How can we be worshipping God in our everyday lives?
It seems like a simple question, but a lot of people may not know that this is even possible. For a lot of us, especially us modern, Western churchgoers, worship is simply the pre-message songs we sing and raise our hands to – that’s how we worship God and that’s what the act of worshipping is. However, biblically, worshipping God is a lot more than just singing songs together (though that is an excellent and biblical practice!). What if we didn’t just worship God on Sunday mornings before the preaching began, but we actually lived lifestyles of worship, where we could be worshipping God throughout our whole day?
Worshipping God Everyday
One of my favorite simple devotional books is The Practice of the Presence of God by Brother Lawrence. The author, Brother Lawrence, was a medieval monk known for his utmost devotion to God and his cultivated practice of bringing God into his everyday activities. He was known well for his quoted prayer,
“Lord of all pots and pans and things, make me a saint by getting meals and washing up the plates!”
Brother Lawrence worked in the kitchen at the monastery he was assigned to. He didn’t do a lot of high-class activities, but he cleaned dishes, prepared meals, and ran an occasional errand for the kitchen’s needs. In the mundane, and seemingly unimportant work he did, he worshipped God and remembered His presence in each task.
For Brother Lawrence, worshipping the Lord was simpler than we make it sometimes, and he found more of his devotion to God throughout his daily activities, such as washing dishes, than he did in the regular prayer times that marked his monastic life. Worshipping God, for Brother Lawrence, was something that could be done both in & through his regular work – something as mundane as washing dishes or cleaning up the kitchen. He did these things to glorify God and he regularly practiced an awareness of Him in everything, constantly drawing his mind back to His presence amid the busyness of life. How much more relevant is this for us today, in the modern, Western world, than it was for Brother Lawrence at the time he wrote it?
The point I’m making here is this: God is always present, and all that we do can be used as an act to worship him. The Apostle Paul writes this in 1 Corinthians 10:31,
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” (ESV).
While I may not have time to exegete the context, this principle applies, and it can be traced throughout Paul’s New Testament writings. He writes in Colossians 3:16-17,
“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (ESV).
It seems that Brother Lawrence picked up this concept from Paul, who wrote about worshipping God in the everyday things we do. This is a beautiful passage on worship!
How would it change your life today, and your work, if you practiced a regular recognition of God’s presence in your work? In the chores of laundry, dishes, and cooking dinner? What if you could be worshipping God in all that you did today? Paul exhorts us to sing unto God with thankfulness in our hearts, letting His word dwell or abide in our hearts, and do everything, including our work, our attitudes, and our words, as a representative of Jesus Christ, and give thanks to God in the process. That’s everyday worship!
Worshipping God in our Everyday Work
Following these few verses on everyday worship, let’s look at how we can use our everyday work to worship God. When we do anything to the glory of God, meaning we do something in His name, i.e., as a good representative of Him & His character, and with the goal of bringing glory & praise to Him, we are worshipping God. Understanding this, we can see how simple it really is to be worshipping God through everyday work!
When we’re taking out the trash, we can be praising God for His goodness. When we’re writing another email to the same person explaining the same idea for the fourth time, we can thank God for giving us a job. While we’re having a meeting with our boss, we can honor God in how we choose to respond. This is worshipping God, too! Our everyday work becomes sacred work when it’s done to honor God and love our neighbor. And when we invite God into our work by thanking Him, praising Him, or seeking to bring Him glory, we can experience powerful transformation in our workplace, and in our attitude!
I think it would have been easy for Brother Lawrence to become discouraged in his work if he wasn’t constantly drawing his mind back to God, just as it’s easy for us to become discouraged in our work today! When we choose to honor God in our work, striving for excellence not from a place of perfectionism or earning God’s love or favor, but from a place of saying, “God, You’ve been so good to me and I want to honor you in my work”, we can experience a radical change in our hearts & minds when it comes to our work. This is worshipping God at work, literally! This shift in perspective adds value to our work, reminding us that we aren’t just doing it to serve man, but rather to serve God (Colossians 3:23-24). When our work is aimed at honoring God and doing justice to His character, we can’t miss. We can be worshipping God through all that we do, and it’s this posture of our hearts that will shift our attitude toward our everyday work.
Worshipping God in our everyday lives can be simple. It begins with turning your heart toward God amidst the busyness of life and choosing to direct your thoughts towards Him. And that begins with a simple prayer, inviting God into your work and asking the Holy Spirit to help you honor Him in all that you do – just like the Scriptures say! When we invite God into our lives, and into our work, things begin to change for the better. Feeling burnt out at work? Feeling like you’re not making a difference? Invite God into your work and ask Him to show you purpose there as you seek to worship Him through your actions. Make every stapled paper, sent email, and lunch break an act of worshipping God and He will surely bless the work of your hands.
Worshipping God begins with our hearts. Let us do as Brother Lawrence did and remind ourselves of God’s presence in our everyday work, even in the mundane. As we do this, worshipping God through the work of our hands becomes easier to do. When we seek to find God in the little tasks, He is faithful to show up in the big ones. May the Lord remind you today of the value of your work, your role, and your life as you being worshipping Him through your everyday work.