A couple of years ago, I spoke to a ladies’ group, and one thing that I focused on was worship–my worship specifically. It was like I could never really get to “that place”. Yes, I worshipped, but I wanted to be able to offer God so much more than dry worship, or just a little bit of wet worship. I wanted to be able to offer up a true sacrifice of praise. The kind that you really don’t care who is looking and what you look like.
Where you get to that point where you don’t notice the tears, you don’t notice the music, you don’t notice anything–you’re just sold out to offering up a praise from the core of your being.
I would look at the elders in the church and how it seemed their “wet worship” was immediate. They could hit the altar or the prayer room and be in instant communion with God. “Why can’t I have that, God?,” I would ask. I want to worship like that. I want to bow down before God in a spirit of true praise and awe, to be distraught before the Lord, unable to stop the flow of tears and praise.
So time wore on. Small spiritual growth here and there. A little bit of dying to self here and there. More prayer. More concentrated thoughts on God and reflecting His image throughout the day. I would pray, hesitantly, “Your will, God.” But then wonder, “what if it’s His will that one of my kids would die?” I would pray, “Your will, God, but please don’t take my kids.” I would pray, “Your will, God.” But then wonder, “what if it’s His will that I fall and break my neck and have to be paralyzed the rest of my life.” So I would pray, “Your will, God, but please don’t let me fall and break my neck and be paralyzed.”
At church, there I would be with my small bit of wet worship. And I would pray, “Slay me in the Spirit, God. I want to be close to You. I want to be ushered into Your holy presence.” Dripping faucet, tinkling cymbal.
Tick, tock, tick, tock. Jimmy starts volunteering as a prison chaplain. God begins to do amazing things among the men at the prison and among the guards. I watch as my husband prays and fasts and puts fleeces before the Lord. And they did not come back void. I have seen miracles in my own home, with my own eyes. I have seen immediate answer to prayer. I pluck out “I Surrender All” on the piano, but with reserve. I want to surrender all. I long to surrender all.
The truth is I didn’t want it bad enough. I wanted the fullness of being in His glory without the fullness of my sacrifice.
It all came together, or apart rather, this spring at Ladies’ Conference. I have learned of true surrender. Surrender of self, surrender of possessions, surrender of improper entertainment, surrender of control, surrender of my family. My worship, praise, and prayer are constant throughout the day. The surrender of my will is constant through the day.
Never say never, right? Most of you that are close to me have heard me say, “I’ll never sale my house. I love my house.” So when I was painting my porch in order to get the house ready for sale, I was praying with one stroke “Your will, God” and with the second stroke “Not mine.” (Think “Wax on, Wax off” here 🙂 And it’s a pretty big porch.
Moving three hours’ away and living in an RV to fulfill God’s call on our lives? I wouldn’t have chosen that path myself. But God has a plan, God has a path already paved for us. All we have to do is follow. While it may be seem like so little to so many, I know that little is much when God is in it. We are still so tremendously blessed above so many!
I don’t believe in the prosperity doctrine. It’s hard to fully rely on God when you have everything you need. When you are down to depending on God to provide your next meal, you start to see faith in a whole new realm. That old song “I can’t even walk without You holding my hand” takes on a different meaning when God is guiding you down a new path. He knows the pitfalls, He knows the trials. Don’t let go or you’ll be in danger. Yes, God wants you to have everything you need, but His idea of our needs and our flesh’s idea of needs are two completely different things. Don’t get me wrong–I like having money as much as the next person.
But if it comes down between money and faith, I’ll take the faith.
Daily, God is tearing down my shaky foundation, rebuilding it, reinforcing it, preparing my new foundation to hold a worthy temple of praise. He has promised provision. But not without sacrifice. His and mine.
Now when I praise, it’s because I know the sacrifice. I can still praise in the face of sacrifice. I praise, because He is faithful to my sacrifices. He is worthy of the praise, regardless of my supposed prosperity. Regardless of seemingly unanswered prayer, He is worthy of my praise! Though He slay me, yet shall I live!
Regardless of the church body you sit in or if you sit in one at all, don’t overlook offering up your own sacrifice of praise. Raise your hands. Clap your hands. Cry out to the Lord. There are others in your congregation that are waiting for a spiritual example. Don’t be embarrassed. You could bring a true revival of praise to your church. I’m so glad Jesus wasn’t embarrassed to sacrifice for me.