She was the smiling face and out-stretched hand sitting across the aisle. I was new to the writer’s club; she welcomed me in. Cheryl Barker is a keeper. She is a sweet, genuine “neighbor”, a sister in Christ, and a writer. I’m jumping for joy because Cheryl has a new book on shelves. It’s her first! (Y’all that’s a huge accomplishment!) It’s a tool and gift for mothers of the bride. (Or, people like me who simply love looking through her fabulous ideas.) You can learn more in the “about” section below. But for now, please enjoy these words of worship from Cheryl Barker.
Personal Worship: An Approach to Life
“Good morning, Lord,” I whisper, after easing my eyes open and taking a much-needed stretch. I raise a hand heavenward to offer God my day and voice a prayer comprised of snippets of scripture as well as phrases I’ve heard from fellow believers.
“Lord, this day is yours, and so am I. My times are in your hands.” Snuggling down again for my last few seconds of rest, I continue to pray. “Help me today to be a blessing to you and a blessing to others. Protect me, Father, from the evil one. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so surround me with your peace and protection. May my life, oh Lord, be an overflow of my love for you. Lead and guide me through the day.”
And so my morning begins. These moments of worship are not only an offering to God but a time of renewal for me as well. Far more than just an item on my to-do list, personal worship is an approach to life, a way of starting each day that keeps me in closer communion with the Father.
The ways I’ve worshiped have changed over the years. When growing up, my Dad led my sisters and me in singing “The Doxology” as he took us to school on his way to work. Fast forward to my early days as a mother when the term prayer closet took on new meaning for me. Trying to avoid detection by my early-rising daughter, I knelt in the light of an open coat closet to read the Word and pray. And now that the nest is empty? I’ve experienced new freedom in my communion with the Lord.
Even though our methods for personal worship must change at times because of circumstances, I’ve discovered that worship is possible each day, if only in the sanctuary of our hearts and minds before the rest of the world knows we are awake. With a mindset of snatching quiet moments for ourselves or for including family members or coworkers in a worshipful moment, we can bring God joy through our praise and be personally refreshed in his presence.
Since I love to worship the Lord in song, what better way to start my day than to sing his praises as I move through my morning routine? The words of “The Doxology” still flow from my lips while other praise choruses soon follow. Whether doing make-up or starting laundry, I can commune with the Father as well.
Stepping out into God’s sanctuary, into the beauty of his world, also inspires me to worship. It takes no longer than a minute to connect with my Creator and give him the praise he is due. My senses come alive as I take in his handiwork. Once again I voice my praise. Once again my soul is nourished as I worship my Lord.
As time allows, I spend a few more minutes in focused worship, taking time to bow before the Father. In her Bible study Stepping Up, Beth Moore suggests going facedown before the Lord. I’ve found that even just being on my knees helps me truly worship and stay more focused on him when wandering thoughts distract me.
Sometimes I’m compelled by simply being in God’s all powerful presence to present heavy burdens to him. What starts as a time of adoration turns to pleading for a need that is particularly pressing, that needs his intervention. Is this not also worship as I cry out to him, acknowledging my desperate need for his help?
And what about the days I struggle? The times I just don’t feel a connection, when my songs and words seem to fall flat around me? I sing anyway. I press on and pray, knowing that my emotions are unreliable but my God is ever faithful. He will hear me and be touched as I try to honor him when my feelings confuse me.
At other times I fall into a performance trap and battle nagging worries. Am I worshipping right? Spending enough time? Too much time? Do I sing the same songs too often? What flawed thinking and subtly twisted motives! God wants our worship to be pure, an overflow of our love for him—not a duty or an effort to gain his favor or stay in his good graces. He has already, in his great love, granted us those things because of Jesus’s work on the cross.
Worship is not about rules. God is not looking at styles of worship; He’s looking at our hearts. And I’ve found that as I give him the praise and adoration he so richly deserves, he always out-gives me. He pours into my life the joy of fellowshipping with him and the mindset and strength I need for the day.
About Cheryl ~
Cheryl Barker loves to refresh spirits and nourish souls. She is the author of Mother of the Bride—Refreshment and Wisdom for the Mother of the Bride.
You may find her inspirational blog, her Mother of the Bride Blog, and info about her book at cherylbarker.net. More info about her book can also be found at MotheroftheBrideBook.com/. Cheryl would love to connect with you via the social media share buttons on her website as well!