Introduction to the Holy Habit of Worship
Check out the introductory letter to the Holy Habit of Worship by Deacon Ruth Yorke.
This resource book will focus on the Holy Habit of ‘worship’. There are times when worship is instinctive and obvious – when we have such a sense of deep joy that we cannot help but worship God. And there are times in life when the last thing we feel like doing is worshipping God.
I love the example the Psalmist sets us: honest and open with God in good times and bad - whether moaning or praising - always in touch with God. In many Psalms, the Psalmist is clearly excited about God and wanting to praise God with every part of his being (E.g. Psalm 100, 117, 124, 134, 135, 138, 145, 150). But the Psalmist also regularly recounts his troubles, moans, and tells God what to do. I am always struck by the ends of Psalms 42 and 43 where the Psalmist has told God of his difficulties and then ends with these words:
“Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.” (Ps. 42: 11 in the NRSV)
The Psalmist decides that, despite everything, he will trust, hope and praise. Not because the Psalmist feels like it, but because God deserves Praise - because God is God regardless of circumstances. So because God is God, the Psalmist knows there is hope.
The amazing thing is that, when we least feel like praising God, the decision to “worship God anyway”, and the process of lifting our hearts to God in worship, changes how we experience life. Lifting our sights to God and re-focusing on the wonder of God can be the best medicine for a hurting heart. The shift of focus back to God changes life.
It would be a shame to confine worship to church services. Romans 12 v.1 says,
“Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him.
This is the true worship that you should offer.” (Good News Bible Translation)
‘Beyond the walls of worship’ (Singing the Faith 547) calls us to think about our lives as an act of worship. Its writers Ian Worsfold and Paul Wood explain: Ian tells us that worship is “about whole life discipleship” and “that sense that your faith matters after an hour of worship is over.” “I didn’t want to be a living a sacrifice”, Paul says, but he also says he has come to understand that phrase as “attempting to live every moment for God – we’re not always conscious that whatever we do, in thought, words and deed, we do it for God”.
When we start thinking about worship, we can think about our whole life with God. So resourcing for worship, learning to worship even when we don’t feel like it, learning to make everything we do in our daily lives a worship offering to God, is about 24/7 life, every-day-discipleship.
Worship can arise from a glad heart, but can also be the deliberate choice of a hurting one. All of life can be worship when lived for love of God – whether you’re helping a neighbour clear a drain, chatting with a friend, or mowing the lawn.
We hope the resources in this book will help you to discover more of God, to build lives which worship God, and to have those conversations which help us to deepen our relationships with God and with each other.