I am fortunate to live in a city that has a House of Prayer. It’s modeled after the International House of Prayer in Kansas City and is operated by a group of diverse churches throughout the area. And while it is not up to a 24/7 schedule there are many hours through the week that you can go and enjoy a wonderful sense of God’s presence and worship until you burst. That was my plan when I went one evening last week. I was looking forward to joining with other like-minded worshipers, but as I entered the church as was caught by surprise at what I saw. But first a bit of explanation. Each 2 hour block of the night is staffed by a worship leader (either alone with a band), a prayer leader and a watch leader. That evening, as I walked into the prayer room there were only three people there – the worship leader, the prayer leader and the watch leader – no one else had shown up to attend! As I sat down in the back row and looked at this empty room, I was momentarily taken aback. How can no one else show up? “What is wrong with people?” I thought to myself. Yet an even more powerful realization took hold. This young man leading worship was fully engaged and enraptured in worship. You could immediately tell that it didn’t matter how many people were there, he was going to worship his God.
I tell you this story because I have been thinking about my last blog post (The Successful Christian Life) for the last few weeks. What I experienced in the House of Prayer was a dramatic, real life illustration of what I was writing about. You see my initial reaction to the empty prayer room was about my assumptions and expectations of what a “successful” ministry should look like. The prayer should be full, or at least fuller. This was a “failure.” But it wasn’t for the worship leader. He just wanted to revel in God’s presence and rejoice in His goodness. Whether anyone else joined him or not was not the measure of a good night. And once I understood this and dropped my silly expectations, I spent the next two hours in the most marvelous and intense worship I had experience in quite a while.
I learned (again) that night that I can’t “walk by sight.” The things we see, the things we think are important, aren’t. I saw with my eyes an empty room, but my spirit experienced God. The room was full. It was full of worship, it was full of His Spirit, it was full of His angels attending to the worship. If I could have seen behind the scenes, I’m sure I would have seen a crowded room. And yet how many other times have I seen with my eyes and declared it a “failure”? How many times have I missed the Father at work because it didn’t look right to me?
So I walked away that night determined to carry with me into my daily, ordinary life what I learned that night – that the successful Christian life isn’t about how many people join you or how many people you can impress, but whether just living for One is enough.
Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing! Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations. (Psalm 100:1-5)
Worship for One is more than enough.