A Prayer for Greater Freedom to Worship God
Praise the Lord! Praise God in his sanctuary; praise him in his mighty heavens! Praise him for his mighty deeds; praise him according to his excellent greatness! Praise him with trumpet sound; praise him with lute and harp! Praise him with tambourine and dance; praise him with strings and pipe! Praise him with sounding cymbals; praise him with loud clashing cymbals! Let everything that has breath praise the Lord! Praise the Lord! Ps. 150
Most gracious Father, it occurs to me, as I meditate on this psalm, that I need a much bigger heart for the purposes of your praise. I need the gospel to expand my palate, multiply my taste buds, and increase my capacity to enjoy the rich diversity of worship which is offered by your pan-cultural beloved people. I realize not everything in this Psalm is required; but I also realize none of the expressions of worship here are off limits. Free, me Lord, free me.
My tendency is to treat this psalm, like many parts of your Word, as though it were a buffet line from which I pick and choose the items that I personally enjoy. What’s worse, I find ways to marginalize or eliminate expressions that don’t fit within my bandwidth of beauty; my short list of sonic acceptability; my small tribe’s liturgical okay.
I love harps and lyres, and strings and flutes; but trumpets are too piercing and loud; tambourines remind me of big tent bad theology; clashing and resounding cymbals remind me of my days in high school band; and there’s no way I’m going to dance in a service of worship. Father, all of this I confess as sin. My heart is just too small—too turned in on me. I know what I like and don’t like; but that’s not really the point in your worship.
Oh, how I long for the Day when the work of Jesus will be complete in my heart—when I’ll no longer be the measure of anything, and I’ll no longer offer a measured response to your glory and grace. I long for the Day when I will find great joy in celebrating your surpassing greatness with the whole family of God, with all of restored creation, with every single breath, instrument, sound, molecule, and nanoparticle.
Father, your greatest praiseworthy act of power was in sending, offering, and raising Jesus from the dead for us—for me. May the limits of my worship and praise be determined only by the riches and reach of the gospel. So very Amen I pray, in Jesus’ magnificent and merciful name.