Worshiping in Spirit

But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. - John 4:23-24 (NKJV)

As a musician, I have been immersed in music most of my life. While I have been a church vocalist and instrumentalist since my early teens, I have also participated in musical performances outside of the church: 60s and 70s folk, country, rock & roll, and pop. I am amazed at how God is still working it all together for good in my life, and it is a joy to share some of that journey with you.

One Sunday afternoon, several years ago, I felt the urging of the Lord to sing a special at the service that evening. When I prayed about a selection, the Spirit brought to my mind a song called “Could I Have This Dance for the Rest of Your Life?”. I was familiar with Anne Murray’s rendition of the song by Daniel O’Donnell. At first, I was hesitant, but I retrieved the score from my files and went to the piano.  

Suddenly, in my spirit, I heard the Lord singing to me with only minor changes to the original lyrics:

Could I have this dance for the rest of your life?

Would you be my partner day and night?

When we're together, it feels so right.

Could I have this dance for the rest of your life? 

And I found myself singing the answer: 

Lord, You can have this dance for the rest of my life.

I’ll be Your partner day and night.

When we’re together, it feels so right.

You can have this dance for the rest of my life.

Since that time, I have heard others sing this song in a similar manner. As I meditated on the experience, I came to know that God is not a mere spectator in our worship. He is a participant, and, more than that, He is the orchestrator. Music is His gift, and He is redeeming that gift. Our commitment to Him must be an intimate dance where He leads and we follow.

When we worship in the spirit, our expression becomes part of the fulfillment of  Zephaniah 3:17—“ The LORD your God in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing" (NKJV, emphasis added). We get to join Him in His song.

One day, as I was driving alone across the countryside, I suddenly sang out, “Have I told You lately that I love You? Well, Jesus, I’m telling You now.”

The original song was written by Scotty Wiseman and published in 1945. My version was written by the Holy Spirit. At that time, I realized more fully the difference between my mind and my spirit. While my mind was concentrating on driving the car, my spirit was worshiping and responding to the indwelling Holy Spirit.

The background music in my favorite supermarket usually features popular music from my era. A couple of weeks ago, as I was standing in the dairy section, I suddenly realized that as Olivia Newton John was singing John Rostill’s “Let Me Be There,” I was quietly singing along with the Holy Spirit’s version:

Lord, You’re there in my morning.

You’re there in my night.

You change whatever’s wrong

And make it right.

The man standing next to me looked both skeptical and amused as he picked up a pint of cottage cheese and walked away, but I just stood there amazed by the Lord who delights over His children with singing.

Through all of these experiences, the Lord has taught me that worship can and should be a conversation between us and Him. When we recognize His delight over us, we can’t help but respond, and the same is true in reverse. And when we come to understand this in a scope that takes us far beyond our church services, it brings a new richness and awareness of His presence with us all the time.

King David rejoiced that God had put a new song, a song of praise, in his mouth (Psalm 40:3). Likewise, we are told in other psalms that we are to sing a new song unto the Lord. To worship in the spirit, we must allow the Lord to give us that new song.  

We may be like Handel and receive magnificent oratorios. We may be worship leaders with a spiritual gift for composing praise songs. We may be hymnists and compose with four verses and a refrain. We may be blessed with spontaneous prophetic worship, or we may be surprised to receive redeemed renditions of the songs of our youth. In whatever form it comes, worship received from the Spirit is worship indeed.

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Lonnie Crowe

Lonnie Crowe

Rev. Lonnie C. Crowe is a native Wyomingite and a veteran high school English teacher and college writing instructor. She now pastors Rhema Fellowship Church in Torrington, Wyoming. You can follow her blog at pastorlonnie70.blogspot.com.

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