The “feeling” of worship.

August 3, 2009

 I confess as I write this, I don’t have this figured out by a long shot. I hear or read these kind of statements A LOT, and it sounds proper and Christian like to say things like “Worship is not a feeling”, or “We should seek God not an emotional high”.

Then the other part of my brain and experience says to me, that there is a “feeling” and “emotion” connected with experiencing the presence of God. Maybe that’s just me? Does it make it not real or cheapen it somehow if I have some sort of emotional high either in a church service or in my car or in my home? Can we experience a strong emotion or be moved to tears devoid of an actual interaction with the Holy Spirit? Sure. And we should definitely check ourselves constantly to make sure what we are “seeking” is truly Christ, and not just an emotional experience. But can we have strong emotions and be moved to tears because of being hit with the truth or reality of His presence and who He is. Of course! And if I’m being truthful, (why is it scary for me to say this) I LOVE THE FEELING!!!

I believe it is not my place to judge the experience or heart or motivation of a worshipper of Jesus Christ. As a worship leader, it is my role to encourage people to praise Him, to seek Him, to honor Him, both in a 20 minute time block on Sunday morning, but also with their lives at all times. But I am not scared of the emotion, or feeling that can be associated when it is based on the truth of His presence and reality. I can worship God; when I’m depressed, when I’m elated, when I’m joyful, when I’m full of sorrow, when I’m frustrated, when I’m mad, when I’m optimistic, when I’m cynical, when I’m filled up, when I’m empty, when I’m feeling deep, when I’m feeling shallow. I don’t have to turn into some sort of emotionless robot to truly seek God. Do I? Isn’t where I base my emotions the most important thing?

 Psalm 126 1 When the Lord brought back his exiles to Jerusalem,[a] it was like a dream! 2 We were filled with laughter, and we sang for joy. And the other nations said, “What amazing things the Lord has done for them.” 3 Yes, the Lord has done amazing things for us! What joy! 4 Restore our fortunes, Lord, as streams renew the desert. 5 Those who plant in tears will harvest with shouts of joy. 6 They weep as they go to plant their seed, but they sing as they return with the harvest.


  1. i think the problem that a lot of people have with it is that it’s a different feeling for different people. heck, it’s even a different feeling for me at different times in my life.

    worship can be exhilirating or calming, energetic or peaceful. if you’re the kind of person, like my mom, who relishes the peace and contemplation, you will be almost offended by those who thrive on getting an energetic high out of their sunday mornings.

    and especially in this day & age, how you feel when you get done with something directly impacts how you react to the experience – my kids, for instance, just don’t enjoy the kind of low-key, traditional Protestant service that my mom is used to. the music especially can just be a turn-off to them, no matter how much it means to the older folks.

  2. Good points Brian. Intersting how it is common how we turn our talk on worship (and I do it too), to Sunday morning worship style. So much broader than that. The peace your mom seeks, though not an energetic high, is a feeling none the less, and ideally based in the peace of Christ. Thanks for your thoughts.

  3. I see what your saying. i’vr been struggling with this idea alot lately. it bugs me somtimes when people are worshiping God and it looks like their in the moment and that the holy spirit has filled them but as soon as the worship service is over its like nothing happened to them. thats when I feel like people are getting a feeling and not so much a spiritual experience. I’m trying hard not to judge people on this because that’s not my place to judge. thats between them and God.I to am no where near figuring this out and in someways I feel like i need to not worry so much about this and focus on the relationship between me and God. If i’m not convicted of my way of worship then I think its god centered/ God honoring! 🙂 thanks for the post it got me thinking

  4. After Camp Impact, I radically changed. And I mean I RADICALLY changed. It was everyday for five days, mornings and nights, we worshipped God at camp. There were times when I felt sad and then half way through the worship I suddenly felt joyous and I remember the power I felt as I prayed aloud and sang to the songs. It was OVERWHELMING. I started to talk to girls my age (I NEVER start conversations with anyone; I’m extremely shy), I began conversations with 30 year olds about going back to church. I was SO joyous I can’t even explain it. The Holy Spirit surrounded me day in and day out. It was INSANE. My love for God increased beyond comprehension. He took away my insecurity issues and my low slef-esteem. I remember wearing no makeup and walking around the camp not giving a care of others opinions on me because I knew that their opinions don’t matter one bit and that their eyes aren’t pure like God’s Eyes. God had done something to me that week at camp and after that week I was never the same. The sad thing is that my mom doesn’t allow me to attend church or camp anymore because she’s Catholic and she thought that they “brainwashed” me. But she doesn’t get what God did for me… My relationship with Jesus had flourished!! I quit listening to garbage music, I quit watching sinful movies, I turned from my old ways. But when I got back from camp the devil threw a hard attack at me using my mother. I really pray that one day God will do for her what He did for me that week at camp. I really hope that she’ll have a strong encounter with the Holy Spirit. My mom shuts it out though; I think she’s afraid of God’s Touch, of being overwhelmed, of releasing tears (she’s never cried in front of us kids before). I don’t know…but I have ONE more year and then I am free to go. I’m half way there. Camp was last year, and it’s been one year. I’m now 17. When I’m 18, I’m free to worship God in a church again and I’m free to go to camp and I’m free to hang with Christian friends who know what I mean when I say, “If you ever have a Love Encounter, you’d never be the same.” So please pray for me, but most importantly, for my mother. Thank you all. Praise the God Who gives and takes away. God Bless you all (:

  5. I don’t understand all this talk I’ve heard about not needing to feel God. Isn’t joy an emotion and peace, like someone said above. Gal 5 says that these are the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Also can you love with God’s love as an emotionless robot. I think people are getting flesh emotions mixed up with spiritually manifested feelings. There is something wrong here and I don’t agree with some people’s version that emotions don’t matter and that looking for emotions isn’t faith. How can you have the Holy Spirit and produce none of the fruits.

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