My church has been participating in a series called Bold Prayer. Each week, our pastor, Hays McKay, has shared how prayer helps us to listen to God, connect with God, have confidence, and that we are to pray with eyes wide open. I had the opportunity to speak at our Night of Worship to conclude this sermon series and I shared how prayer is a form of worship. You can watch the live recording of this event, listen on our new podcast, or read below. Enjoy!
Creation was made to worship God.
We see this throughout scripture but I love how the psalmist states this truth below:
What I love about this passage is the action that the heaven and the sky and the sun are doing.
The heavens declare the glory of God.
The skies proclaim the work of his hands.
The sun rises each day like a bride walking down the aisle.
Creation's job, its' purpose, its' reason for existence, is to worship God.
We see this from the very beginning of the Bible, in Genesis 1, as God separated the light from the darkness, created the heavens, the earth, the sun, the moon, the stars. God created the sky and the ocean, the sea and the land, livestock, vegetation, birds, and fish. This word, created, in Hebrew is bara which is an action verb whose subject is always God.
God created the universe. He also created you. And me.
God said in Genesis 1:26, "Let us make man in our image, in our likeness." When He uses the words "us" and "our," He is showing us how the Holy Trinity was present in the action of creating man. Not only did God create the world to worship Him, but He created us to be creatures who worship God. This term, worship, is a feeling or expression of reverence and adoration for a deity. Prayer is a way to worship because when we pray, we ask God for help or we give Him thanks. Prayer is an action, a way for us to worship God.
One of the things that I love about God is how He communicates back to us through nature. There are some places on this Earth where I feel God's presence more than other places. Where do you feel God's presence? Is it the mountains, when you take a hike and reach the top to finally see the majestic views of nature all around you? Or, is it the lake, with its quiet waters where you can sit and be still before God? What about the beach? Are you like me, and feel God's presence most at the beach? My family, we are beach people. From the moment we cross over the bridge and roll down our windows, we can feel God's presence on our skin through the salty and sticky air. Then, when we walk down to the beach we take in the crystal clear blue waters and the crisp white sand and we sit in our chairs and allow the wind from the waves to wash God all over us. The thing that I love most about the beach are the sunsets, God's grand finale for each day.
Recently, we were at the beach and had the chance to witness God's glory as this beautiful sunset filled with bright orange and fiery red rays set over the waters. We couldn't help but stand with our jaws open, gaping at the sheer beauty of color that was being displayed in front of us. In that moment, we worshiped God.
But then, we came home. I don't know about you, but sometimes I lose sight of God when I get back into my familiar daily routine. When I come home from places like the beach and begin my Monday morning, all I can think about from the moment I wake up is how I need to get the kids fed, dressed, and make it to school on time. Once I get everyone dropped off, I begin to think about work and my to-do list and all the things that need my attention. After I'm finished with work I've got to get the kids to their extracurricular activities and find time to work out and then figure out what's for dinner. Before I know it, I don't even see the sun rise or the sun set because I'm so consumed by my schedule. I get distracted and drift away from worshiping God.
Here's another thing about being in familiar places; often we are in these places with the people who are most familiar to us: our family. When we are in our comfort zones, chilling in our jammies, sometimes we don't always choose to live by the fruits of the Spirit. We yell for our kids to go to bed or say a snarky remark to our husband. We tell our mom to back off and give us space. We aren't always our best selves with the people who we are around the most. This is when Satan begins to work. He gets in our heads and manipulates us with his lies and uses our schedules to distract us from worshiping God. Satan attacks us in our familiar, comfortable places.
I want to ask you this: what has your attention? Have you stopped noticing God and giving Him praise?
I don't know if this is true in your own life, but I know that in my life, when I stop noticing God, suddenly everything looks dark. No longer do I see the sun; I am consumed with darkness. In the darkness, it's easy to get desperate. Suddenly, I begin to wonder what my purpose is and why am I having to go through such hardship. It is here that fear overtakes me and I am afraid.
Is God even with me?
You know what is so cool about God and the creation story? Not only was Jesus with God at the beginning of creation, but Revelations tells us that he will be with God in the end. John proclaims that Jesus is light and life. Hebrews 1:1-3 announces that "God's son is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature and he upholds the universe by the word of his power." Jesus, like the sun, gives light to this world, and is a constant reminder that God is with us, even in the darkness. God knew how we would feel alone in the darkness, so He gave us the moon and the stars to shed light on this earth. The moon, a rock in the sky, was made to reflect the sun, giving us light in the night. Are we not like the moon, created to reflect the light of Jesus to this world? This is our purpose, this is why we were made. When we reflect the love of Christ in our homes, our work, and our communities, we are worshiping God.
The Lord tells us not to fear, don't be afraid. We can take comfort in this truth and no longer be consumed by the darkness because God is always with us. As we move throughout our days and grow in our faith, we will begin to step into unfamiliar territory. It's not always easy, but let us remember that God's love covers us like the sun and He provides the moon for us in the darkness. We've got nothing to be afraid of.
Join me in this prayer:
May our worship to God be new like the sunrise, vast as the ocean, mighty as a mountain. Let us allow the Spirit to dance inside us like the wind and the love of Christ be what we reflect to others like the moon. Thank you God for creating us to worship you. Amen.
For further reflection, listen to So Will I (100 Billion X) by Hillsong UNITED.