In thinking about worship and what separates a good worship session from a great one, I realize that one key ingredient is passion. Passion is defined as intense emotional excitement or the object of any strong desire.í The word passionate is defined as Ďshowing strong feelings, ardent, zealous, glowing, burning or sensual.í When our worship rises to that level of high emotional engagement, the worship changes, Godís heart is stirred, and there is an eternal exchange between us and the Object of our Affection.
The times of worship I recall as being so intense, and therefore memorable, were times that were emotional to the point of affecting my senses. One time Joann McFatter was leading, and she began to sing about the Lion of Judah as though He was prowling about searching out hearts. I remember a mental picture came as she sang that exposed my heart to Him. It was both intimate and almost frightening. When I looked around the room, many people were either on the floor or under their chairs because of a sense of awe of the Lordís presence.
Another time Rob Sterns was leading at an Eagleís Wings conference. The worship became so intimate that I both felt and had a picture in my mindís eye of a dove encircling me. I almost felt like I would lift off of the ground as my heart was touching His. As I looked around the room the people were engaged with God in a time of consecration or renewed devotion toward Him.
There have been times at the Gate DC when His presence has been so tangible that I become engaged with Him in ways that are beyond the typical worship time. One time we were singing about the Holy of Holies, and there was Jesus standing at the Mercy Seat beckoning me. There have been other times when the level of deep devotion was weighty, and I needed to sit or lie down (or fall down!)
How is passion created and maintained? I pray for the answer! I noticed in all of these instances that the passion came not only from the worship team but from all the worshippers in the room. There must be a collective hunger, an entreatment from the hearts, perhaps a unity of desire that creates an atmosphere for the King of Glory, our Magnificent Obsession to be present in the worship. The scripture says that He is enthroned in the praises of His people. When He is exalted by passionate worshippers, He comes into our midst. I also noticed in the examples I used that when the worship becomes passionate, the revelatory realm becomes open to me. That is something more personal to me and not required in order to define an intimate or passionate worship session. What is important is an experience with Him that leaves us changed, for no one can encounter the Living God and remain the same.
Mike Bickle has written extensively about this topic of passion. On his GODTV show ĎThe Daily Devotionalí the prayer time always starts with praying for our own hearts to increase passion. By praying for ourselves to have passion, we create inside our hearts a place for passion to be birthed, nurtured and grown. Wade Taylor teaches us to pray that He would expand our capacity for Him; there would be an expansion inside of us to experience more of Him. This allows us to expand our relationship with Him and thereby allows us to demonstrate His powerful love to others in a greater measure.
I want to know Him. I want to explore the height, width, depth and breadth of Him and His love. If I donít encounter Him in tangible ways, if I only know Him because of what Iíve read in scripture, if my heart and His donít beat in unison then Iíve missed it. I missed the opportunity of making my time in this earth the most rich it could possibly be. More important, I have missed knowing Him and experiencing Him. My heart must be indelibly marked with His fingerprints. My mind must think His thoughts and hear His whispers. My soul must be governed by His emotions, and my spirit must move and soar with His.
It has been said that it takes God to know God. We love Him because He first loved us. I pray that God would do what only He can do: draw us into relationship with Him, deeper and deeper and deeper relationship with Him until there are no longer two but one, the One. Enoch knew that secret. I want to know it too.
Lord, raise up a passionate generation who will have a single heart and a single eye for You. Raise up worshippers whose hearts are prepared to encounter You in love relationship. Raise up Your Enoch generation who will know You in such a way that they will be one with You. You are worthy, Oh God, to receive glory and honor and praise for You have created all things and for Your pleasure we are created. Let us bring You great pleasure with passionate hearts loving You with everything we are!
Blessings to you,
Referenced reading materials:
Passion for Jesus by Mike Bickle
The Secret of the Stairs by Wade Taylor