Discovering Worship

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Bargain store sandals clapped along the marble walkway, echoing off the stone columns as I made my way. Sticky palms gripped the music as I worried about being denied acceptance. Then I saw her. Calling to me like an angel itself: The black grand piano on center stage in this majestic college chapel.

I slipped in a pew half way as I tried patiently to wait my turn. The man behind the keys now was classically trained, I could tell. He didn’t miss a beat while he played every arpeggio I’ve ever attempted. Memorized no less.

Fear found me as the panel of professors found him lacking. Said they would have to collaborate and get back to him on what path of instruction would be available to him.

Then my name was called. Me. Days into my 18 year-old frame. One more self-taught than trained, not having lessons in years. And I was being asked to prove myself worthy of a program they held in highest regard.

With a quick prayer I made my way to center stage and swiftly sat in the velvet-padded bench before her. My fingertips graced the ivories without sound as I became familiar with her touch. That’s when I decided. To delight in the experience of playing one so grand. Even if it was just this once. For Him.

Unlike the students before me, I had chosen to play a few hymns I had composed as a medley. I assumed that decision, neglecting to play a classical piece, would be my demise. Still, this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and I was going to savor every moment.

With one quick prayer, I was ready to begin:

“Father, thank You for bringing me this far. This one’s for You…”

Fear escaped with each press of my fingers. My shoulders relaxed when I finally let myself go.  And my heart declared the words of these hymns — those I had written in the margins of my score.

Friends, I laid it all out that day. And for the first time in my life I had found it: Worship.

My sandals slapped the marble once again as I left, acceptance in hand. Anticipating my mother and cousin waiting around the bend. And when I saw them I realized they felt my time of worship, too. One sitting on the edge of her seat, anxious to hear all about it. The other undone. With tear-stained cheeks. Had worshiped with me another way.

You see, friends, worship isn’t only found while singing before a service. If that were the case, He would have made us all vocal savants. No. Worship is found when you lay your life down in exchange for His. In complete and utter admiration.

One of the first times I recall worship being discussed in the Bible is found in I Chronicles 16. When David appointed Asaph and his associates to give praise in this manner (I’m paraphrasing to save you time, but please take a look at it sometime):

  • Give thanks to God
  • Proclaim His greatness
  • Reflect on and share His wonders
  • Search for Him
  • Fear Him above all else, as you see His splendor
  • Give Him His glory due
  • Present yourself an offering as you come into His presence
  • Rejoice for He is good! All the time.

and my favorite one is found in I Chron. 16:23:
“Each day proclaim the good news that He saves.”

Friends, it’s not about singing at all. It’s about communion. Admiration. Surrender. Glory.

God has gifted each of us with multiple ways to worship well. It’s not about finding a skill you’ve mastered; it’s about letting go and letting God’s glory resound. It’s about discovering those moments in your every day where you can freely lay yourself down and see Him. You won’t be able to help but praise Him. For that’s how He has made us.

We’re made to worship.

How about you, friend? How do you worship best? How do you let yourself go to glorify Him? I’d love to hear.

Thanks for sharing your time with me.

Simply striving,




48 thoughts on “Discovering Worship

    • You would think, Joy, it would become easier to do…forget yourself. It does some, but my goodness…I’m still striving. The worship is worth it! Praise God!

      Thank you, friend, for reading…you bless me so.

  1. I’ve just had a worship experience through reading your blog post. He, and your love for Him and how we can share our love, too, comes shining through. Thanks Nikki!!

  2. Come Thou Almighty King & Holy Holy Holy…

    I still remember… 🙂

    I do recall pacing as well as sitting on the edge of my seat. 😀 It was an honor to be there by your side. I was so proud of you!!!! (and still am!!!)

    I am so glad you are writing on the true meaning of worship. I feel there are so many who struggle with how to fully worship and because they may lack a love of music or don’t feel their vocal capacity is as high as the worship leader they give up and say “worship just isn’t for me.” i’ve been told this and it makes my heart ache….I can only imagine how He feels. 😦 As I’ve been leading worship more at our church I’ve noticed a growing desire to teach others how to worship and the Truth behind worship. I covet your prayers as I step into this task, I’m certain, He’s laid before me. And I may end up quoting you a time or two. 😉 Love ya, Nikk!!!

    • Ahhh, it was just two hymns, wasn’t it! those were the hymns I remembered as well, but thought for whatever reason I used part of another hymn as a bridge between the two. So bummed I couldn’t find that worn sheet music filled with all my scribblings. You have a far better memory than I I’m afraid. But at least I remember the important, defining moment! 🙂 And the sound of my payless shoes. my goodness was I ever embarrassed!

      I didn’t know you paced…funny. even in our teen selfish years, we loved each other.

      And I’m proud of YOU, cousin, for putting yourself out there for Him. Trusting He will shine through you as I’ve seen Him do countless times. Yes. I’ll be praying for you. as always.
      Love you, too!

  3. Girl, we are totally kindred. That was my audition at college. Not what the others did….not what my voice teacher wanted me to do – but what I wanted to sing. That worship is awesome and amazing!!

  4. Nikki, tears stream down my face as I read your words. Not so much about your audition on that grand lady, but more about the words defining worship from the heart. Each day. I’ve been in a drought lately . . . the words don’t come easily for my blog or for my book. In fact, words just don’t come easy even in conversation. I think I’ve stepped away . . . again. Not meaning too, of course, but distracted by other forces in my world.

    Thank you, dear friend, for opening my eyes, my heart and my soul tonight. Would you say a short little prayer that I’ll be refreshed with the words to share His message?

    • Father, I humbly come before You to lift up my dear friend Sherrey to You. What a blessed encouragement she has been to me these last few months. Always pointing me towards You. Urging me to continue striving. For Your glory.
      Lord, give her the embrace I long to give her. Wrap Your loving arms around her in ways only You can. Whisper in her ear how much You love her. Need her. Have planned for her. Renew the spirit within her. Holy Spirit, guide her footsteps. Help her to see clearly. Provide the words that glorify our Redeemer most. For then I know she will be able to shed all and simply be. Resting in Abba’s presence. Captivated by His grace….

      • Nikki, my heart swells to read your beautiful prayer for me, for me to be refreshed and refilled. Taking today off from the computer and other things to go play in the berry fields. Perhaps communing there is a step in the right direction. Thank you, dear friend!

  5. These words of yours: “it’s about letting go and letting God’s glory resound.” Amen, and amen…Love your story, and how you worshiped Him so completely…so beautifully…wish I could hear you play…praying that God is continuing to guide you and your beloved family… we miss Jubi but I know God led us to make the right decision at the right time…His timing…{{HUGS}} Hope we get to meet one day 🙂 P.S. Jennifer gave me a hug today from you…sniffles

    • Oh how I wish I could have delivered that hug in person, Dolly. One day I’m certain! So grateful jennifer was willing.
      I know you’re swamped — so touched you’d take the time to read my ramblings. Thank you!
      Praying for you, friend, as you embark on new things tomorrow! Hugs to you!!

  6. “It’s about letting go and letting God’s glory resound.” I love this, needed this. What if my whole life were an act of worship? And I would love to hear the piece you played that day:)

    • what if…yes! and a part of me wants to say why not — I’m striving and am so thankful we can try this journey together!

      I’m so bummed–I dug and dug through my piano music this last week and cannot find my scribblings for what I played! cuz I wanna play it again…If I do find it by some miracle, I’ll get my techy hubby to record it and post it here! 😉

  7. Oh…I am so thankful worship is not about signing…I can’t carry a tune…I love>Make a joyful noise before the Lord…amen. I love how you describe true worship here…laying it all down for Him in adoration. great post…blessings~

    • So thrilled you stopped by today, Ro — thank you! You know, my dad isn’t known for his musical abilities, but he is sure remembered for how he can mae a joyful noise before the Lord so unabashedly! And you, friend, resound joy. So blessed by you!

  8. Oh….i remember that day at Northwestern like it was yesterday. And once again, tears streamed down my cheeks. And, like then, i am so proud of the woman you have become. Yes, worship is something different for each person. Thank you for sharing your heart, once again.

    • Isn’t that just like our God to make even how we worship Him unique? amazes me every time I think about it.
      and thank you, mom…for providing me the opportunities to become what I have so readily. You paved the way. thank you!

  9. Worshiping in Spirit and in Truth….it can be tough, with all the layers we add to it these days. Thanks for reminder!

  10. Such a beautiful post! I love this truth… “Worship is found when you lay your life down in exchange for His. In complete and utter admiration.” Thank you for the reminder that worship is so much more than just singing. Blessings!!

    • Worship. It’s what we’re made for ; ) It should be a fun discovery to see how we worship best. Trust you have found yours, Heidi.
      So thankful you stopped by today — thank you! So thrilled to have met you today! Your post is still stirring my heart….

  11. Oh, this is so beautiful! I can almost picture you there at that piano and wish I could actually hear the music. I’m not a musician, but always wished i had studied piano. I want my writing to be worshipful more and more and pray for His anointing of music to the words… Thanks for sharing this memory and your wonderful analogy to praising Him in all we do.

    • So thrilled to have met you today, Pam! Thank you for stopping by and sharing with me. I wish I had learned the cello…there’s just something about that majestic instrument that draws me to my Savior. Every time. But I sure am thankful for my piano. I don’t know what I’d do without it! And I trust you have something like that that brings you into the worship zone, too. I’m guessing it’s music just by reading a few of your posts!

  12. Lovely, lovely, lovely…oh, to worship Him in spirit and truth is so life giving. Beautiful. I just wish I could have heard you that day.

    • If I were of the technical kind, Elizabeth, I would post a recording here. Maybe someday I will figure out how to do that! So thankful you stopped by. Thanks for sharing with me today! Trust you can draw yourself into the heart of worship today, too.

  13. Nikki, this brought tears to my eyes. I love this communion we have with the Holy one and that we can share with one another. My sister plays piano the way you described and I cry every time. I feel the same when I write. Beautiful.

    • My lip starts to quiver knowing you have found the thing that draws you to Him, Tereasa! And it shows in your prolific writing. Beautifully. Oh what God can do through you, friend!

  14. I would love to hear you play. True abandoned worship is a beautiful thing to behold. That you let go in that pivotal moment is just glorious. And I love that your mom’s gravatar says Mom. Awesome.

    • You’re so sweet, Mary Beth. (and yes, this is how I’m using my time before our “date”) 🙂
      Yes, my mom is pretty precious! She’s the cryer…I’m the hugger…you get the two of us together and watch out!

  15. The old sheet music. I hadn’t thought of Come Thou Almighty King in ages. Precious memories those Hymn Festivals were. I didn’t so much appreciate them then having to memorize all that “churchy” music, but now — music to my soul as it breaths in such precious worship.

    • Oh, you get those butterflies, too! 🙂 I’ve grown to appreciate them. What a joy it is to express ourselves through the keys, wouldn’t you agree? Thanks for stopping by today!

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