Often times the message from the pulpit or small groups is we need to pray more, we need to study the Bible more, or we need to witness more. And time and time again the response is half-hearted at best. Why? Because the pastor nor anyone else has the power to effectively persuade others into obedience. Only the Holy Spirit can do that, and that’s where the church’s efforts are often misguided. Consider this from Jim Cymbala in Fresh Power:
“The root problem is the need for the Holy Spirit to come in power and birth a true spirit of prayer. In other words, we must first secure the Spirit’s presence and grace; then we can move out in powerful praying for all kinds of other needs.”
When the Holy Spirit is present and convicting people, we don’t have to twist arms and make people feel guilty. So the question is how do we “secure the Spirit’s presence?” The answer can be found in Psalm 22:3, praise and worship. Consider this comment from A.W. Tozer in Born After Midnight:
“Without doubt the emphasis in Christian teaching today should be on worship. There is little danger that we shall become merely worshipers and neglect the practical implications of the gospel. No one can long worship God in spirit and in truth before the obligation to holy service becomes too strong to resist. Fellowship with God leads straight to obedience and good works. That is the divine order and it can never be reversed.”
Enough to make you think the typical church service is putting its emphasis in the wrong place. Instead of holding the sermon in such high importance, perhaps we should spend more time creating genuine worship among the congregants.