Pursue God in Worship

teen and preteen girls preparing for worship at missions camp

My wife, Pam, and I have the incredible privilege of enjoying a variety of worship settings throughout the country in our roles as national correspondents for national WMU.

On any given Sunday morning (or Thursday evening), we may find ourselves worshipping with fellow believers at a church plant in urban New Orleans or rural Maine, fellowshipping with international congregations in Kentucky or Massachusetts, or visiting more traditional churches in Arkansas or Florida. In each service, there is always the opportunity to observe and learn how various groups pursue God in worship.

We recently experienced one of the most striking examples of reverent preparation for worship at an unexpected place—a girls’ summer missions camp. For starters, when the girls arrived at camp, staff members collected their cell phones for the week so the campers wouldn’t be distracted by the temptation to check their Instagram accounts umpteen times a day. It also offered the girls the opportunity to embrace the quiet solitude and beauty of nature that often leads to spontaneous worship of our Creator God.

Pursuing Authentic Worship

But the camp staff didn’t leave it at that. Each evening as the campers prepared for worship in a rustic outdoor amphitheater, they would gather at the top of the path leading down to the clearing and walk together in silence into the amphitheater. The leaders would then allow the campers to sit in quiet reflection for several minutes before the service began—not rushing the process but making it a meaningful and memorable part of the worship experience.

Picture that scene for a moment: a couple of dozen teens and preteens—no one glancing at her cell phone, no casual conversations, no poking or tapping one’s neighbor—just in silent contemplation preparing for authentic worship.

Now compare that to the way many of us typically approach Sunday morning worship—rushing in from Sunday School, grabbing our usual pew, visiting with friends about last night’s ballgame or next week’s school carnival, and then quickly checking our phones one last time before the worship music begins. Do we even wonder why our hearts and minds aren’t tuned to worship our heavenly Father? It’s difficult to be spiritually mindful when our minds are full.

Embracing Quiet Contemplation

I can remember my dad singing an old gospel hymn titled “Blessed Quietness” that includes the refrain, “Blessed quietness, Holy quietness, What assurance in my soul! On the stormy sea He speaks peace to me, how the billows cease to roll!” 

Unfortunately, in today’s hectic world, quietness is a fleeting reality. Yet quiet contemplation is an excellent starting point for hearing the still small voice of God—whether during Sunday morning worship, one’s personal quiet time, or even in the brief moments to worship God throughout the day that we often miss.

“The LORD is in his holy temple; let all the earth be silent before him,” instructs Habakkuk 2:20. May each of us be reminded of the significance of quietly contemplating the power, wonder, and holiness of Almighty God as we step into His presence and truly pursue Him in worship.

In the words of Psalm 46:10, “Be still, and know that I am God.” That may even mean turning off our cell phones.

By Trennis Henderson, WMU national correspondent


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