for worship and decided to strip all of our comforts away.

We took worshipping together and singing praises together for granted. Now it’s been weeks since we have stood with our church families. Do we miss it? Will we have a newfound excitement for the privilege of corporate worship? Will our praises to the Lord become a sweet savor to Him again? Streaming church services is such a great tool! However, it is NOT a perfect substitute for gathering together, encouraging one another, breaking open God’s Word together and simultaneously singing praises to His Name! May we never again take these things for granted and may we forevermore have a true HEART for worship.

When the music fades, all is stripped away, and I simply come
Longing just to bring something that’s of worth that will bless your heart…
I’m coming back to the heart of worship, and it’s all about You, all about You, Jesus.

Jen McGee is married to Josh McGee, the pastor of First Baptist Church in Clute, Texas. They are blessed with 5 kiddos. Jen enjoys teaching a Bible study, blogging, crafting, singing, taking pics, making videos and serving in her church.

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