1 Samuel 4-6

Luke 9:1-17


 “You answer us with awesome and righteous deeds, God our Saviour, the hope of all the ends of the earth and of the farthest seas...”       —Psalm 65:5

How can we make the most of corporate worship? Is it really that important or not? We can glean the answer to these questions through Psalm 65. The psalmist writes, “Praise awaits You, our God, in Zion; to You our vows will be fulfilled. You who answer prayer, to You all people will come. When we were overwhelmed by sins, You forgave our transgressions. Blessed are those You choose and bring near to live in Your courts!” (Psalm 65:1-4). Did we notice the verbs in the verses? “You answer…You forgave…You choose and bring near…” God is the subject of each one of these verbs. In response to what God does, “The whole earth is filled with awe at Your wonders; where morning dawns, where evening fades, You call forth songs of joy” (Psalm 65:8). Globally, an awestruck community is singing and shouting songs of praise to God! Worship, when truly and properly understood, gives God the praise that is due to Him. This is not something that we initiate but something that is out of our response to His divine initiative. 

To define worship, the late English Anglican priest William Temple explained, “To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God.” Some of us may say that it is possible for these things to happen in what we call devotions, quiet time or private worship. While it is true that God could take the initiative through our time spent in reading Scripture or through a song we sing or listen to— so much of that is what we choose—we determine whether we are going to take some time alone with God, when it is going to start, when it is going to finish, what Scripture or devotion we are going to read, what songs we are going to sing or listen to and what posture we will take. 

In corporate worship, however, we have very little initiative. We do not know what songs we will sing, what the message will be or how long the service will be. This is good because corporate worship is one of the ways in which God trains us to surrender. Contrary to personal worship, where we retain the most control, in corporate worship, we voluntarily choose to surrender and to be led in worship by His divine initiative.

Precious Lord, thank You for the divine initiative when I spend time with You alone and in corporate worship. May I make the most of corporate worship by surrendering and letting You lead.

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