Carol Wimber on Worship…
We began worship with nothing but a sense of calling from the Lord to a deeper relationship with Him. Before we started meeting in a small home church setting in 1977, the Holy Spirit had been working in my heart, creating a tremendous hunger for God. One day as I was praying, the word “worship” appeared in my mind like a newspaper headline. I had never thought much about that word before. As an evangelical Christian, I had always assumed the entire Sunday morning gathering was “worship” – and, in a sense, I was correct. But in a different sense there were particular elements of the service that were especially devoted to worship and not to teaching, announcements, musical presentations, and all the other activities that are part of a typical Sunday morning gathering. I had to admit that I wasn’t sure which part of the service was supposed to be worship.
After we started to meet in our home gathering, I noticed times during the meeting – usually when we sang – in which I experienced God deeply. We sang many songs, but mostly songs about worship or testimonies from one Christian to another. But occasionally we sang a song personally and intimately to Jesus, with lyrics like “Jesus, I love you.” Those types of songs both stirred and fed the hunger for God within me.
About this time I began asking our music leader why some songs seemed to spark something in us and others didn’t. As we talked about worship, we realized that often we would sing about worship yet we never actually worshipped – except when we accidentally stumbled onto intimate songs like “I love you, Lord,” and “I lift my voice.” Thus we began to see a difference between songs about Jesus and songs to Jesus.
Now, during this season when we were stumbling around corporately in worship, many of us were also worshipping at home alone. During these solitary times we were not necessarily singing, but we were bowing down, kneeling, lifting hands, and praying spontaneously in the Spirit – sometimes with spoken prayers, sometimes with non-verbalized prayers, and even prayers without words at all. We noticed that as our individual worship life deepened, when we came together there was a greater hunger toward God. So we learned that what happens when we are alone with the Lord determines how intimate and deep the worship will be when we come together.
About that time we realized our worship blessed God, that it was for God alone and not just a vehicle of preparation for the pastor’s sermon. This was an exciting revelation. After learning about the central place of worship in our meetings, there were many instances in which all we did was worship God for an hour or two.
At this time we also discovered that singing was not the only way to worship God. Because the word worship means literally to bow down, it is important that our bodies are involved in what our spirits are saying. In scripture this is accomplished through bowing heads, lifting hands, kneeling, and even lying prostrate before God.
A result of our worshiping and blessing God is being blessed by Him. We don’t worship God in order to get blessed, but we are blessed as we worship Him. He visits His people with manifestations of the Holy Spirit.
Thus worship has a two-fold aspect: communication with God through the basic means of singing and praying, and communication from God through teaching and preaching the word, prophecy, exhortation, etc. We lift Him up and exalt Him, and as a result, are drawn into His presence where He speaks to us.
READ MORE: JOHN WIMBER ON WORSHIP…
…taken from our book and blog series: The Wisdom of Wimber: As I See It (read more)