I’m convinced that the enemy’s favorite lie as we enter worship is it’s all about me. I even heard a pastor teach that worship is for us – for what God wants to do for us in that moment. How is that worship of God? That’s self-centered, not God-centered. While God, by His abundant mercy and grace, does indeed bless and transform us when we worship Him, if our focus is on self – then what we’re having is a what-are-you-going-to-do-for-me-today time of self-fulfillment. It’s consumer worship. (I’m not finger pointing – speaking from experience here.) And being aware of it is key to victory.
It’s also important to remember that Sunday is supposed to be the corporate response of worship by individuals who seek hard after God during the week. That’s when the important pursuits of God and being His worshiper really happen. Then we can more easily flip the switch from self-centered to God-centered worship.
When it comes to in-the-moment struggles, I loved Nathan Mark’s vulnerability in his guest post last week. (Read it here!) Sharing his struggle to have a “mindset of selflessness” in worship shows how common this struggle is. (Can I get an “Amen!”?) And it also demonstrates how a heart sensitive and obedient to the prompting of the Holy Spirit empowers us to overcome the struggles to achieve worship intimacy with God.
The alternative? To settle for a disconnected “tradition learned by rote” (Isaiah 29:13).
Ironic that some of our biggest struggles on Sunday morning are focused on things that are supposed to be leading us in worship. Right? (Boy, is the enemy cunning!) Tired of that battle? Want to beat those Sunday morning distractions from worship? Here are a few proactive tips that might help:
Begin Sunday mornings (before the service begins) by thanking God for the opportunity to to worship Him that morning and for the promise of His presence. (“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you” James 4:8a.) Pray for a surrendered heart and mind and for strength to fight the enemy’s darts.
Ask Him to help you fight the enemy’s distractions from worship (whether they’re at work, at home, or up front leading worship!) so you can focus on Him alone. Name the distractions and hand them over!
Pray for everyone serving – the pastor, the worship leader, the worship team, the soundtech, etc. Thank God for their faithfulness to serve Him and the time they’ve sacrificed to prepare. Pray that they would do their best. Pray that they would be able to worship God – that He would help them fight the distractions from worship. And pray that they would be filled with God’s wisdom, grace, and blessing as they serve.
Speaking of soundtechs – struggle with yours? Swing by the tech booth on the way to your seat and thank them for serving and tell them you’ll be praying for them (and do). (Realize they usually sacrifice the privilege to worship in order to do their not-so-easy job – serving you.) This will redirect your mind in a healthier direction that doesn’t sabotage your worship. Don’t be afraid to ask (nicely) for seat suggestions that might better fit your sound needs. There can be a wide variance in some rooms.
And pray that God will help you stay focused on the lyrics of songs you don’t know or don’t care for so you can stay engaged in lifting them to Him in worship. Keep it all about Him – not your tastes.
If we’re honest, no Sunday morning time of worship can satisfy everyone’s top choices of songs, singers, keys, transitions, volume, lights, and wardrobe. Plus we all come with our own personal battles that threaten us along the way.
But Jesus – He is here, and He is perfect, and He is worthy.
What powerful truth! Worship intimacy can be ours if we’ll just stop (everything not from God) and seek and surrender to Him all that we are. Help us focus on you, our God!
“My heart is steadfast, O God, my heart is steadfast; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises!” (Psalm 57:7,KJV)
What are your biggest distractions to worship?
When You Need To Talk Yourself Into Worshiping
How to Avoid Settling for Less in Your Worship Life!
The Need for Tunnel Vision in Our Worship
Why True Worship Requires Your Surrendered Heart
Does your focus get stuck here on your way to worship?
Struggle to worship? You may be thirsty!
A majority of 2015 survey respondents shared the struggle to fight distractions during worship. And that struggle was one of the reasons I wrote the eBook, 4 Keys to Intimate Sunday Morning Worship. Check it out and get it free here!
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