, , , , , , ,

We worshipped with the song “Praise Awaits” by Matt Redman last Thursday night before rehearsals.  This song is one that started off almost every Sunday meeting a couple of years ago, but I haven’t sung for a while.  It was a bit like putting on a cosy jumper that you’ve forgotten you had.  But then whilst we were singing I had one of those moments where a phrase that’s become overly familiar suddenly takes on a new meaning.  My metaphorical jumper got a bit itchy and uncomfortable.  As we sang “Praise is waiting for you in this place”, I got to thinking about what it really means.

Waiting.  Ready.  Prepared.  Already there.  Ahead of you.

It struck me that so many times, God is really the one waiting for me.  I am so preoccupied, so distracted.  More often than I’d like, I come to worship on a Sunday and feel like I need a warm-up before I’m ready to praise.  The words don’t always come that easily.

It reminds me of another familiar phrase: “Your praise is always on my lips”.  And I think, “Is it really?”  As a proportion of the words I speak, how many of them really glorify God?  Occasionally, when I get those rare glimpses and revelations of how awesome God is, I realise that my heart should be overflowing with His praise, with nothing to stop me. There should be nothing else I want to do, nothing else that seems more important.  It’s what we’ll be doing for an eternity so we’d better get used to it!

The first application of this is to highlight the importance of getting my heart right before God to enable me to embrace Him fully in worship.  If there is sin in my life I need to get right, I cannot worship God fully.  I once heard someone say that the sign you are maturing as a Christian isn’t that you sin less, but that the time between sinning and asking for forgiveness becomes shorter.  Perhaps if I remembered more often that His grace for us is unlimited, I would be making more progress on minimising that delay.

I also need to make sure my relationship with Him is so alive every day that I don’t feel like a stranger when I come to worship Him.  I haven’t given anything up for Lent this year.  I’ve taken something up.  I’ve started a new devotional and have been giving a new energy to spending time alone with God.  Luckily for me, Mr Redman’s song is so catchy that at the moment I’m also getting a constant reminder to be overflowing with praise as the song goes round and round in my head.  So maybe this Sunday, God won’t be waiting quite so long this time.