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How to Worship When You’re Not at Church

5 Mins read

We have a natural inclination to associate worship with music. While there’s certainly nothing wrong with worship music, worshiping with your brothers and sisters while a praise team leads you in a song, or praising God through the use of song, it’s important to understand that our worship doesn’t begin and end with a song. Instead, the Bible is clear about the fact that our worship goes beyond a song, permeating every area of our lives.

“I’ll bring you more than a song
For a song in itself
Is not what you have required
You search much deeper within
Through the way things appear
You’re looking into my heart”

-The Heart of Worship: Matt Redman 2009

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God loves it when His people worship. If you have children, you know how wonderful it is when one of your kids crawls up in your laps, wraps his or her arms around you, and declares their love for you. In those moments where they don’t ask for a thing, instead focusing on how much they love you, your heart swells, your eyes may get a bit misty, and you feel completely overwhelmed by the love that this being that you helped create has for you. That’s how God feels when we worship Him. When we join together with our brothers and sisters, lift our hands, and sing about the goodness of God, God experiences the same kind of feelings that we feel when our children simply declare their love for us.

However, God doesn’t want our worship to be limited to those moments where the praise team at church is singing a song and we’re engulfed by the music. Instead, He wants worship to come as naturally to us as breathing. Worshiping along with music is one key component of worship. However, it’s not the only way to worship.

When you worship, you enter into the presence of God. Wouldn’t it be sad if the only time that you go to do that was when music was playing? Wouldn’t it be tragic if the only time that you got to become completely overtaken by the love and the presence of God was during a song? That’s why God doesn’t want our worship to be confined to a five-minute song.

Can you really worship when the music isn’t playing? Worshiping on a Sunday morning when the music plays and you’re with other believers is easy. However, how do you go about worshiping on a Tuesday afternoon when you’re alone in your vehicle? How do you worship when it’s Monday evening, work has been awful, the kids are out of control, and you feel like you’re a million miles withdrawn from the worship experience that you took part in the day before?

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It’s not as hard as you may believe. Worshiping God without music is as simple as obeying some aspects of His Word.

Loving God Completely

Matthew 22:37-38 (ESV)
And he said to them, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment.

The first way to go about worshiping without the music is found in allowing yourself to truly love God the way that Christ said His people are supposed to. When you love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind, it means that your love for Him is the driving force in every area of your life. Loving God becomes the driving force in how you feel about things going in your lives (your heart), it keeps God at the top of your priority list (your soul), and it changes the way that you view your situations and the people around you (your mind).

Truly loving God is the most powerful act of worship that we can ever participate in. When you love Him the way He says to, your life is in a perpetual state of worship, even if the music isn’t playing.

Loving Others

Matthew 22:39-40 (ESV)
And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.

The words that Christ spoke in these two verses came directly after the words He spoke in the verses we read about loving God the right way. As He began the second part of His statement, He declared that the way we love others is equally important to how we love God. While God wants us to love Him with every part of our being, He wants us to be equally as passionate about loving the people around us. Doing so is a true act of worship.

Loving others as yourself isn’t that complicated. It simply means that you look at others in the same way that you think of yourself. For instance, if you were in a new workplace and felt alone and isolated, you would want someone to sit down beside you at lunch. Loving others as yourself means that you go sit down beside the new person and make them feel welcome. Loving others is a powerful act of worship.

Serving Others

James 2:18 (ESV)
But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.

In addition to loving others, when you take the steps to show your faith through your works, you enter into a completely new level of worship. When the music plays and your hands are lifted in worship, you’re singing songs to God, and expressing your love to Him, it serves as a connection between you and your Savior. However, it doesn’t really benefit anyone else. That doesn’t minimize the importance of worship through song, but it does facilitate the need for us to look for other means of worship.

When you commit one or two days a month to serve at a local charity, volunteer your time at your church, or do something else for other people, you’re worshiping God in a way that requires sacrifice. Giving of your time and your talents is a powerful way of worshiping God while also making life better for those around you.

Serving Through Financial Giving

2 Corinthians 9:6-8 (ESV)
The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.

Finally, when you give financially to your church or to another Christian ministry, you’re worshiping God. Tragically, many people have a skewed idea of giving because some unscrupulous people have used the Word of God to try to manipulate people in the name of building personal wealth. However, giving is still one of the most powerful ways to worship that we have.

As we discussed earlier, serving others through your time and talents is a means of worshiping through sacrifice. However, worshiping through financial giving is just as important. In the Old Testament, worship was primarily expressed through giving. People would bring their crops or their animals into the temple and sacrifice them in the name of worship. Today, God doesn’t expect us to bring animals or food for sacrifice, but we can give of our finances. Remember, this isn’t because God needs our money. Instead, it is because He wants to allow us to actively participate in the expansion of His Kingdom.

A Closing Prayer:

Heavenly Father, I don’t want my worship to be limited to a certain portion of a Sunday morning church service. Instead, I want worship to freely flow from my heart to Yours. Help me to be more in tune with You and Your will for me. Help me to live a life that is filled with worship in every area. I ask these things in Christ’s name, Amen.

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