2.28.2006

living a lifestyle of worship

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I went to visit a friend in prison the other day. There is an overall feeling of despair at the prison. There are family members that have traveled great distances to see their loved ones. Little boys and girls dressed in their Sunday best looking forward to seeing Daddy for the first time in months, maybe even years. You can feel the sense of hopelessness. I can only imagine the hardships that these families face on a daily basis, facing the struggles of everyday life without the benefit of a Father, or Husband to be by their side.

Before you get into the visitation room you have to sit outside the prison visiting offices and wait for them to call a number that you have on your visiting slip. There are benches and picnic tables for you to sit at while you wait. I sat down and listened for my number to be called.
As I sat there I began thinking about what we call "living a lifestyle of worship". I talk about this with my Christian friends and we agree that we shouldn't just worship while we are in church but that we should experience Gods presence in our everyday lives. The theory is that when we experience God in our everyday lives that this will somehow minister to those around us. Not that we are trying to preach at every chance, but that when we focus on loving God that somehow this can affect people around us without us even trying. Ministry would be a natural outflow of our relationship with God.
To be honest I was having a hard time with this. I haven't been "feeling it" lately. It kind of felt like it was just another cute Christian saying that we throw around to make ourselves feel better. But I wanted to believe it, I wanted it to be true. I just didn't feel like it had been true in my life, at least lately.
In this outdoor waiting area I sat there and prayed silently. It was a beautiful sunny day and as I was praying I looked around at the hills and the trees and the clouds that were floating above me. I had an incredible sense of God's presence as I talked to Him and enjoyed the beauty of His creation.
It was a beautiful sensation, I could feel His presence. I remember looking over towards the prison and seeing a small bird behind the gates with barbed wire. The bird hopped around a bit and then took off, flying past the gates and into the sky. I watched the bird until I couldn't see it anymore. As I was watching this and praying silently a song came to mind.

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

I sing because I'm happy,
I sing because I'm free,
His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

I began quietly humming this song to myself as I watched the bird fly past the prison gates. This felt like worship to me, just me and God, spending some time together. As I sat there in silence the woman who had been sitting next to me said out loud, "His eye is on the sparrow... and I know He's watching over me." I hadn't realized that anyone could hear me. I was actually a little embarrassed. I smiled at her and said, "He does indeed." Then she leaned over and said, "Thank you. That was God's confirmation for me today." I just smiled at her and nodded.

The thing that amazed me when I though about this later in the day was that this just seemed so natural. It wasn't spooky, or weird, it just seemed so natural, like it was supposed to be that way. I was just enjoying God's presence, worshiping Him in my everyday life, and somehow it ministered to someone else without me even trying. This is what living a lifestyle of worship is all about.

I think the key to finding this "place" of worship is actively looking for it. We need to quiet the busyness, the frantic pace, and the noise that surrounds us and look for God in our everyday life. I believe that when we do this we will find Him in the most unlikely places.

9 comments:

Liz J said...

It's exciting and reassuring when God uses us as we least expect it.

Jenny Jorg said...

it's cool to hear the other side to stories like this. i've heard stories about how people have prayed that God would reassure them about a decision etc, and then something happens, but this is the other side of the equation. Akun Yehsu!

bjk said...

And this is confirmation for me....thanks

The Rev said...

I don't know seems like something I seen on Touched by an Angel...kind a spooky to me.

Jeff said...

I needed that today. it has been like a yearning in my soul for more of those moments, yet I spend less time actively searching them out.

I tend to wait rather than seek.

Hidden Valley Girl said...

Simply, beautifully put . . .

Mathias said...

I don;t know that constant worship is exactly the wording I would use. There is an ability to be sensitized to God.

I really like the picture of the razor wire in this post. That's pretty cool. Is that your photo?

jimmy said...

Hi Mathias. Our word worship comes from the word "worthship" which means "to assign worth, value". In that sense the ability to sense God's presence in any situation and to acknowledge Him in that situation is acknowledging His worth, His value, in that situation. In that way, being sensitized to God, and spending time in His presence, in any situation, is worship.
We're saying the same thing, just saying it differently. I'm not trying to argue, only to clarify so that you see where I'm coming from.

The picture is cool isn't it? I actually googled "barb wire" to find the image. I also got a lot of Pamela Anderson pictures, but that's not the barb wire I had in mind...

Joash Chan said...

Wow... Sure felt good reading about your experience... God is quite romantic and creative, isn't He? Haha... He's the best lah....