“Worship can be feelings manufactured without thought. If you repeat a thought long enough you think you can manufacture the right thought to engender the feeling. . . . I think we are flirting with a lot of issues that are very dangerous here.” -Ravi Zacharias.
“God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.” (John 4.24).
In worship should my primary focus be on God himself, His truths, His attributes, His awesome deeds, His salvation, His marvelous provisions or on my feelings? We can worship God when our emotions are high or when we are down. In the Psalms, David seemed to often be down when he spilled out his hurts, his guts, before God.
I would view worship options including: (1) treating singing as a Christian mantra-like atmosphere where the same song/ word/phrase is repeated over and over. Feelings are massaged, protracted urging, pushing them. This I presume is supposed to lift the person to some advanced spiritual plane, a deeper intimacy with God? Feelings not truth or intellect appear to be driving this elongated worship approach. Are massaging feelings the way to a deeper worship experience with God?;
(2) well known, spectator worship—mouthing words with the mind often disconnected to what one is singing. This is not difficult to spot looking around a congregation. Minds are wandering. Perhaps most of us can relate to this temptation, this tendency. I can. Worship takes concentration, effort. Especially when we don’t feel like it. Is it disrespectful to be talking to some one while our mind is wandering?;
“Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord . . ” (Eph 5.19)
(3) Conventional congregational worship can often be dutiful, cerebral but lacking in heart-felt zeal and compassion. True worship is talking to God—adoring, glorifying, praising, thanking, honoring, fellowshipping.
“O clap your hands, all ye people; shout unto God with a voice of triumph” (Psalm 47.1).
(4) Joyful worship where worshipper is focused–telling God what he thinks of Him by singing rich, edifying, doctrinal truths or uplifting heart felt lyrics. Hymns, scripture choruses and songs are used to glorify God and delight man’s heart —Davidic, Psalmic singing. Hand raising, hand clapping and shouts may be in order in some churches.
Because so many churches have flat, uninspiring worship, one hesitates to discourage any display of emotion. Yet whipping up emotions seems different to me than simple worship grounded in Spirit and in truth.
“O, come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation” (Psalm 95.1)