On Your Knees, Carpet Worn Worship

“Oh sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. The LORD has made known his salvation; he has revealed his righteousness in the sight of the nations. He has remembered his steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. Make a joyful noise to the LORD, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises! Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre, with the lyre and the sound of melody! With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD! Let the sea roar, and all that fills it; the world and those who dwell in it!” Psalm 98:1-7

Out of the immense number of ways to “worship” God, one of my favorites is through music. Shocking I know. I love how God has put songs in my soul to worship Him. I love how He has spoken to me through music. I love sitting in the midst of lyric-less melodies and thinking about His goodness. I love listening to or reading the background stories of why certain songs were written. How the words came to be. What was going on in a person’s life. What God was teaching someone. So many of the lyrics I’ve read about are a result of God’s grace, people’s pain and reliance on God, and/or simply authentic worship.

I am convinced that worship not only glorifies God, but it brings us to a deeper focus on the Creator! And in that stillness and humbleness His voice can be so clear.

“There’s nothing quite like an on your knees, carpet worn sort of worship.” Jason Temu (Hillsong Worship Vocalist)

I remember looking back on times God has spoken to me in the midst of musical worship. Each of these were humble “on your knees, carpet worn worship” moments.

Kari Jobe was leading It is Well. It was the first time I’d ever heard the new version of the song. That day I was (and had been for months) fighting the bitterness of a wretched situation. I remember being on my knees and hearing the lyrics over and over…It is well with my soul. And then in complete clarity felt God say to my heart, “In order for you to serve me well, this has to be well with your soul.” Leading to automatic and authentic forgiveness, a burden lifted, and an opportunity to witness to a woman whom, up to that point, I’d only held anger toward.

I later looked up the story behind the original It is Well  lyrics. If you’ve never read the story, it’s definitely worth it. (https://www.umcdiscipleship.org/resources/history-of-hymns-it-is-well-with-my-soul) “I understood the power of a hymn to transcend time and culture to address human tragedy with assurance. Though the hymn begins with loss, it ends in eschatological hope for the day when “faith shall be sight.”‘ (Michael Hawn)

Another moment…after days and days of arguing with God when I felt the first urge of Him leading me to surrender to the ministry, I found myself again on me knees during worship. I’d never heard this song in a worship service, and haven’t since that Thursday night, but part of the lyrics say…

If You say “go” we will go
If You say “wait” we will wait
If You say “step out on the water”
And they say it can’t be done
We’ll fix our eyes on You and we will come

Your ways are higher than our ways
And the plans that You have laid
Are good and true
If You call us to the fire
You will not withdraw Your hand
We’ll gaze into the flames and look for You

(By: Diane Thiel)

It was in that moment I surrendered. I had been making up all the excuses in the book. I can’t speak. I’m scared of flying so missions are out. I can’t sing. I can’t play instruments. How will you use me? I had no idea what He was calling me to at that moment. For a few years, when I was doing mission work off and on through college and then as I was preparing for my first “longer-ish” bit of work, I thought it was clear…but feel it’s safe to say I am currently in the “wait” that these lyrics refer to. Regardless, I go back to that moment and remember that I have surrendered to His leadership in my life.

The last example…it was while worshiping completely by myself, on my knees once again, that I experienced for the first time the fullness of the authority God has given us to withstand spiritual battle. Speaking Jesus’ name in the midst of darkness and feeling immediate and complete peace made “spiritual battle” much more clear and the power we have in His name much more clear.

The common denominator of all of these moments when God spoke to me during worship was that they were all an “on your knees, carpet worn sort of worship.” Are we shackled by agendas and schedules? Are we tormented by our growling stomachs or the song list? Are we hindered from true worship or surrender because we think the person standing next to us might flip if we sway too much, if we praise too loudly or if we find ourselves on our knees?

I grew up in a church where the people WORSHIPED!! The remnants of these memories from when I was 10 and under highlight the long haired lady dancing, a tambourine in the crowd, people on their knees, shouts of praise and “hallelujahs,” and on occasion the impatient hungry kid in me wondering when it would end. It wasn’t the type of church that let out for lunch…it was the church who’s worship team stayed and played and worshiped and worshiped…and worshiped!

After months of longing for this, Kyle and I invited a houseful of people over last week for intimate simple worship. For nearly two hours we worshiped with other believers in our living room floor. These are my favorite moments. No agenda, no schedule. Playing until your fingers are too sore to take it anymore or your voice starts to leave you. (If you want to come next time, let me know!)

Looking at God’s creation, experiencing His grace, His goodness, His love, greatness, splendor…it makes sense that we were made to worship Him. There’s a song Hillsong Worship is playing these days called So Will I (100 Billion X). I love that it highlights God’s creation, His power, and the worship He deserves! Here’s the link to listen, but if you don’t, you should at least read the lyrics below. 

Bye friends! 🙂


God of creation
There at the start
Before the beginning of time
With no point of reference
You spoke to the dark
And fleshed out the wonder of lightAnd as You speak
A hundred billion galaxies are born
In the vapor of Your breath the planets form
If the stars were made to worship so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You’ve made
Every burning star
A signal fire of grace
If creation sings Your praises so will IGod of Your promise
You don’t speak in vain
No syllable empty or void
For once You have spoken
All nature and science
Follow the sound of Your voiceAnd as You speak
A hundred billion creatures catch Your breath
Evolving in pursuit of what You said
If it all reveals Your nature so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You say
Every painted sky
A canvas of Your grace
If creation still obeys You so will I
So will I
So will IIf the stars were made to worship so will I
If the mountains bow in reverence so will I
If the oceans roar Your greatness so will I
For if everything exists to lift You high so will I
If the wind goes where You send it so will I
If the rocks cry out in silence so will I
If the sum of all our praises still falls shy
Then we’ll sing again a hundred billion timesGod of salvation
You chased down my heart
Through all of my failure and pride
On a hill You created
The light of the world
Abandoned in darkness to dieAnd as You speak
A hundred billion failures disappear
Where You lost Your life so I could find it here
If You left the grave behind You so will I
I can see Your heart in everything You’ve done
Every part designed in a work of art called love
If You gladly chose surrender so will I
I can see Your heart
Eight billion different waysEvery precious one
A child You died to save
If You gave Your life to love them so will ILike You would again a hundred billion times
But what measure could amount to Your desire
You’re the One who never leaves the one behind(Songwriters: Joel Houston / Benjamin Hastings / Michael Fatkin)

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