Worship Without Fear

Should acts of worship only be done in private? How should we worship when we are out and about in our community? 🤔 Let's discuss.

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Transcript:

Hello, welcome to Walking in Step with God. I am Steve McDonald. Today we explore the topic “Worship Without Fear” as we continue our series “The Power of Worship”. 

Today, we explore the intersection of acts of worship and how we engage with our communities. Certainly, there are many forms of worship. Praise and prayer are popular forms of worship. Giving and performing acts of service are also ways we can worship God. 

While many forms of worship can be done in private, others will most certainly involve our interactions with others. Others in our family, others in our circle of friends, and even others in our workplace.

Performing acts of worship, in particular in front of others, can be an endeavor that stirs up fear in our hearts. Exposing our faith, especially in front of strangers can be a source of anxiety. What is at the root of our anxiety in these times? Fear of judgment? Fear of rejection? Fear of criticism?

In today’s message, I would like to explore 3 opportunities to worship without fear. Let us learn how we can worship God with confidence, knowing that our intention in acts of worship is not to please others but to honor, recognize, and express our gratitude to God.

Before we get started, why don’t we take a quick break? I will be right back.

Welcome back. Let’s continue in our discussion of 3 opportunities that we can worship without fear.

#1 Serving or giving to others in our community

Our communities are filled with opportunities to serve others in need. Giving and serving others is a powerful way to worship and be used by God in ways you never imagined. While there are certainly opportunities to give and perform acts of service when we are alone, I want to encourage you to consider ways you can serve in such a way that you are interacting with others in person. Consider ways that strengthen your confidence in serving others and serving God. For example, anyone can press a donate button on their phone, but it takes much more to approach someone homeless to offer them a meal.

I want to share a short story with you about a time early in my walk with God when I faced my fears of serving someone in need. One day I was exiting a grocery store hurriedly to my car. As I passed through the door, someone was holding out their hands asking for financial help. Yes, my inclination was to smile and keep walking like everyone else, but something stirred in me. I did hesitate at first but decided in a few moments to turn around and approach her. I offered to pray with her. She fervently shook her head yes in agreement. I put my groceries down and we stood next to the entrance, held hands and I prayed for her out loud. Being a shy and private person, I will admit I was riddled with feelings of fear from the eyes of those exiting the store. I believe my thought was “I bet they are saying, ‘How can they be doing that right here!’”, but then again – I could say that same thing in a tone of joy, as others consider the lengths we are going to – standing at that entrance in plain sight to worship God in prayer. By the time we finished the prayer a minute or two later, the woman was in tears. I asked her name and told her I promised to pray for her from now on. I continue to pray for her to this day.

Yes, I felt the anxiety and discomfort of being so bold before God that day, but that act took me to an entirely new level of boldness with my faith and equipped me to approach many others without fear in the months and years that would follow to this very day.

If you have never served someone or given to someone in need in public or a group setting, I encourage you to ask God to send that opportunity to you. Doing so will strengthen your faith and give you courage in a way that reduces your fears for future opportunities to serve in plain sight.

#2 Praise, prayer, and fellowship with others

When we gather in groups of like-minded believers, there is an opportunity to be our authentic selves in our praise, worship, and even prayer with others. In this setting, we may have feelings of anxiety similar to those that we may feel in displaying acts of worship in public, but we need not fear.

As we praise in our places of worship and pray alongside others, God is not concerned with the quality of our voice in song or that we know the ‘exact’ words to say. God knows every one of us, including our strengths and weaknesses, and knows when we are sincerely and genuinely in a posture of worship.

I will confess that when I first started this ministry, I felt afraid of what others would think when I prayed in each of these messages. I have others in my family that I consider ‘skillful’ prayers. I still have a little hesitation to this day, but I recognize that the Holy Spirit is with me even as I speak these words, so I need not be afraid. I fellowship and pray with you, without fear.

 

#3 Private time with God

When you worship in prayer or have quiet time with God, there should be no fear in your heart. In our private time, perhaps we feel fear and anxiety because we have racing thoughts or distractions getting in the way of our prayers. Perhaps we wonder if we are praying the right way. Perhaps we wonder if we are not doing enough of something or too much of something. Perhaps, we feel fear that are are not presenting ourselves to God in the ‘correct’ way. 

What I would say is this: We have human relationships in our lives where we honor, love, and respect one another. Our relationship with God is no different; we honor and love and show respect for our heavenly Father. God knows our hearts, and I believe He will see the sincerity in trying to worship Him in our private time with Him. 


Do not get caught up on worshiping God with perfection, instead, approach Him with love and respect. Ask Him to help you and show you how you can have a strong and meaningful relationship with Him. Over time, the methods in which you worship Him in your quiet time will evolve into a way that He knows is best for you.

 

 Wrap Up

In today’s message, we discussed three opportunities to worship without fear. We discussed the fact that displaying our acts of worship in a way that is visible to others can be uncomfortable at first, but the more you do it, the less fearful you become. We explored the fact that worship with others is an opportunity to fellowship, pray, and praise without fear of judgment. We learned that when we are around other like-minded individuals in worship, we should not feel that acceptance from others is the most important thing. We should know that our intentional presence before God is most important. Lastly, we discussed private time with God as an excellent opportunity to worship. When we have private time with our Father, we should not be worried about prayer and praise being ‘perfect’. 

We need not worship in fear. Our priority in acts of worship is not what others will think, but what God will observe in our actions. Are there areas of worship in your life that you feel fearful of?  Ask God to equip you with the wisdom and courage to pursue the acts of worship that will please Him today.

Are you interested in discovering more about the guidance offered in this message? Learn more in the companion article Going Deeper with the Word – Worship Without Fear

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