True Worship Has Nothing To Do With Those

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.

Pure adoration is not imprisoned within a church, style of music or sleek presentation. Nor is it reliant on circumstances or events. It isn’t bound to God’s response or His silence. Worship has no ifs, ands or buts.

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.

17 Replies

  1. DON Reply

    Many thanks, Sylvia. Again, God’s words through you have cut to the heart of the matter … of true worship.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thanks Don.

  2. Donna Burke Reply

    Thank you for that! I needed it.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you. So grateful.

  3. Rebecca Thesman Reply

    I love the visual of your mother heart pushing past the Why and also this line, “Pure adoration is not imprisoned within a church, style of music or sleek presentation.” Write on !

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thanks for the encouragement Rebecca!

  4. Trisha Reply

    Excellent, well put. Thank you.

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thank you Trisha.

  5. Marilyn Krehbiel Reply

    Oh how precious is true worship!! It seems I don’t learn unless ‘hard’ times are endured!! Thanks so much for sharing what the LORD is teaching you!! Many blessings on your days!!

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      I know what you mean. I often feel worship comes after all the begging, and that’s so not right!

  6. marie-france Reply

    Very touched…with you in empathy…i have no words

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      Thanks Marie-France.


    God is good all the time!

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      He is.

  8. Peggy Burns Reply

    I am grateful that although we no longer attend Northwest Bible, we receive the newsletter and I had access to your blog. Your words are inspiring and I learned more about prayer and worship from reading your blog than I have from any other source in a long time. Blessings, Peggy Burns

    • Sylvia Schroeder Reply

      I am absolutely humbled by your kind words. So grateful that God has used this blog. Thank you for reading and commenting!