Greetings, brothers and sisters. This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our series where we seek to explore the deeper meanings of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years, the heavenly Father has shared many revelations of spiritual truth with me, and I want to share them with you. This morning, we reflect upon the experience of worship.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
The Experience of Worship
"But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him." John, Chapter 4, Verse 25
Brothers and sisters, everything human beings acquire is the result of experience.
The nature of experience is that it results in ever-increasing knowledge, skill, and wisdom. Eventually we master the things we experience. And so it is with worship.
As we begin to worship, we do so with little experience. As we gain experience with worship, it results in profound and lasting consequences, namely eternal life, an endless life of the discovery of divine values and meanings. To experience the heights of true worship, we move through prayer-petitions to prayers of thanksgiving, which ushers us into the high plane of true worship. Let us consider a material analogy to give us a feel for the subjective experience of worship.
Usually in May and June, we experience ideal weather--not too hot or too cold. Usually a nice southerly breeze accompanies this ideal weather. On such a day, we are often moved emotionally. We often go on family outings on such days, such as picnics where we enjoy a refreshing break from the ordinary stresses of life, a truce of sorts. When we leave this pleasant environment, we feel refreshed and energized, ready to once again take up the never-ending struggles of life.
The experience of worship similarly allows us to step back from the struggles of life and bathe in the refreshing, communing presence of the Father. It puts the mind at rest and relieves the self of accumulated tensions from the stress of striving to achieve. The experience of worship continues to grow in quality (of appreciation) until it becomes the most pleasurable experience known. Bathing in the conscious presence of the heavenly Father imparts that security and confidence of the soul that is so necessary to enjoy tranquillity of spirit as we traverse the many trials and tribulations of this life.
Between the beginning stages of worship and the high estate of having become true worshipers, there is a long period of time in which we simply engage in petitioning the Father. Since we are material creatures, these petitions are likely to be material in nature. But as the growth of the soul continues and under the influence of the Father's spirit, our petitions change into prayers of thanksgiving. The growth of our souls increasingly enables us to recognize divine values and meanings as the province of prayer. We begin to pray for divine values and meanings to sustain us as we grapple with the moral and spiritual challenges in our lives.
As time goes, on we become more and more skilled at recognizing and utilizing the divine values and meanings revealed to us by the divine spirit, with the assistance of our guardian angels. Eventually we reach a plateau in recognizing, acquiring, and using divine values and meanings. We recognize and appreciate that the Father has answered all of our prayers concerned with our past and present moral struggles; we have faith that he will supply our future spiritual needs. After such a realization, we become grateful.
At this point our souls begin to appreciate the magnificent character of the Father and become filled with adoration for him. We burst into spontaneous worship, identifying completely with him. It should be noted that at all stages of the worship experience, there are elements of thanksgiving and worship, but they are overshadowed by petitions. As this process continues, the prayers of petition subside as they are displaced by prayers of thanksgiving. Finally the prayers of thanksgiving give way as they are superseded by spontaneous worship.
While prayer may be sustaining, worship does something else for us. While prayer teaches us how to do the Father's will, worship imparts that transformative quality to our souls that allows us to increasingly execute that will in perfection. Worship increasingly makes us like the object of worship. When we worship the heavenly Father, we become increasingly like him, we become more and more spiritual and less and material. The experience of worship makes us perfect like the heavenly Father is perfect. It transmutes all of those animal qualities into spiritual ones. Thus we move away from identifying with material values to spiritual values. As time goes on, and we gather experience with the practice of worship; we become more patient, more tolerant, and more forbearing.
We begin to view reality as the Father does; we see the universe as friendly. We begin to allow love to flow through us without interruption. We become filled with faith, trust, and hope. We become like the Apostle Paul, who uttered: ". . . I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor authorities, neither present nor future affairs, neither powers of the heights nor of the depths, nor anything else created will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
The experience of worship configures our souls into the image of his Son, who is the personal revelation of the spirit Father. As we travel the lonely valleys of this material life, the experience of worship lifts our souls out of the lonely valleys and places us on the mountaintop of his love. The experience of worship is the secret of eternal life. As we experience worship, we identify more and more with the Father until we become like he is, eternal. The experience of worship equips us with the moral courage and spiritual power to continue on with the race of earthly struggle until we finally cross the finish line. The experience of worship powerizes our faith journey.
Finally the experience of worship makes us a true worshiper, one who has learned to perfectly worship the Father in spirit and truth.
This concludes today's message on understanding the meaning of the experience of worship. We hope you find something in this message to ponder and pray about as you go about your day.