True Worship

I come from a musical background. I’ve formally studied a few instruments, and performed as a “professional” for a number of years before having kids and pursuing full-time ministry. What I tell many beginner students is, that, over time playing music gets significantly easier once there is an understanding how western music is put together. Musicians learn to understand a common language, and over time can perform together with ease. 

Whether it is classic rock or a classical concerto, songs generally have a standard framework or “song structure.” It often consists of three sections, most notably a verse, a chorus, and a bridge. Instrumental music won’t term them in the same way, but will generally carry sections called exposition, development and recapitulation. Keeping this in mind, there is tremendous variety and diversity within the limitless libraries of music, yet they share common and standardized format in how they are framed.

A.W. Tozer wrote an inspiring book called The Knowledge of the Holy in 1961 on a single train ride from Chicago to Texas. You should get your hands on it. The book is 23 chapters in length and follows a consistent pattern through each chapter, a pattern by which we, the reader, might actually be able to converse in the language of Almighty God. Tozer himself suggested “since this book is neither esoteric nor technical, and since it is written in the language of worship with no pretension to elegant literary style, perhaps some persons will be drawn to read it.”

Writer Jordan Chamblee sets the scene in this way: The gentle rhythm of the train and the hum of muted voices threatened to lull A. W. Tozer to sleep. His eyelids were heavy and his back ached from the less-than-comfortable springs in his seat. He squinted at the hurriedly jotted lines in his journal, which grew shakier as they wound towards the place where he had stopped, pen poised over the page held tightly in cold fingers. He brushed away the crumbs from his dinner – a cold piece of toast – that had fallen on the page. Some of the crumbs found their way into the gutter between the pages, and after a tired attempt to remove them with a fingernail he let them be. He breathed deeply, set down his pen and rubbed the grit out of eyes with his knuckles. He shook himself a little and looked back at his writing. “… Faith is the gaze of a soul upon a saving God.”  

“The gaze of a soul.” Page by page, chapter by chapter, the reader is drawn in to listen to the melody, feel the rhythmic pulse, and fully immerse into a new song. The soaring tune of what the Christian can expect to discover when his heart is set on pursuing God. Here is the framework I see for the song.

Start With Prayer. (Verse)
Seek The Heart of God. (Chorus)
Study The Surrounding Culture. (Bridge)

Biographers tell us that Aiden Wilson Tozer was known to arrive at his office in the early morning, change into a pair of old pants so he wouldn’t wrinkle his slacks, and pray for a up to three hours at a time—beginning on the couch, but soon moving to the floor, face buried in the carpet. This was a man who pursued hard after God. Many of us have the desire to work and do mighty things for the Kingdom of God, to be “on fire” for Jesus. With all the best of intentions, have we forgot to pursue Him? Have we actually learned what true worship is? 


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