I wedged myself half onto my daughter’s hospital bed. The other half rested uncomfortably over the gap between my cot and Charity’s paralyzed body. I’d prayed every possible prayer in every possible way. I’d pled, I’d believed and I’d offered God solutions, but His silence deafened the dark room at Mayo Clinic in 2007. If all the prayers that I’d ever prayed before were rolled into one big prayer ball, they wouldn’t equal the desperate prayers of the last weeks.
I was prayer exhausted. I hadn’t slept well since an MRI revealed a brain stem mass nearly two months before. In some nether land of sorrow and fog, I stretched beside her, laying us both on the altar of vivid sacrifice.
Partly because there was nothing more to pray for Charity, and partly because I no longer knew how to pray for Charity, I began to whisper into her ear fundamental truths of God, going through the alphabet.
“Ancient of Days, All in All, Alpha-Omega, Blessed, Beloved, Bread of Heaven, Cornerstone, Creator, Counselor, Defender, Divine, Deliverer…”
In John 4:24 Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.” (NKJV)
In a conversation that wound around form, tradition and location of worship, Jesus cut through all the externals and affirmed something so easily forgotten. True worship has nothing to do with any of those.
Jonah worshipped God in the belly of the whale. Daniel worshipped Him in the lion’s den. Peter and Paul worshipped him in prison. Job stripped of possessions and his ten children, fell to the ground and worshipped.
- True worship generates from deep inside the soul.
- True worship remains consistent with the truth of Scripture.
- True worship acknowledges God as Sovereign over all.
- True worship comes from a surrendered will and heart.
With all the bargaining chips gone, within the worst circumstances I’d ever known, my focus shifted. The “whys” faded and the Who became more glorious.
The practice became my anchor. Each day, I bent my forehead to hers, and whispered through an alphabet of praise.
“Prince of Peace, Pure, Passover Lamb, Redeemer, Rock, Refugee, Shelter, Shepherd, Savior…”
In the quiet night of whirring machines and red blinking lights, I climbed the altar again, scooched next to her still form, turned my face to ear and declared into the silence, “Healer, Helper, Hope…”
And worship soared.