Are you a good singer? How critical is that ability to worship God? How often do you put worship and prayer together? How do those disciplines help you “see” God? When is the best time for you to encounter God? How often? How do you nurture these encounters?
I saw a wonderful show recently on world famous orchestras. One performer that was enthralling was the harpist in one segment. It is amazing that a person can add so much to a performance by his or her strong, agile fingers literally gliding across the strings. The melodic, precise stroking of the harpist gives a heavenly feeling to the environment.
Harps have been around a long time. The best-known harpist in the Old Testament was David, who later became the second King of Israel. He learned to play his instrument in the fields as a shepherd, and I wonder who made such a portable device. In later life he wrote many of the Psalms that were written down and assembled in the Old Testament, many which were praise songs to God, accompanied with a harp. They are a rich part of the musical heritage of the Church, and have deep and meaningful poetic power for those who reflect on them.
Read Revelation 5:1-10.
The four living creatures and twenty-four elders in Revelation 5 introduced a new song of praise of the Lamb (i.e., the Lord) because He alone was found worthy to open the scroll (v 8). Each creature held two objects in their hands: one was a harp – an instrument to worship God; the other was a golden bowl. In the Old Testament scenes of the Tabernacle (see the Book of Exodus), it was a flat pan used by the priests to carry incense in worship. In Revelation 5, the author instructs us that bowls full of incense were “prayers of the saints” (v 8). What an image!
The elements of worship and prayer are significant features that affect our relationship with God. They naturally come together when we enter His presence. Think about it: we open our Bible and read about God. As we learn about His character and actions (“He is good and loving toward all He has made”), it seems natural to begin to worship such a wonderful Being. We often feel a need to express our feelings in words or song, even if we cannot find the right words or even sing a note. There also seems to be a sense of prayer as we come into contact with the Creator of all things. We recognize we are in the presence of greatness, majesty, and grandeur. We find ourselves kneeling (at least in our thinking, if not physically) as we bow to express our praise and adoration to the Lord of Heaven and earth, the sea and the dry land. We instinctively feel our need for cleansing in the presence of such royalty. The sheer light of His person is dazzling.
Worship comes from an old word – “worth-ship.” God seems so untouchable or beyond our comprehension in one sense, yet there He is, approachable. He beckons us to come into His presence. Stunningly, we are able to do so because of what Jesus did on the cross. He made a way for sinful humanity to be able to connect once again with the One who created everything.
How do prayer and worship come together in your life? How can you learn to utilize them when you go before God in private and public worship? Take some time to review your use of a “harp and a bowl” as you enter God’s presence. It will deepen your experience with Him.
Grow devotionally. Give God “worth” by honoring and depending on Him.
Love is a verb,