OPEN, HONEST WORSHIP
by Edwina Cowgill, Contributing Freelance Writer

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I love praise and worship music. I always have my car radio on a Christian station, preferably
satellite, which plays non-stop music. Many days at work, I listen to praise and worship music.
When I write, I'll often have music playing in the background.

Worship music does for me what water does for a thirsty person. It quenches my thirst. It relieves
my parched soul. It gives me strength, takes my mind off me and my problems and focuses it
back where it should be – on the Almighty God.

The Bible commands that we praise God. “Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.  Worship the
Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs (Psalm 100:1-2 NIV).” God doesn't say
we have to be a soloist, an opera singer, a star recording artist. He says, "Shout for joy…”

If you’re still hesitant to sing in church, perhaps you can relate to this translation of Psalm 100:
1-2 from Eugene Peterson's The Message: "On your feet now—applaud God! Bring a gift of
laughter, sing yourselves into his presence."

Worship is far more than just praise and worship songs, far more than singing or playing a
musical instrument. We were created to worship God and not just through song. Everything we
do should be an act of worship to Him. And the more honest, open, and vulnerable we are,
the more authentic our worship.

Authentic worship is what Amy Grant is conveying in the song, "Better Than a Hallelujah." When
I first heard this song, I had to listen closely because I thought the writer really missed the mark
with: "God loves a lullaby in a mothers tears…a drunkard's cry…"  

You're kidding, right?

"…the tears of shame…the silence when the words won't come..."

He thinks these things are “...better than a Hallelujah sometimes"?

I didn't get it—until she got to the chorus:

"We pour out our miseries,
God just hears a melody.
Beautiful the mess we are,
The honest cries of breaking hearts
Are better than a Hallelujah."

God wants us to be honest and open with Him. But doesn't He already know what we're going
through, how we feel? Of course He does. He wants us to be honest with Him because it
benefits us. As we openly share our feelings with Him, we realize there is no retaliation from
God. No name calling; no being treated as if we are the lowly tadpoles in the bottom of the pond.
As we come to understand that God will not reject us because we are a mess, we learn that we
are accepted and loved unconditionally.

So the next time you think your life is a mess, remember that God would rather you come to Him
openly and honestly. Be Bold! (Ephesians 3:12 NIV) Approach Him just as you are. He will
extend His arms and welcome you!

Used by Permission, Copyright 2010 Edwina E. Cowgill, All Rights Reserved
Better Than A Hallelujah, Written by Sara Hart and Chapin Hartford, River Oaks Music Company 2010

About Edwina E. Cowgill:

  • Freelance Writer; on-line publications include Houston Examiner, International
    Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church, and Southeast Diocese of the
    ICCEC
  • Serves as a Commissioned Minister for Congregational Care in her church, counsel
    for women, and has served as Prayer Director, Bible Study Teacher, and with the
    worship team
  • Holds a Bachelor of Religious Arts in Christian Counseling from LOGOS Christian
    College and University, 2005, and is a Certified Behavioral Analyst
  • Married, blessed with two adult children and one grandson
  • Loves to read, cross stitch, and play the piano

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