Often a court official or the chairperson of a gathering, will request “Silence please!” when a judge or magistrate enters a courtroom, or when introducing a special guest or in bringing a gathering to order.
Habakkuk 2:20 GNB
‘The LORD is in his holy Temple; let everyone on earth be silent in his presence.’
Churches Unite for Prayer
There was an occasion during my ministry in Harare, Zimbabwe (formerly Rhodesia) that called for silence.
Christians were deeply concerned about the effect the bush war was having upon the economy and safety of the country. At that time Bob Bosworth an itinerant preacher visited our city. He encouraged Christians to devote more time to early morning prayer meetings. After he preached at my own church, the Hatfield Presbyterian Church, we held 5 am prayer meetings in our church hall every morning for a whole week.
A similar meeting was held once a week for all Christians in the Harry Margolis Hall in the centre of Harare (Salisbury at that time). There was an amazing response as hundreds of Christians gathered each week at 5 am. A wonderful uniting of the denominations, everyone there to pray for the Lord to intervene and bring an end to the bloodshed.
The coming together of Christians from different persuasions meant that the prayer times became very loud at times. Leaders from the different denominations had a turn in leading the prayer gathering. When it was my turn, I felt that before launching into loud prayers we needed to first focus on the Lord. I quoted Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God.” and encouraged folk to be silent and just focus on our gracious and powerful God giving Him honour and glory before presenting our prayer requests. There was an amazing sense of God’s presence amongst us.
- Do you launch into a prayer list without really getting your focus on our awesome God first?
It is important that we take time to tune out earthly distractions and endeavour to tune in to the Lord by focussing our thoughts on Him. This may be through a time of praise or listening to music or a time of silence.
The LORD is in His Temple
By contrast with the lifeless idols we thought about last week, we worship the living and true God. He does not live in man-made edifices but in His heavenly, holy temple.
Whereas the idols remain silent, the living, sovereign Ruler of the universe calls us at times to be silent before Him. We do this out of respect and awe, after all everything belongs to Him, for He created it and us.
“Lord, You are worthy to receive the glory and the honor and the power, because You created all things, and through Your will they exist and were created.” (Revelation 4:11 LITV)
Corporate Worship blocked
It has been a tradition for us Christians to gather each week in a church for a worship service. Most Christians found themselves at a loss when due to the Coronavirus pandemic governments around the world banned all gatherings, including church services.
Church leaderships found new ways to hold services and minister to their members. Many resorted to holding online services and even Bible Studies. Unfortunately, there were some countries and areas, especially in the poorer parts of town, that did not have the finances to purchase the necessary equipment and their parishioners were deprived of opportunities to meet together as a body.
As I write, in most countries even though churches are open for worship, they remain under strict protocol restrictions of wearing masks, sanitizing one’s hands upon entering the church and observing social distancing. This doesn’t apply to all countries, and with the COVID-10 pandemic, this could change at any point.
There is one thing that has become certain to us all during this time and that is, nothing is ever certain!
Worship a precious moment
- What is the main motivation for worshipping God?
‘Oh, thank GOD–he’s so good! His love never runs out.’ (Psalm 107:1 The Message)
God deserves our worship because of His amazing love amongst many other benefits.
In one of his devotions, Max Lucado’s wrote:
‘Worship is when you’re aware that what you’ve been given is far greater than what you can give.
Worship is the awareness that were it not for His touch, you’d still be hobbling and hurting, bitter and broken. Worship is the “thank you” that refuses to be silenced.
Worship is a voluntary act of gratitude offered by the saved to the Savior, by the healed to the Healer, and by the delivered to the Deliverer.’ (In the Eye of the Storm’ – Max Lucado)
Worshipful in Silence?
I am sure that you’ve heard people say ‘I received nothing from that service.’ But is worship really purely about receiving?
If that is true, then it all depends upon the preacher’s message. And the service needs to have as its focus ‘the message’. We should call it a Message Service or a Preacher’s Service.
But we call it a Worship Service. Why?
Surely because the focus is meant to be on the worship of Almighty God. Our purpose for gathering is to express to God the gratitude we feel for His amazing love and provision of salvation from sin.
Max Lucado comments, ‘If worship did nothing for you—it would still be right to do. God warrants our worship.’ (Cure for the Common Life – Max Lucado)
In his first letter to the Corinthian church, Paul has this to say:
‘This is what I mean, my friends. When you meet for worship, one person has a hymn, another a teaching, another a revelation from God.’ (1 Corinthians 14:26 GNB)
These words indicate that true worship is not a one-man or woman show but those gathered participating in one way or another.
Motivation for Worship
When speaking to the woman of Sychar Jesus indicated that true worship is not focused on a place. (John 4:20-24)
True worship depends upon a person—the person of the Holy Spirit.
‘But a time is coming, and it is already here! Even now the true worshipers are being led by the Spirit to worship the Father according to the truth. These are the ones the Father is seeking to worship him.
God is Spirit, and those who worship God must be led by the Spirit to worship him according to the truth.” (John 4:23,24 Contemporary English Version)
As you come to the end of this study, ask the Holy Spirit now to teach you how to truly focus your worship on the the Father through the Son.
If you haven’t yet read the background to the prophecy, please do. It will benefit you throughout this series of studies.