Passionate Worship is one of the “Five Practices” that Robert Schnase identifies when talking about fruitful congregations and fruitful living. To be a congregation or individual who are bearing spiritual fruit we need to engage in worship that has its roots deep within the Spirit. I will be the first to admit that there are days when worship is difficult. Far too often the concerns of life crowd out my worship desire.
Schnase identifies five “P’s” that people who practice Passionate Worship seek to have in their life: prioritize, prepare, participate, pray and persist. I think that the five “P’s” that Schnase lifts up for worship are both encouraging and challenging. He says:
People who practice Passionate Worship…
- Prioritize worship and shift their schedules accordingly.
- Prepare their hearts and minds for worship by praying, reading Scripture, and anticipating how God will connect to them.
- Participate by taking notes, singing from their souls, offering their services in worship, and contributing to an atmosphere of expectation.
- Pray regularly, developing a habit of prayer.
- Persist wholeheartedly in cultivating their relationship with God. (Five Practices of Fruitful Living, Pg. 60-61)
As I read these five “P’s” I’m struck by one word, commitment. To worship, to truly and passionately worship God, we have to have a deep and abiding commitment to a life of worship. Getting to worship, being ready for worship, engaging in worship, carrying worship into life through
prayer, and continuing our dedication, are critical commitments we need to have in our lives.
I write this not to convict us, but instead to encourage us. Granted, for some of us this call to commitment may convict us. I would rather these qualities of life and commitments be seen as an opportunity. Easter affords us a special occasion to consider our commitment to Passionate Worship and Christ’s claim on our lives. As Lent draws to a close, we are keenly aware that our sinful nature dominates our decisions and commitments. As Holy Week begins to dawn, the cost of that sin is highlighted and brought to bear on Christ. Nevertheless, when all is said and done, God doesn’t end the story there. In Christ, God reaffirms his commitment to humanity. As Swiss theologian and pastor, Karl Barth reminds us, Jesus is God’s ultimate YES to humanity.
If God is willing to say yes to us, shouldn’t we make sure our answer to God is yes? Most of us will affirm that we have said yes to Christ in your lives. I believe what Schnase is saying is that we must make our yes… YES! By committing to prioritize, prepare, participate, pray and persist we are putting a higher value on our YES! Easter gives us an eternal new beginning. This year I wonder if we should also find ways to make it a new beginning in our commitment to Passionate Worship.
Each of us, in one way or another, are practicing the “P’s” in our lives. Our calling is to figure out how we elevate those practices in our lives. Perhaps for you, making a deeper commitment to Passionate Worship is picking up an “Upper Room” devotional and using it daily, or reading the Scripture throughout the week prior to worship. It may be a calling to say no to things that stand in the way of your participation in corporate worship. Perhaps it’s figuring out how to engage in parts of worship you normally don’t “appreciate.” I pray that each of you will make time during the next two weeks to consider how you are being called to increase your practice of Passionate Worship.
Amen, Pastor Geoff, Amen. Joyfully, Eleanor